By Egufe Yafugborhi
PORT HARCOURT – AMIDST criticisms and calls for removal of Rivers state Resident Electoral Commissioner, REC, Oboh Effanga, the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, has received Vote of Confidence from 56 governorship candidates who affirmed that the commission has lived above board on the logjam hovering over Rivers governorship and state assemblies elections.
Samuel Ihunwor, Chairman, Rivers 2019 Governorship Candidates Forum, who led the body to the INEC office in Port Harcourt told the commission that, “Those calling for Effanga’s removal are enemies of the state. We are the governorship candidates contesting in the election. We are very satisfied with the work INEC is doing in Rivers.
“We remain more confident in the integrity and credibility the REC has displayed in the election. Effanga was in Rivers to count votes and not money. He and his team have performed creditably well and we call on the commission’s authorities to disregard the minute detractors and enemies of Rivers calling for removal of the REC.
“All we, the governorship candidates and Rivers people are asking is that INEC should go ahead to resume the suspended process, conclude its collation and declare the results and eventual winner without allowing enemies of the state to compromise the results already in INEC’s kitty for 17 LGAs”
Edwin Enabor, Rivers INEC Head, Voter’s Education who received the governorship candidates’ vote of confidence letter on behalf of Effanga, said, “We are encouraged by your confidence in our duty. As INEC, we are not here to work for any individual or political party. All we are doing is to ensure that the election is free and fair and those to emerge winners are the persons Rivers people actually voted for”
Enabor said the commission will stick to its released timeline for conclusion of the Rivers elections, calling on all stakeholders to key in with respect for peace, law and order.
The governorship candidates also condemned civil society groups and political parties who praised the Nigerian Army over its role in the elections in Rivers amidst widespread allegations of military intimidation and hijack of the electoral process.
They equally condemned some Rivers elders, including former Governor Rufus Ada George for asking President Mohammadu Buhari’s interference in the controversial Rivers elections.
Ihunwor said, “It is sad that a minute few, desperate to destroy Rivers would pay a rental crowd in the guise of civil society groups to praise the same military who were widely caught on viral videos and seen by international monitors to have invaded collations centers and caused death of innocent people.”