The Independent National Electoral Commission ( INEC ) has warned that no political party will henceforth win elections through violence in Rivers .
The Resident Electoral Commissioner ( REC) , Obo Effanga , read the riot act at a one-day voter sensitisation and education seminar ahead of the 2019 polls organised by the state chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria ( CAN ) in Port Harcourt .
According to him , the warning was informed by the suspended Port Harcourt State Constituency III by – election on August 18 , 2018 following attacks on officials of the electoral body and other disruptive activities by suspected thugs .Decrying the frightening bloodletting that has attended elections in recent times in the state , the INEC chief regretted that no one had been prosecuted since 1999 .
Effanga had halted the State of House Assembly by- election after the exercise was disrupted in over 100 of the 142 units .He cautioned politicians that the era of winning polls through violence was over , adding that the electoral umpire had resolved to end “whatsoever it is that makes people kill and maim others in a bid to gain political ascendency .”
The REC explained that the credibility of any election does not depend on who wins or loses but on the entire process . Effanga assured CAN that he would conduct credible polls in the state come next year .
Chairman , Rivers Christian Ecumenical Centre, Rev. Dan Obinna, said the sensitisation followed the finding by CAN that ignorance was contributing immensely to voters ’ apathy.
“We believe that a gathering like this will help to enlighten us to avoid the Esua and Jacob unfortunate episode of one selling his birthright for a piece of pottage , or giving out one’ s stake in governance thereby denying oneself the opportunity to have a say in the choice of leadership ,” he added .
The Commissioner of Police , Zaki Ahmed , represented by S. T West , assured the citizenry of the neutrality of the force before, during and after the elections .
State Director of the National Orientation Agency ( NOA) , Oliver Wolugbom , traced the history of electoral violence in Rivers to post-1999 .He lamented that the church had been quiet for a long time , urging clerics to rally against the menace.