The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, on Thursday, March 21, 2019, said it would resume collation and announce results in Rivers in April 13, 2019.
Festus Okoye, the electoral body’s national commissioner for Information and Voter Education, disclosed this during a press conference at the commission’s headquarters in Abuja.
Mr. Okoye explained that INEC would conduct supplementary election where necessary, and in some constituencies not affected by litigation on April 13, 2019.
INEC has indicted the Nigerian Army for its involvement in election violence and disruption of the polls.
International election observers, including the European Union observers have also said that soldiers of the Nigerian Army played an illegal role in the electoral process in the oil rich state.
The European Union Observation Mission to Nigeria says soldiers barred them from monitoring elections in Rivers State. The observers made the allegation in their preliminary report in Abuja on Monday, March 11, 2019.
Addressing journalists, the chief observer, Maria Arena, noted that they came to Nigeria on the invitation of INEC to monitor the elections and make recommendations.
Arena, who is a member of the EU Parliament, however, faulted the elections.
She said, “Observers, including EU observers, were denied access to collation centres in Rivers, apparently by military personnel. This lack of access for observers compromises transparency and trust in the process.
“In Rivers, INEC suspended until further notice the elections due to violence in polling units and collation centres, staff being taken hostage and election materials, including results sheets, seized or destroyed by unauthorised persons.
“There is no doubt that the electoral process there was severely compromised.”
The ruling party’s candidates were barred from contesting in the state’s elections due to internal party politics in the All Progressives Congress, APC. The battle between the factions in the party led to a Supreme Court judgement saying that the APC did not conduct lawful primaries and as such could not participate in 2019 elections in the state.