Rivers Bye-election DA, MMN Threatens To Sue INEC As Group Seek Increase In Voter Education For Women
Despite face-saving measures to put a stop to rivers state bye-election coming with violence in the decision of the independent national electoral commission (INEC) took in suspending the bye-election, many are left with the impression that the rivalry between the Peoples Democratic Party and its major opposition party, the All Progressive Congress inflamed the violence that marred the Saturday, August 18, bye-election for the port Harcourt constituency iii seat of rivers state house of Assembly
It was also based on this same views coming from many observers with the decision of the independent National Electoral Commission to suspend the said poll that equally did not go down well with two other political parties that participated as they threatened to drag INEC to court should the commission fail to conclude the suspended process and immediately announce the winner
The parties, Democratic Alternative, DA, and Masses Movement of Nigeria, MMN, expressed their intentions at a statement sent to urban express news online signed by Lucky Ekeji, chairman, MMN, in Rivers, said the INEC’s action was unnecessary and contravenes provisions of the Electoral Act 2010 as amended. “If they anticipated violence they would have suspended the exercise and call the parties to order.
Since that was not done, an election process started and about to be concluded, it was wrong to have suspended the processes the manner they did. They should conclude the process and announce the results. I am not working with anybody. I am standing along as Chairman of MMN, a political party just like every other party,” Ekeji stated. Ekeji’s counterpart, Obarasua Johnbull, who chairs Rivers State DA said: “As stakeholders in the process, our party agents confirmed that between 2pm and 6pm, collation of results as declared in several units was in progress on the day of the election.
“Subsequently, security agents successfully escorted all required materials to the INEC office. Surprisingly, party agents were later informed of suspension of collation while everyone else woke up to the shocking news of election suspension hinged on election violence. “This is a white lie that must not stand. We must state clearly that this is unacceptable and a disgrace to our democracy.”
Meanwhile Women’s Situation Room Nigeria (WSRN) yesterday advocated robust engagement and education of female voters ahead of the 2019 general elections. With no fewer than 40 women-focused organizations across the country and established before the 2015 elections to monitor election-related violence against women, it said there is a low level of awareness among women on the need to collect their Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) to enable them to exercise their voting rights.
The group, which carried out a nationwide survey in the six geo-political zones on women’s voting, stated that women were four per cent less likely than men to report collection of PVCs in recent times. Its National Coordinator, Joy Onyesoh told newsmen that women were less knowledgeable about the need to register for their PVCs to participate in the voting exercise, which she noted, was not a good sign for the 2019 elections.
“Findings from the survey should serve as a warning and a clarion call to action. It is clear that more work needs to be done to ensure that women are able to fully exercise their right to vote in next year’s elections.
However, an aspirant to the Delta State House of Assembly for Ughelli North Constituency I on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Ominimini Obiuwevbi, has urged members of the APC to unite and liberate the state from its many challenges.
He said this at Evwreni, Ughelli North Local Council, during his consultation visit to Executive Director, Projects, Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Samuel Adjogbe, during which no fewer than 1,000 Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) members defected to the APC. He said he would bring his past experience as a former DESOPADEC Commissioner, Director, Delta Printing and Publishing Company, Speaker, Ughelli North legislative arm and other political offices to bear in giving quality representation to the constituency.