Rivers LG poll holds June 16, APC kicks

The Punch - - NEWS - Chuk­wudi Akasike, Port Har­court

THE Rivers State In­de­pen­dent Elec­toral Com­mis­sion said on Tues­day that the state lo­cal gov­ern­ment elec­tion would hold on June 16, 2018.

This is as the All Pro­gres­sives Congress in the state op­posed the an­nounce­ment by the state elec­toral body.

The Chair­man of RSIEC, Jus­tice Chuk­wun­eye Uriri, who an­nounced the date for the elec­tion in Port Har­court, ad­vised the po­lit­i­cal par­ties to shun vi­o­lence and obey the rules guid­ing the ex­er­cise.

Speak­ing dur­ing a stake­hold­ers’ meet­ing at­tended by over 65 rep­re­sen­ta­tives of var­i­ous po­lit­i­cal par­ties, Uriri ex­pressed the need for a lo­cal gov­ern­ment elec­tion.

He said, “By the pow­ers con­ferred on me, as en­shrined in the Rivers State In­de­pen­dent Elec­toral Law No. 2 of 2018, I there­fore de­clare Sat­ur­day, the 16th day of June, 2018 as the lo­cal gov­ern­ment elec­tion day in Rivers State. It is ac­cord­ingly so fixed.

“I reaf­firm the com­mit­ment of the Rivers State In­de­pen­dent Elec­toral Com­mis­sion to per­form its obli­ga­tions, to re­flect the as­pi­ra­tions of the elec­torate,” he said.

How­ever, the state Chair­man of the APC, Dr. Davies Ikanya, who was re­spond­ing to the devel­op­ment, said it was il­le­gal for the state elec­toral body to fix a date for the coun­cil elec­tion.

Ikanya ar­gued that there were pend­ing cases at the Supreme Court and a state High Court re­lated to lo­cal gov­ern­ment elec­tion in Rivers State.

The state APC chair­man main­tained that it was sub­ju­dice for the com­mis­sion to fix a date for the elec­tion, even at a time when the courts had not de­cided on the cases filed by the main op­po­si­tion party in the state.

He said, “We have been in a pro­tracted le­gal bat­tle over pre­vi­ous elec­tion that the RSIEC con­ducted, which

Wike sacked elected of­fi­cials and the case has not been va­cated. It is wrong for a re­spected cit­i­zen to an­nounce that their ten­ure has elapsed.”

But the state Chair­man of the Peo­ples Demo­cratic Party, Chief Felix Obuah, hailed RSIEC for an­nounc­ing a date for the lo­cal gov­ern­ment elec­tion.

Obuah noted that there was no court rul­ing stop­ping RISIEC from fix­ing a date for the elec­tion.

He ar­gued that the po­si­tion of the APC on the coun­cil elec­tion was base­less, adding that the June 16, 2018 date for the elec­tion would pro­vide an op­por­tu­nity for the peo­ple to elect their rep­re­sen­ta­tives at the lo­cal gov­ern­ment level.

“We have been yearn­ing for elected coun­cil ex­ec­u­tives; we have been us­ing care­taker com­mit­tees. The body (RISIEC) is well con­sti­tuted. The is­sue of il­le­gal­ity does not come in. The mat­ter in court does not stop the elec­toral body from mak­ing prepa­ra­tions,” Obua ar­gued.

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