INEC fixes dates for rerun polls in Lagos, FCT, Rivers
• Commission blames threat of violence for delay
• Groups disagree over Senate’s ultimatum
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has fixed dates for the conduct of inconclusive elections in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Lagos and Rivers states.
In a statement yesterday by INEC secretary, Mrs. Augusta Ogakwu, the House of Representative election for Lagos and the FCT councillorship election are fixed for December 3, 2016, while National Assembly (Senate and House of Representatives) and State House of Assembly elections for Rivers would hold on December 10, 2016.
INEC had in an interview with The Guardian blamed the threat of violence, especially in Rivers for the delay in conducting the polls.
The Chief Press Secretary to the INEC chairman, Rotimi Oyekanmi, pointed to the volatile relationship of the two leading major political parties, the All Progressives Congress and the Peoples Democratic Party, in Rivers State, which had made it impossible for the commission to conduct the remaining polls.
He recalled that in March this year, when INEC organised the election, there was violence, which led to the killing of a National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) member, while many INEC staff members were also wounded.
Oyekanmi explained that as part of efforts of INEC, Chairman Mahmood Yakubu invited all the stakeholders between May and June to Abuja for a meeting, which had in attendance, the representatives of the Inspector General of Police.
According to him, the essence of the meeting was to get all the parties to agree on a date, the need for peaceful conduct, ensure the safety and security of all concerned: INEC staff members, monitors and others, during the election.
“Since that NYSC member was killed, many corps members and other ad hoc are afraid. They are unwilling to be deployed and the NYSC management won’t force them,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Chairman of a pro-democracy organization, Progressives Legacy Forum, (PLF), Alhaji Ahmadu Haruna Zabo yesterday declared his support for the Senate’s position on the rerun polls.
Zabo decried the inconclusive polls especially in Rivers and Anambra states.
But, the Committee for the Protection of the Peoples’ Mandate (CPPM) described the Senate ultimatum as a cheap blackmail.
CPPM said the Senate ought to have invited the INEC to explain the hindrances to the conduct of the elections.