International election observers on Sunday called for the outright cancellation of the governorship and House of Assembly elections in Rivers State.
The leader of African Centre for Leadership Strategies and Development (ACLSD), Mr Humphrey Bekaren, who spoke on behalf of the observers in Port Harcourt, the state capital, expressed shock that the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, ignored the widely reported violent irregularities to begin the process of declaring results in the state.
The observers described the election as “a far cry from what elections should be”, stressing that what happened in the state did not meet the accepted international standard of electioneering, including the ones set by the INEC.
Bekaren said, “We are leaders of civil society groups and advocacy organisations. We have watched with shock the unfortunate events that took place during the April 11, 2015 Gubernatorial/House of Assembly elections in Rivers State.
“What happened in Rivers is a far cry from what elections should be. What we saw did not meet the accepted international standard of electioneering, not even the ones set by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
“There were reported events of deliberate delays and diversion of electoral materials, attacks on electoral officers, widespread arson, snatching of electoral materials, killings, voter intimidation with active connivance with security agencies”.
The ACLSD coordinator, therefore, called on all lovers of democracy to join in the call for the cancellation of the April 11 election in the state.
He said, “More disturbing was the organised disruption of the process by hoodlums who had a free reign despite the presence of security personnel. In many areas of the state, people who had no business at the polling units hijacked the process, chased away voters, took possession of materials and engaged in mind boggling irregularities presided over by some politicians.
“We are, therefore, shocked and extremely disappointed that the INEC REC, Mrs Gesila Khan, disregarded the widely reported violent irregularities to begin the process of declaring results.
“We request all lovers of democracy to join us in calling for the outright cancellation of the phony election. Unless this is done, we would have sown the seed of destruction that could eventually grow into providing a shade of fear and death over us. We have done our part. We hope and believe that those who are constitutionally empowered to set things straight will listen and do the right thing”.