A coalition of 32 civil society group s have condemned the violence and irregularities that characterised the recent legislative re-run elections in Rivers State, arguing that there was urgent need for politicians to learn how to conduct themselves within the ambit of the law.
A statement jointly signed by Partners for Electoral Reforms (PER) Mr Ezenwa Nwagwu and Dr Chima Amadi Centre for Transparency Advocacy (CTA) for the group noted that while the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) was ensuring that there was adequate preparations for the elections, the political gladiators in the state were busy planning for war and perfecting means of undermining the efforts of the electoral body.
The statement noted that despite the deployment of 6, 000 conventional police officers, eight additional or visiting mobile police squadrons, 46 units of mobile police already serving in the state, soldiers, SSS operatives, Civil Defence personnel and other paramilitary agencies, it was worrisome that they could not provide adequate security for the elections.
It said, “More worrisome is the fact that each of the above mentioned agencies was associated with particular political parties and reports from observers in the field confirms that in several instances these security agencies worked for the parties they were associated with.
“We are not unaware of the role of INEC to ensure credible elections. We acknowledge that there were logistical handicaps on the part of INEC, a situation that could not be remedied owing to the rampant violent environment.”
The statement added that it joined millions of other well meaning Nigerians to mourn with the family of the Youth Corps member, Samuel Okonta who lost his life while on election duty. We also condole with the families of all other citizens, staff of INEC and security operatives who lost their lives during the election.
We restate our total support to and for INEC as it grapples with the challenges of reforming a broken and flawed election process in our country, which is worsened by the Machiavellian politics of might of the political elites in Nigeria.