The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has fixed April 2 and 5 for the continuation of the collation of governorship election results in Rivers State, revealing that supplementary elections will hold in six states where results were declared inconclusive.
Addressing newsmen at the commission’s headquarters in Abuja, the National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education, Festus Okoye, said that certain activities like engagement with security agencies and other stakeholders, issuance of guidelines on the resumption of collation of results and revalidation of polling agents and observers for collation of results would precede the collation of the results.
The commission equally disclosed that it would obey any court ruling on its refusal to issue a certificate of return to the governor of Imo state, Rochas Okorocha, for forcing the returning officer to declare him the winner of the Imo West senatorial district election.
On resumption of the electoral process in Rivers state, the commission said: “Following the violent disruption of the electoral process in Rivers during the governorship and state Assembly elections on March 9 and 10, 2019, the commission was compelled to suspend the process.
“The commission set up a fact-finding committee that visited Rivers State and submitted its report which revealed that while election could not hold in a few areas, it was successfully concluded in others with the declaration of winners in 21 state constituencies. Collation was ongoing at the time of the suspension of the process. The collation will hold between April 2 and 5, 2019,” the commission announced.
“Certificates of return in respect of governors-elect shall be presented by supervising national commissioners of the respective states between Wednesday and Friday, March 27 and 29, 2019. They will be assisted by resident electoral commissioners and legal officers of the commission.
“The precise date for the presentation in each state shall be made known by the respective resident electoral commissioners after consultation with the supervising national commissioners. For the state Houses of Assembly, the date of presentation of certificates of return to the respective winners will be announced in due course.”
Reacting to the supplementary elections, the commission said: “Supplementary elections will be conducted in 18 states of the federation on March 23, 2019. All observers and the media accredited by the commission to cover the 2019 general elections are free to observe the elections. They will have unimpeded access to the material distribution centres, polling units and collation centres.
“Arising from the meeting held on March 19, 2019, between INEC and security agencies, the latter has given the assurances of adequate security, professional conduct and unimpeded access to all levels of the election and collation centres.
“The commission encourages all registered voters in the areas where elections will be conducted to come out and cast their ballots. We also appeal to all stakeholders for continuous support.”