Rivers poll: INEC says results from 17 LGAs in its custody

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The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has said that results from 17 Local Government areas out of 23 in Rivers governorship election are available and in the commission’s custody.

INEC disclosed this in a statement issued on Friday night by the National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye.

Okoye said that the commission made the declaration after its meeting on Friday where it considered the report of the Fact-Finding Committee set up to assess the situation in Rivers where election process was suspended.

The Commission had on March 10, suspended all electoral processes in Rivers having determined that there was widespread disruption of collation of results of the elections conducted in the state on March 9.

Subsequently, the Commission set up a Fact-Finding Committee to assess the situation and report back within 48 hours.

Okoye said that the Commission met on Friday and considered the report of the Committee and established that the Governorship and state House of Assembly elections took place in most of the polling units and results were announced.

“That the results from 17 Local Governments out of 23 are available and are in the Commission’s custody.

“That the Declaration and Returns for 21 State Constituencies out of 32 were made prior to the suspension.

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“That collation centres were invaded by some soldiers and armed gangs resulting in the intimidation and unlawful arrest of election officials thereby disrupting the collation process,” he said.

Okoye said that consequently upon the foregoing, the Commission was committed to expeditious completion of the collation process where results of the elections had been announced.

The national commissioner said that INEC would issue detailed timelines and activities for the completion of the election on Wednesday, March 20.

He added that the commission expressed its displeasure with the role played by some soldiers and armed gangs in the state, disrupting the collation process and attempting to subvert the will of the people.

Okoye said the commission also resolve that it “will engage the security agencies at national level and the Inter-Agency Consultative Committee at the state level to demand neutrality and professionalism of security personnel in order to secure a peaceful environment for the completion of the elections.

“The commission will also engage with key stakeholders in Rivers State with a view to ensuring a smooth and peaceful completion of the process.”