These who had been pessimistic about the legislative rerun elections in Rivers State had been proved proper on December 10, 2016. In actual fact, the politicians, particularly, the ‘gladiators’, as they are being referred to at present, the Impartial Nationwide Electoral Fee(INEC), the safety companies, political thugs, ‘serving’ and ex-militants, didn’t disappoint the pessimists in any respect. They had been at their “finest”, doing what they know do finest, enjoying their separate, disappointing roles to spill the blood of harmless residents, allegedly commit electoral fraud, with the intention of subverting the desire of the individuals.
Many expressed fear mere rerun of legislative elections might flip the state the other way up. The train was for three senatorial seats, eight out of 13 Home of Representatives and 10 out of the 32 seats of the Home of Meeting, compelled the Nigeria Police to deploy 28, 000 officers, three helicopters, 28 gunboats, 20 safety canines, 28, 000 safety personnel, 26 items of Cell Police Power and 313 patrol automobiles to the state . Apart from, troopers, members of sister companies just like the Nigerian Immigration, Nigerian Safety and Civil Defence Corps(NSCDC) had been additionally deployed to the oil-rich state for the aim of the rerun elections.
It didn’t simply finish there, the Inspector Common of Police, Ibrahim Idris, relocated to Rivers State, 24 hours to the voting train, whereas six Commissioners of Police had been additionally on floor.
On its half, INEC deployed 10, 294 employees, throughout the three Senatorial Districts, particularly, Rivers West, Rivers East and Rivers South East. The electoral umpire disclosed that 14 classes of staffers had been deployed for the rerun elections. A breakdown additional confirmed that three Retuning Officers had been deployed to the three Senatorial Districts, 18 Returning Officers deployed to the Federal Constituencies, 23 Native Collation Officers, 221 Registration Space Collation(RAC) Officers had been deployed to the state.
There had been 57 Collation Officers (for collation solely) on the Registration Space, 231 Supervisory Residing Officers, 1,840 Presiding Officers, 6,609 Assistant Presiding Officers 1, 2,and three, 661 Assistant Presiding Officers, 21 Constituency Supervisors, 24 Native Authorities Space Supervisors and 223 Resident Space Supervisors.
These, amongst different measures, had been aimed toward having a hitch-free, violence-free, credible, free and honest legislative rerun elections after the failed March 19, 2016 train. However that was to not be!
Couple of minutes into the voting train, it was realised that nothing had modified. Like spots on leopard’s physique, it can’t be washed away by the rains and all of the measures put in place by the INEC and safety companies couldn’t cease violence, killings, poll snatching, amongst different irregularities . The politicians and their employed thugs, the safety companies, who had been alleged to be neutral and offered safety, began snatching electoral supplies, whereas INEC adhoc employees like, members of the NYSC, had been kidnapped alongside the voting supplies they had been taking to the Polling Items. Like within the previous elections, sounds of gunshots lease the air, whereas there had been detonation of dynamites in Registration Space Centre(RAC) in Abonnema and killing of 1 individual in Ogoni.
For example, a complete of eleven NYSC members had been kidnapped together with electoral supplies, although, they had been all rescued by some gallant troopers. 5 NYSC members had been kidnapped in Emohua Native Authorities space alone, alongside the electoral supplies of their possession.
Capturing and ballot-snatching grew to become the order of the day in some communities like, Bodo, the dwelling city of Secretary to the State Authorities, Bidere and Mogho in Gokana LGA, together with snatching of poll containers. There was a report of ambushing of policemen at Uju group , close to Omoku in Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni Native Authorities Space (ONELGA) the place a police patrol staff was ambushed, and the 10 policemen within the patrol car scampered for security.
Sadly, when the Cell Police organised a rescue mission, it was found Deputy Superintendent of Police(DSP), Alkali Mohammed, of Cell Police Unit 48, had been beheaded alongside his orderly. In keeping with a press release by the navy, 5 policemen had been lacking in motion.
From Etche Omuma, Asari-Toru/Akuku-Toru, Bonny/Degema, Ikwerre Emohua and Okrika/Ogo/Bolo Federal Constituencies, Andoni constituency, Khana, Gokana, Eleme, Opobo/Nkoro, Bodo-Ogoni, it was all destructive reviews of both, killings, ballot-snatching , one type of electoral fraud or the opposite. In the camps of the similar politicians had been additionally cries of alleged rigging, intimidation by the safety companies, amongst others.
The governor, who had expressed his displeasure concerning the militarization of the state and the position of some senior law enforcement officials within the state, as soon as once more alleged that troopers had been additionally neck-deep within the ballot- snatching.
