- INEC moves 3 RECs, 3 Commissioners to Imo
- Arase briefs Jonathan on Police preparations
As tension mounts in Abia, Imo and Taraba states over tomorrow’s governorship re-run elections in the three states, the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC and the Force Headquarters have unveiled plans to conduct a hitch-free exercise.
While INEC has redeployed more Resident Electoral Commissioners, RECs and national commissioners to the affected states, the new Inspector-General of Police, IGP, Mr. Solomon Arase, has dispatched more police squads to the three states.
In Imo State, for instance, INEC says that it has deployed three new Resident Electoral Commissioners and three national commissioners in the state to support the state REC, Dr. Gabriel Ada in the conduct of the election.
Adah disclosed this to newsmen yesterday in Owerri where he said that the commission had distributed 113,803 Permanent Voter Cards, PVCs to registered voters in the 256 polling units where the re-run would take place.
According to him, the election would be conducted with the strict use of card readers for accreditation in the affected areas while only PVCs will be allowed.
He revealed that there would be total restriction of movement of people in the entire state.
Ada however declined to comment on issues being raised by the All Progressives Congress, APC and the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP on the inconclusive April 11 governorship election and INEC preparations for tomorrow’s contest.
INEC had declared the April 11 elections in the three states inconclusive due to irregularities observed during the election which led to cancellation of votes in some constituencies.
In Taraba State, the cancelled votes were higher than the margin of winning.
In Abia State, INEC said elections would be conducted in some polling stations in nine local government areas with combined registered voters of 179,224.
The supplementary election would be between Okezie Ikpeazu of the PDP and Alex Otti of the All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA.
It will hold in selected polling units in Aba North and South, Osisioma, Ugwunagbo, Umuahia North, Isiala Ngwa North, Obingwa, Ohafia and Ikwuano.
In Imo state, the governorship poll was declared inconclusive, following the cancellation of results in more than 250 polling units in 23 of the 27 local government areas.
The re-run will be between Governor Rochas Okorocha of the APC, and Emeka Ihedioha of the PDP.
Ada said the state constituencies affected in the re-run include Ikeduru, Isiala Mbano, Isu, Oguta, Owerri West, and Oru East.
He explained that INEC ordered the re-run election because of the 79,000 difference between the votes scored by the leading and the second candidates.
“The registered voters in the affected polling units are more than 145,000 and when you consider this figure with the difference, you discover that it was quite substantial number of voters,” he said.
In Taraba State, the contest is between Aisha Jummai Alhassan of the APC and Darius Ishaku of the PDP.
The INEC Returning Officer, Prof. Mohammed Kyari, had declared the governorship election inconclusive, saying the number of cancelled votes totaling 127,125 were more than the 54,812 margin between the PDP candidate who polled 317,198 and the APC candidate with 262,386 votes.
He said the constitution and the Electoral Act states that if the difference between the cancelled votes was higher than the margin between the first and the second person, elections should be declared inconclusive and a run off held.
The runoff election will be held in the whole of Donga Local Government Area and some polling units in Bali, Karim Lamido, Takum, Ussa, Wukari, Yorro and Zing.
Arase briefs Jonathan on Police preparations
Acting Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Solomon Arase, yesterday made his first official appearance at the State House, Abuja, three days after his appointment to explain to President Goodluck Jonathan the police preparations for the governorship re-run polls.
He took over from his predecessor, Mr. Suleiman Abba, on Wednesday.
Arase told State House correspondents that his presence at the Presidential Villa was to brief Jonathan on security preparations for the states where the elections are holding.
He said the police had begun the deployment of more men and materials in the affected states and promised law-abiding residents of adequate protection.
Arase warned that anyone who breached the peace during the election would bear the wrath of the law.
On his presence at the Presidential Villa, Arase said: “First and foremost, we still have some elections left in about three states and we are doing some massive. That is what I came to brief the Commander-in-Chief. I can assure you that we are going to have a level playing field for people who want to vote on Election Day.”
In Kogi State, the Police Command has said that it would deploy 4,700 men and officers for tomorrow’s re-run in the east flank of the state.
The Commissioner of Police, Adeyemi Ogunjemilusi, disclosed this to journalists yesterday in Lokoja, saying that the decision to deploy such number of security personnel to cover the election was to ensure that it is devoid of violence.
He said that the police would be assisted by military and paramilitary personnel, stressing that both the polling units and collation centres would be fortified against snatching of ballot boxes and other related vices.
Ogunjemilusi said: “We have the information that some people will be out to foment trouble by bringing thugs from outside the state, but we are also ready to curtail their activities.”
He said that the command had identified violence-prone areas in the Eastern senatorial district and that appropriate measures had been taken to curtail the activities of those who are bent on making trouble during the re-run election in the affected areas.
The commissioner advised the people of Ajaokuta community to suspend their traditional festival c scheduled for tomorrow, saying that hoodlums might hijack it to disrupt the state constituency re-run election billed for the same day.