The Rivers State Independent Electoral Commission (RSIEC) has fixed Saturday June 16, 2018 as date for chairmanship and councillorship elections in the 23 local government councils in the state.
Announcing the date on Tuesday in Port Harcourt, the state capital, during a meeting with stakeholders and political parties in the state, chairman of the commission and Chief Electoral Officer of the state, Justice (Rtd) Chinenye Oriri said, “By the power conferred on me as enshrined in the state Independent Electoral law No 2 of 2018, I therefore declare Saturday June 16, 2018 as the day for local government elections in the state.”
He added that the Commission was ready and prepared for the elections, pointing out that in line with the law, the commission would soon embark on an enlightenment and voters’ education campaign in all the 23 local government councils in the state.
However, the announcement did not go down well with the state All Progressives Congress (APC) whose chairman, Chief Davies Ibiamu Ikanya spoke and stormed out of the meeting.
In an interview with newsmen at the commission’s headquarters, venue of the meeting, the APC chairman maintained that the decision of the commission was improper and unacceptable to his party in view of the series of litigations pending in court over the new law of the commission and the last LGA election in the state.
“The governor knows that the matter over the RSIEC law No. 2 of 2018 is pending in court which will becoming up on the 27 of March this year. Even that of the former APC chairmen and councillors is also pending in the Supreme Court. We’ll not take this; we’re going to challenge it,” Chief Ikanya said.
His Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) counterpart, Chief Felix Obuah countered that the issue of the former APC chairmen in court doesn’t arise because their tenures were expected to end by May 25 this year and that everyone in the state yearns for a democratically elected representatives at the grassroots. “If out of 65 political parties in the state and only one is objecting then they are on their own,” Obuah stated.
State chairmen of other political parties that attended the meeting who also spoke to Journalists agreed that a democratically elected representatives at the local level was overdue in the state.