The rerun elections in Rivers State, Saturday, indeed, lived up to the pre event billing – rancourous, ballot-box snatching, shooting, killing, among others.
Bookmakers would have been proved wrong, if blood didn’t flow or no life lost. As it were, the rerun elections were marred with violence, which resulted in death of scores of people; and many went away with njuries.
Several persons were said to have been killed in the rerun parliamentary election that took place in all the 23 local government areas of the state.
Although the number, identities of the victims or the persons who attacked them had not been established, it was gathered that one of the dead victims an immigration officer serving in the state.
The deceased was reportedly killed at Abalama in Asari Toru local government area of the state when unknown gunmen opened fire on the people.
At Eleme local government area, four persons were killed, while one was killed in Nonwa, Tai LGA.
One person was also shot dead at Ogboloko community in Abua/Odual LGA of the state.
Unconfirmed report has it that an Independent National Electoral Commission official was killed in Abonnema area of Akuku-Toru Local Government Area of the state.
It was gathered that electoral officials who were on duty were attacked on arrival at the area.
Also, an agent of the Peoples Democratic Party, one Tambari Ntoti, was reportedly shot dead.
The deceased agent, Ntoti until his death was representing Nonwa In Tai Local Government Area, Ward 3.
Reacting to his death, the PDP said the killing of Ntoti was perpetrated by supporters of the APC.
An APC agent in Obio Akpor Local Government Area, Ndamati Theophilous, was reportedly stabbed in the chest by a man believed to be an agent of the PDP.
It wss gathered that trouble started during INEC accreditation of voters when the APC agent was stopped from supervising the accreditation.
A witness said the APC agent resisted the PDP counterpart who wanted to drag him out of the polling unit.
“Two of them struggled but when Theophilous resisted, he was stabbed in the chest with a broken bottle”, the witness said.
A 14-seater bus was burnt down in Alode, Eleme Local Government Area, and there were also reports of a shoot-out in Rumuekini, Obio Akpor Local Government Area.
The Army in the state paraded some fake soldiers arrested at Khana.
In a related development, Governor Nyesom Wike’s Special Adviser on Special Projects, Cyril Dum Wite was reportedly arrested in Khana by security agents. Sources said the Governor’s aide was arrested with military uniform and arms.
Also, the Secretary to the Rivers State Government, Kenneth Kobani was arrested by men of the Nigerian Army for alleged stalling the distribution of electoral materials.
It was gathered that Kobani had on Saturday morning allegedly stormed a RAC centre in his area having gathered that the original result sheets have been carted away.
Later, the military arrested him for stalling the electoral
Meanwhile, INEC announced the postponement of election at Bonny Local Government Area of Port Harcourt, Rivers State.
It was learnt that party agents alleged that election materials brought were fake, thus prevented distribution of the materials to Wards.
Besides Bonny. INEC also declared postponement of election in three other Local Government Areas, Khana, Gokana, Andoni in the state.
INEC’s Deputy Director of Public Affairs, Nick Dazang, confirmed that the elections were suspended in the areas because of violence.
Dazang said there was also high voters’ apathy in the areas because of the allegations of fake result sheets.
Bonny, Andoni, and Khana were among the local government areas where the Rivers state government and the Peoples Democratic Party alleged fake result sheets were in circulation.
However, Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike said the INEC, was not prepared for the re-run elections in the state.
Wike made this statement in his ward 9 unit 7 in Rumuepirikom community, Obio/Akpor Local Government Area after casting his vote in company of his wife, Justice Suzette Wike. Wike said, “I am impressed with the security arrangement for the election.
“Most people have boycotted because of fake result sheets. I think that INEC is not prepared for the election. If they are not ready, they shouldn’t be telling people that they are ready.”
In a twist of events, the state government accused the Nigerian military of colluding with the AlPC in the state to hijack election materials.
The government in a statement said it “noted with shock and disgust the role played by the military in the reported diversion of all voting materials meant for the Isaka community, in Okrika Local Government Area.
“This is sickening betrayal of democracy by the military, and will never be allowed to stand.”
But the APC in the state dismissed the statement by the Rivers government as mere falsehood.