Coalition of observer groups accredited by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to observe the aborted February 20 Imo re-run election has condemned the protest that led to the postponement.
In a joint statement issued in Abuja, the groups said the reason given for the cancellation of the election on grounds of insecurity is doubtful as it was intentionally instigated by some politicians.
In their submission, they said “many people lost their valuables including laptops, phones, money and some were injured. Our members suffered from tear gas canisters.
“Security agents should as a matter of urgency, bring to book those behind this protest. We strongly recommend that it is high time this impunity in the electoral process is stopped to allow the change process of this government to be effectively implemented.
“Political parties should stop interfering in INEC’s electoral process. Security agencies did not act promptly to stop the hoodlums from disrupting the distribution of materials.’’
Nigerian Pilot recalls that demonstrators in their hundreds barricaded the front office of INEC along Port Harcourt road over allegations that one Mr. Igwe was sent to rig the election for the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.
The Resident Electoral Commissioner’s, REC, explanation that the said Igwe has not resumed duties and is not part of the team to conduct election failed to calm them down.
The arrival of the demonstrators disrupted accreditation of observer groups, party agents and activities of INEC staff/ad-hoc staff of security agents who were already on ground for the business of the day.
Election materials were ready to be dispatched but due to the blockage of the demonstrators alleging that a staff of INEC posted to Owerri, who was yet to assume duty is a PDP nominee, thereby holding the entire electoral process hostage for several hours and beating innocent people who came to INEC’s office.