Nigeria: INEC releases report on Rivers, Bauchi states election
The governorship election process in Rivers State, South-South Nigeria which was hitherto suspended will continue next week, Wednesday, the electoral umpire, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has said.
INEC in a report on Saturday admitted that the collation centre for the state result was heavily militarized, necessitating suspension of the process.
The United Kingdom, United States and European Union have expressed displeasure over military involvement in the elections
A host of local and international observers said intimidation of electoral officers by soldiers were observed in Rivers State election, a development they said undermined the process.
The Nigerian Army swiftly rejected the allegations, saying those found disrupting ballots were not soldiers but thugs in military fatigues. This claim was however undermined by videos clips showing troops alighting from military branded vehicles.
Below is the full report from INEC on the Rivers State election:
- On the 10th of March 2019, the commission suspended all electoral processes in Rivers State having determined that there was widespread disruption of collation of results of the elections conducted on the 9th day of March 2019.
Subsequently, the commission set up a fact-finding committee to assess the situation and report back within 48 hours.
- The commission met on the 15th day of March 2019 and considered the report of the committee and established the following:
- That the governorship and state assembly elections took place in most of the polling units and results were announced.
- That results from 17 local governments our of 23 were available and are in the commission’s custody.
iii. That the declaration and returns for 21 state constituencies out of 32 were made prior to the suspension.
- That collation centres were invaded by some soldiers and armed gangs resulting in the intimidation and unlawful arrest of election officials thereby disrupting the collation process.
- Consequent upon the foregoing, the commission: Expresses its displeasure with the role played by some soldiers and armed gangs in Rivers State disrupting the collation process and attempting to subvert the will of the people.
- Is committed to expeditious completion of the collation process where results of the elections have been announced.
iii. Will engage the security agencies at national level and the inter-agency consultative committee at the state level to demand neutrality and professionalism of security personnel in order to secure a peaceful environment for the completion of the elections.
- Will also engage with key stakeholders in Rivers State with a view to ensuring a smooth and peaceful completion of the process.
- Will issue detailed timelines and activities for the completion of the election on Wednesday, March 20th, 2019.
National Commissioner and Chairman Information and Voter Education Committee
March 15, 2019.