Be vigilant to ensure credible poll, Rivers women tell IGP, DSS

Gender Action Group in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, has asked the Inspector-General of Police, Usman Akali; the Director-General of Department for State Security Service, Yusuf Magaji Bichi; the Nigeria Peace Committee, among others, to be aware of alleged plot by officials of Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to manipulate the governorship elections on Saturday in favour of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

The group’s leader, Deborah Okafor, while reading the petition during a protest match, yesterday, said despite the public outcry of the February 25 elections, INEC has done nothing to douse the agitations, doubts on its ability to deliver on the governorship and state House of Assembly elections in accordance with her 2023 guidelines.

The group alleged recruitment and deployment of members of the PDP to manage the RACTECH centres, a development they condemned.

The petition, a copy of which was sent to the state INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner, asked the electoral umpire to ensure credible polls in Rivers on Saturday.

The statement reads: “We write to draw your attention to the apprehension and erosion of public confidence in the commitment and ability of the Independent National Electoral Commission in Rivers State to deliver credible, free and fair governorship and state House of Assembly elections on Saturday, March 18, 2023 in the state.

“The state REC is requested to also note that the general public is aware that council chairmen in the state, who are members of the PDP took full advantage of the Commission’s indiscretions to threaten, coerce and induce ad hoc staff undergoing training to sabotage clear provisions of the law in the voter accreditation and results uploading processes with a view to hijacking the final collation, thereby undermining the will of the electorate as witnessed on February 25, 2023.”

The group urged INEC to prevent the manipulation of BVAS by polling unit ad hoc staff at the elections.

“INEC Rivers State must commit her officials deployed to the 6866 polling units in the 319 registration areas crisscrossing the 23 councils of the state to work strictly within the provisions of the Electoral Act 2022 and its own 2023 Elections Guidelines.

“INEC must de-emphasise the tendency to abort the application of technology in the elections by officials, who have been tutored to rely on provisions, such as Section 135(1) of the 2022 Electoral Act and the 2023 Guidelines.”

The Guardian

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