Addressing hundreds of PDP supporters, who had been on “Victory March” throughout the streets of Port Harcourt , which terminated at the Authorities Home, Port Harcourt, the governor stated he had no confidence in the military, police and DSS.
“I reward you for your braveness, within the face of murderous invading safety companies, who killed, maimed and stole poll containers, of their bid to subvert the desire of the individuals.
“I’ve informed the safety companies, you come and gather safety cash from me and use it in opposition to Rivers individuals . Sufficient is sufficient. They are going to now be relying on NDDC for their funding. Let me see the place it should take take them to,” he stated .
He stated the Minister of Transportation, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi would by no means win election within the state, and accused the governors of Plateau, Kano, Bauchi and Benue of making an attempt to re-colonize the state by sponsoring violence and rigging through the December 10 rerun.
Additionally, on Thursday, December 15, 2016, chief Nyesom Wike led hundreds of Peoples Democratic Occasion(PDP) supporters to protest what he referred to as, mass killings by the police and different safety companies, throughout the December 10, 2016 legislative rerun elections within the state.
The peaceable protest, which took off from the Authorities Home, Port Harcourt, at about 8am, noticed the protesters marching by means of the Azikiwe Road and Financial institution Highway, and terminated at the Rivers State Police Command headquarters, on Moscow Highway, Port Harcourt.
Amongst the protesters had been; the deputy governor, Dr Ipalibo Harry Banigo, the Speaker of the State Home of Meeting, Dabo Adams, former Minister of Transport, Dr Abiye Sekibo, former UBA Chairman, Chief Ferdinand Alabrabra, former deputy governor to Rotimi Amaechi, Tele Ikuru, chairman, Rivers State chapter of PDP, chief Felix Obuah.
However as quickly as the protesters approached the gate of the Rivers State Police Command headquarters, the policemen shortly locked the gates to forestall them from gaining entrance into the Command’s premises.
Governor Wike and different leaders of the social gathering waited patiently for near 30 minutes, earlier than the Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP), Mr. Cyril Okoro got here out and spoke to them by means of the locked gate.
In his speech, Governor Wike stated they had been at the Police Command to tell the authorities that they had been drained of the killing of harmless individuals in the state, by the police and different safety operatives.
He famous that the individuals and authorities of the state had been notably, dissatisfied with the recklessness of two senior policemen, the Assistant Commissioner of Police(ACP) in cost of operations, Steven Hasso and the Commander, Particular Anti-Theft Squad(SARS), Mr. Akin Fakorede, who he accused of main the sponsored onslaught in opposition to the individuals of Rivers State, and compromising the safety structure of the state.
He accused the Police Excessive Command of refusing to act, regardless of the overwhelming proof in opposition to the duo, particularly the video footage that confirmed Akin Fakorede and different safety operatives, attempting to grab outcomes of the Rivers East Senatorial District.
The governor described as unlucky, a state of affairs the place safety officers reworked themselves into politicians in uniform.
In his response, Mr. Cyril Okoro assured the governor that the Rivers State Police Command would cross the message to the Police Excessive Command for obligatory motion.
However in distinction, former deputy Speaker of Home of Consultant, Prince Chibudom Nwuche, hailed the safety companies, “for doing a great job in securing the state through the rerun and permitting regulation abiding residents to train their franchise.”
In keeping with him, a true democracy is the place the individuals are allowed to vote, and their votes translated into election of their most popular candidates.
On his half, chairman of PDP, Rivers State chapter, chief Felix Obuah, rejected the outcomes of the South East senatorial district, which declared APC candidates, Magnus Abe, Barry Mpigi, Friday Nke-Ee, Harmless Barikor and others as winners.
In the identical vein, the APC governorship candidate within the state in the April 10, 2015 basic elections, Dr Dakuku Peterside, alleged member of the State Govt Council, was arrested by the police with pre-filled senatorial outcomes for Emohua Native Authorities Space.
However the State Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Nnamdi Omoni, a Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP), denied information of the arrest.
As at Thursday, December 15, INEC was but to conclude the election in Etche native authorities space due to widespread violence and irregularities.
Within the estimation of many, the reality is that the failure of INEC to conduct violence-free, free, honest and credible elections in Rivers State, might be blamed on the similar politicians, who raised the alarm that the fee did not need to conclude the elections. Important observers argue that the ‘gladiators’ and the 2 main political events, PDP and APC can’t be exonerated from the ugly growth. What occurred in December 10 was a transparent case of who might out-rig the opposite, and in addition a query of political social gathering members that had been extra violent than the others. However what’s shocking is that regardless of the preparations for the train, the December 10,2016 legislative rerun election in Rivers State was nonetheless characterised by bloodletting, ballot- snatching, abduction of INEC employees and different irregularities.