Following the violence that trailed the March 19, 2016 rerun of elections in Rivers State which claimed the lives many rivers indigenes and the life of a Youth Corps member, Samuel Okonta, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) cancelled the elections in several constituencies including the three Senatorial District elections.
The Commission has since then incurred huge costs to engage with stakeholders at various levels culminating in the National stakeholders Forum on outstanding rerun elections held at the Ladi Kwali Hall of the Sheraton Hotel, Abuja on the 30th June, 2016. It was at that venue that dates were chosen for the Rivers rerun, Kogi rerun, Kano rerun and Imo rerun.
However, while other states are seriously preparing for their elections, the politicians are busy killing and maiming people and causing wanton destruction of property. It agreed at the National Stakeholders meeting that INEC should not under any circumstance put the lives of poll duty staff, observer, electorate and indeed politicians at risk if there is threat to peace. The Commission was urged to exercise their statutory powers and put off any election where lives would be put at risk.
Rivers State politicians and candidates of all the major political parties were in attendance at this stakeholders meeting making allegations and counter allegations. Many other stakeholders who were in attendance must have left the venue with the impression that Rivers State was particularly a trouble spot and that the Rivers gladiators were not committed to peaceful elections. That era can only be found in our history where politicians won elections by any means necessary.
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