By Godwin Anene
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says it suspended the last Saturday’s Governorship and State House of Election in Rivers State owing to widespread violence and disruption of the election in many parts of the state.
It said the election is suspended to indefinitely to enable the fact-finding committee set up to investigate the exercise submit her report.
The commission said some of the reasons for the suspension of the poll include widespread disruption of elections and violence in Polling Units and Collation Centres.
According to a statement issued by INEC National Commissioner and chairman of its Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye, said the report of the committee would be ready within 48 hours.
Okoye decried situation where the commission’s staff were either taken hostage, materials including result sheets have either been seized or destroyed by unauthorized persons.
Giving reasons for the postponement, INEC said, “Based on reports from our officials in the field, the Independent National Electoral Commission has determined that there has been widespread disruption of elections conducted on March 9 2019 in Rivers State.
“These initial reports suggest that violence occurred in a substantial number of polling units and collation centres, staff have been taken hostage and materials including result sheets have either been seized or destroyed by unauthorized persons.
“In addition, safety of our staff appears to be in jeopardy all over the state and the commission is concerned about the credibility of the process.”
It added that, “Consequently, at a meeting held today (Sunday) March 10 2019, the commission has decided to suspend all electoral processes in the state until further notice.
“This is in line with Section 26 of the Electoral Act, 2010 (as amended) and Clause 47(e) of the regulations and guidelines of the commission.
“The commission has also established a fact-finding committee to assess the situation and report back within 48 hours.
“We appeal to the people of Rivers State, particularly the voters, for their understanding as we look into the circumstances of these disruptions and what further action needs to be taken.”