*INEC cancels Saturday’s bye-election
The Rivers State Governor, Barr. Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, has alleged that the consistency with which the Police sabotaged the electoral process in Rivers State amounted to a declaration of war on the people.
In a state broadcast on Sunday on the cancelled bye-election for Port Harcourt State Constituency, which was disrupted by sporadic shooting and ballot box snatching, Governor Wike charged Rivers people not to succumb to what he described as the antics of the police, lest they became slaves in their fatherland.
The governor said: “The consistent sabotage of the electoral process by the Police amounts to a declaration of war against the people of Rivers State and their solemn rights to freely and fairly choose their leaders and representatives.
“Clearly there are dangerous times ahead but we must not give in to intimidation lest we lose our liberties and become slaves in our own land.
“Against the backdrop it is up to the people of Rivers State to choose the option that will serve their interest,” he said.
Governor Wike said despite assurances from the Rivers State Commissioner of Police during the last State Security Council meeting that the police would remain neutral and act professionally, the police on Saturday August 18, allegedly joined forces with APC thugs to disrupt the election.
Wike continued: “As we had feared, the Police failed us completely once again and negated all that they promised. Instead of providing security for voters and INEC officials, the Police brazenly colluded with political thugs of the All Progressives Congress (APC) to subvert the democratic process and denied the people of Port Harcourt Constituency III their rights to free, fair and credible elections.
“Confirmed reports from the field indicated that INEC promptly and rightly distributed elections materials to all the polling units within a recorded time.
“However, while voting was underway, armed thugs from the APC led by the State’s factional Chairman, Mr. Flag Ojukaye Amachree, moved freely from one polling unit to the other, violently assaulted voters and INEC officials and carted away election materials, including smart card readers and ballot boxes,” the governor alleged.
He noted that during the June 16, 2018 Local Government Elections where APC refused to participate, the polls were conducted peacefully without rancour.
While the Rivers State Governor commended INEC for acting professionally, he berated the police for allegedly taking sides and offering illegal aid to APC to undermine electoral process in the state.
Meanwhile INEC in Rivers state has suspended the bye-election of Port Harcourt constituency 3.
In a statement signed by the state electoral commissioner, Mr Obo Effanga, INEC said that the decision followed the destruction and carting away of election materials including ballot papers and card readers by gunmen.