Okafor Ofiebor/Port Harcourt
A Non-Governmental Organization, NGO, Credible Leadership and Citizen Awareness observing the ongoing re-run governorship election in Southern Ijaw Local Government Area and some wards in six other LGAs, issued an interim report and petitioned the INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu.
Director General of the NGO, Dr Gabriel Nwambu, said he decided to bring to the notice of INEC and the global community of some anomalies, which clearly negates the principle of democracy and the conduct of elections.
Nwambu who addressed the press said its findings and report are based on the findings of its personnel, who have been deployed all over the state to observe the conduct of the exercise.
According to him, in Southern Ijaw, electoral materials and INEC personnel never got to Lobia 1, 2 and 3 communities in Bassan area of Southern Ijaw LGA.
“INEC ad-hoc staff also reported that, the bag containing the electoral materials were snatched and taken away by thugs allegedly working for one of the leading political parties in the presence of security forces.”
In Oyoma in Southern Ijaw Local Government area constituency 2, the materials have also been taken away to an unknown destination.
In Ekowe community in southern Ijaw constituency 3, there was a stand off between two groups, as to where voting should take place. One group argued that, the materials and INEC personnel be moved to a location, different from the already approved and known location (unit).
In Ukubie and Azuzuama, no materials and INEC staff was sighted, meaning the entire people of these communities have been de-enfranchised, the NGO claimed.
In Brass, election materials and INEC personnel meant for Cape Formosa area, made up of Egweama, Beletiama and Liama were snatched and taken away by thugs to an unknown destination.
Same was the case for Minibie in Akassa area of Brass.
Reports of snatching of materials for units 2, 4, 13 and 15 in Brass was noticed and no elections took place. This was confirmed by the Police DPO in the area, who equally disclosed the arrest of two thugs.
The observer group said that in Nembe, materials and personnel for Nembe ward 6 and 9 were hijacked and taken to Okpoama.
The NGO emphasised that these are fundamental issues that affect the success or failure of every election, guided by democratic principles and practices, in line with globally accepted standards.
There are equally glaring cases of malpractice that should be given due attention, if the election is to be seen and adjudged as transparent, free, fair and credible in the eyes of the international community.
The group stated that as an unbiased observer for the re-run governorship election in Bayelsa state and based on the standards set by the immediate past leadership of INEC at the national level, Nigerian democracy has received international reckoning and “we should not, for whatever reasons lower the standards”.
It hoped that the INEC national Chairman will use his good offices to dispassionately, as the unbiased umpire, examine this report and act in line with acceptable democratic norms and practices.
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