Rivers State re-run elections: The truth about Tai LGA suspended election
Posted by Jacobson Nbina | 26 August 2016 | 2,802 times
Following the Court of Appeal judgment, directing the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to conduct a rerun State and National Assembly Elections in Rivers State, INEC slated the said rerun polls for 19th March, 2016. Unfortunately, INEC cancelled and effectively suspended the rerun elections in eight Local Government Areas (LGAs) including Tai.
It must be put straight that the re-run election in Tai LGA never commenced and was not conducted in any way before it was called off by the electoral officer in charge of Tai Mr. Emmanuel Eborty, who openly declare to the press and the Tai people on that same day that he got report from the field that his adhoc staff had been kidnapped and materials diverted to unknown destinations, and since the election cannot hold any longer, the election must be cancelled. The statement of the electoral officer was also contained in a video with us. In a swift reaction, he called the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Elder Aniedi Ikoiwak who promptly cancelled and suspended the rerun elections in Tai LGA for the 19th March 2016.
This was contained in a press statement signed by the REC. The reasons he gave for the said suspension were among others, electoral violence and disturbances that impeded the electoral process. He added that the suspension was to "forestall breakdown of law and order or loss of lives and property.
It is therefore disturbing and alarming that after the aborted rerun election, INEC came up with a fictitious and cooked up result through Amina Zakari, the National Commissioner in charge of operations in INEC, purporting it to be the result of the cancelled and suspended rerun polls in Tai LGA. It was a result, which favoured the APC in an election that was never conducted, we were thus compelled to approach the Federal High Court, Port Harcourt where the court granted to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) an interlocutory injunction restraining INEC from generating, compiling or announcing any results or figures whatsoever purporting to be result of the rerun election for Tai LGA in Suit No. FHC/PHC/CS/523/2016 on the 29thJune, 2016 as presided over by His Lordship, Honorable Justice A. M. Liman.
I want the whole world to know that while the validly given and unchallenged order of a court of law of competent jurisdiction still subsists, Amina Zakari has decided to contemptuously go ahead to generate, compile and announce fictitious figures in favour of APC purporting it to be the result of the rerun elections in Tai.
I also want the whole world to know that this is an affront and contradictory to the declaration of the National Chairman of INEC, who, while appearing before the House of Representatives Committee on petitions had declared that the election in Tai was suspended due to electoral violence and that Tai is one of the LGAs where the rerun election would be conducted.
In the light of the above, I see the attempt by Amina Zakari to foist this illegality on the Tai, and indeed Rivers people as an affront and a rape on our democracy. It raises certain questions, in which I think we need to ponder over such as:
1. After the electoral officer for Tai Mr. Emmanuel Eborty told the press and the people of Tai that his ad hoc staff and materials had been hijacked to unknown destination and dispersed the voters from the polling units did he come back to re-announce that these materials and staff have been seen or recovered?
2. After the Resident Electoral Commissioner for Rivers State, Elder Aniedi Ikoiwak suspended the rerun elections in Tai, did he at any other time reasonable revoke that suspension?
3. Why Tai LGA purported rerun election results was declared by Amina Zakari
4. In a normal election, how long does it take the Collation and Returning officers to compile, collate, announce and declare the votes scored by each candidate?
5. If Tai rerun elections were conducted on the 19 March, 2016 as it is being alleged by Amina Zakari, why was Tai LGA listed among the LGAs in Rivers State for which the rerun elections were to hold on the 30 July, 2016?
6. If on the 30 July, 2016, Tai LGA has no result for any rerun election whatsoever, from whence did Amina Zakari procure or generate the figures she is now purporting to be the Tai results for the 19 March, 2016 rerun polls?
7. Are INEC and Amina Zakari above the law?
8. Should an Act be in violation; breach or contravention of a valid order of a court of law? What does such an action amounted to?
9. If a government that boasts that it is fighting corruption goes behind to approve and justify results which are submitted with electoral materials which were declared stolen, is that government really committed to fighting corruption or encouraging corruption?
At this point we want all and sundry to join us in this clarion call to compel Amina Zakari and INEC to respect due process, and the rule of law to ensure that a free and fair rerun election is conducted in Tai LGA in the interest of equity and justice.
•Hon (Dr.) Jacobson Nbina is Candidate, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Eleme/Oyigbo/Tai Federal Constituency Rivers State.