… Describes Saturday’s polls as a mirage
From TONY JOHN, Port Harcourt
The governorship candidate of the National Rescue Movement (NRM), Sobomabo Jackrich, has rejected Saturday’s governorship and House of Assembly elections and announced his withdrawal from the rescheduled polls in some local government areas.
Jackrich, who described the last polls as a mirage, said the exercise was characterized by widespread irregularities and it was short of the minimum standard of an acceptable election.
He continued that irregularities were recorded prevalently in LGAs such as Degema, Eleme, PHALGA, Oyigbo, Ahoada East, Emouha, Ikwerre LGA, Etche, Omuma, Khana, Obio/Akpor, Abonnema in Akuku Toru and Okirika.
According to him, in Asari Toru LGA and some parts of Degema and Khana LGAs, elections were suspended due to the failure of INEC to deliver the right materials and/or the refusal of INEC officials to show up for the election.
He declared: “This election falls short of the minimum standard of an acceptable election. I hereby reject the outcome of the elections so far and decline from continuing in the process.
“I urge all supporters of the NRM to boycott the Asari Toru, Khana, and Degema rescheduled elections as it only means participating in a futile adventure that has been rigged before time by the INEC, working with PDP in Rivers State, and aided by the Security agencies.”
The NRM governorship candidate alleged that the widespread irregularities were aided by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the security agencies in connivance with the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in Rivers State.
He expressed: “It is disheartening that the election was marred by cases of voter intimidation by armed hoodlums across the state, snatching of ballot boxes by thugs led by serving Local Government Area (LGA) chairmen, commissioners and officials of the government, with the aid of security agencies who compromised to allow thugs to wear police uniforms and operate with security vans.
“There were also cases where party agents were not allowed into polling stations to carry out their civic responsibility by agents of the PDP, cases where voters were flogged by thugs for voting for other political parties, and ballots were destroyed in polling units where electorate voted their conscience.
“The harrowing voter apathy experienced across the state is a result of announcements of threats to the life and safety of voters across the state, particularly against nonindigenous people in the state. Vote buying was rampant in the elections, which further reduced the sanctity of the process.
He commended members of the NRM and his supporters across the state that came out in their numbers despite the intimidation to vote, and agents who went out to show solidarity to monitor the process despite the abuses and attacks.
“I assure those agents with proven records of participation that they will be called upon and duly appreciated for their show of commitment.
He, however, called on Rivers people, civil society organizations (CSOs) and international organizations to condemn the Saturday’s governorship and House of Assembly elections describing it as a mirage.
“Therefore, I call on all well-meaning Nigerians to join me in condemning these irregularities in the strongest possible terms.”