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Rivers Re-Run: Hold APC Leaders Responsible For Violence—HURIWA

By Emmanuel Onwubiko

Expressing vehement doubts about the impartiality, credibility and independence of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the dabbling into partisan politics of security forces taking orders from the presidency, a call has gone out to Nigerians to blame the national hierarchy of All Progressive Congress (APC) should violence break out in December 10th 2016 re-run elections in Rivers State into the National and State Assemblies.

Making the call in a media statement, a pro-democracy and Non-governmental organization- HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA) also urged Nigerians to stand up and demand National Assembly’s actions to save the nation from eventual implosion by properly carrying out dispassionate oversight functions over INEC and comprehensively overhauling the Constitutional provisions to take the electoral panel out of the suffocating control of the presidency.

HURIWAhas also observed that INEC as currently constituted has displayed shocking disposition to wreck the foundation of multiparty democracy in favour of a one party state to be controlled by the party in power at the center.

Submitting that the Independent National Electoral Commission has through various misconducts in the just ended Ondo, and Edo elections clearly demonstrated a penchant to derail genuine democracy in favor of a one party state, the group has also carpeted the Nigeria police for showing excessive partisanship by putting the life of the Rivers State governor at risk through the eleventh hour inexplicable withdrawal of his Chief Security Officer and for failing to charge the Port Harcourt based printer caught recently printing INEC election result sheets illegally.

Signed jointly by the National Coordinator Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko and the National Media Affairs Director Miss Zainab Yusuf, HURIWA appealed to the European Union Office in Nigeria, the United Nations Office in Nigeria and the African Union including the Economic Community of West African States to intervene by demanding strict impartiality on electoral matters from both the electoral panel and the security forces.

“The reported invasion of over one hundred thousand armed security forces into Rivers State preparatory for the December 10th 2016 re-run polls; the withdrawal of the Chief Security Officer to Governor Nyesom Wike by the Inspector General of Police who takes direct orders from President Buhariproduced by the All Progressive Congressand the failure of police to prosecute all those linked to the APC recently caught printing ballot and result papers/sheets of INEC are clear signs that the December 10th 2016 re-run legislative polls are already manipulated , rigged and results written already in Abuja even before the voters are allowed to exercise their universal adult suffrage on December 10th2016.

The directive by the national hierarchy of APC on their members to prepare for war in Rivers State is a show of crass irresponsibility and we call on Nigerians to stand up and demand real independence and total personnel overhaul at the Independent National Electoral Commission. We believe that the present leadership of INEC is bent on manipulating all elections in favor of the party in power at the center and if they carry through till 2019 then Nigeria may witness post-election Civil War”.

HURIWA recalled that the APC National Chairman, John Odigie-Oyegun, during the party’s rally held at the Yakubu Gowon Stadium in Port Harcourt declared that the full might of the Federal Government had been deployed to the state for the elections. He urged APC supporters to retaliate any act of violence meted out to them.

“The whole federal might is here; the whole federal executive is here. The entire federal might has heard your cry. There is only one thing; we respect Rivers people. Enough is enough! If they push you, push them. We are on a rescue mission. This state will be rescued,” Oyegun had declared.

HURIWA has strongly condemned this call as unconstitutional and a direct inducement of supporters of APC to unleash violence. The group also wants the APC''s national Chairman arrested and charged for inciting violence of unprecedented scale.