The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has described the conduct of the Saturday legislative Rerun elections in Rivers as an improvement compared to the suspended exercise in March in the state.The Chief Press Secretary to INEC Chairman, Rotimi Oyekanmi , said in a telephone interview with NAN on Saturday in Abuja while assessing the exercise. Oyekanmi said that though there were few cases of violence during the election, there was no confirmed case of killing.
“Generally, the trail of violence is not as what we witnessed in March. In March, a person was killed and the
commission was forced to close the election, but in this Saturday exercise, there is no strong indication for us to say that we are suspending the election again. We should be able to conclude the process peacefully, the security agencies should be commended for securing most of the places used for the elections. Voting in some places
have been concluded and collation ongoing. We are assuring Nigerians that we are building on our achievements in Edo and Ondo in term of credibility of elections in the country,’’ he said.
The chief press secretary further said that there were measures put in place to ensure that collation of results remain peaceful and transparent.
“A lot of precautionary measures have been put in place to ensure that hijacking of election results witnessed in the suspended elections in March does not reoccur.’’
However, Austin Okojie , a Supervising Resident Electoral Commissioner has announced the suspension of elections in Akuku-Toru Local Government Area. Okojie told newsmen at Abonnema, headquarters of Akuku-Toru Local Government on Saturday that the decision to suspend the election was taken after a meeting with representatives of parties. He said the election would be held on Sunday. He said INEC did not continue with the exercise because Adhoc staff and Corps members complained of lateness.
Meanwhile, representatives of the APC and PDP have expressed mixed reactions to the suspension of the election.
Tonye Alalibo , Caretaker Committee Chairman of the Local Government, said that the suspension would allow a rival party manipulate the process. Alalibo said the PDP was ready for the elections but INEC decided to suspend the process.
Isobo Jack , a leader of the APC in the area, said it was unfortunate that the elections couldn’t hold but hoped that it would be held as agreed. Jack urged his party faithfuls to be patient and avoid anything that could cause crisis.