Tony John, Port Harcourt
The Rivers State Independent Electoral Commission (RSIEC), has fixed June 16 for the conduct of the local government elections in the state.
RSIEC made the disclosure, on Tuesday, in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital, during stakeholders’ meeting attended by leaders of the political parties in the state.
In his pre-election speech, the Chairman and Chief Electoral Commissioner of RSIEC, Justice Chukwunenye Uriri, noted that it was his responsibility and that of the commission to organize, undertake and supervise every election into local government councils.
Uriri expressed worries that for some time now, there had not been local government elections in the state, adding that the law abhorred a vacuum.
He stressed the need for the council elections, saying that the poll would hold in June, having also adhered to the 90 days mandatory notice provided by law.
Uriri’s words, “It is, therefore, imperative that we fix a date for local government elections in accordance with the said rules.
“By the power 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 Local Government Election Day in Rivers State. It is accordingly so fixed.
He, however, appealed to political parties and politicians in the state, to abide by the rules of the game and avoid violence in its ramifications.
“I reaffirm the commitment of the Rivers State Independent Electoral Commission to perform its obligations, to reflect the aspirations of the electorate”, he said.
Meanwhile, the All Progressives Congress (APC), at the meeting has described the decision of RSIEC as worst decision, adding that it would not stand legal scrutiny.
The Chairman of APC in the state, Chief Davies Ikanya, expressed that, “We are just experiencing the worst of electoral bodies. I knew the Governor of the state will do this that is why I insisted on attending this meeting.
“The Governor knows that the issue on the Act establishing this illegal body is in court. The Attorney General went to court and the matter was adjourned till March 27, and today, you have come to declare that election will hold in June.
“We have been in protracted legal battle of previous election RSIEC conducted which Wike sacked and the case has not been vacated. It is wrong for a very respected citizen to announce that their tenure has elapsed”.
In a swift reaction, the Chairman of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Felix Obuah, has commended RSIEC for putting a date for the council poll.
He added that the political parties in the state were okay with the Governor Nyesom Wike’s developmental development strides.
Obuah said: “We have been yearning for elected council executives; we have been using caretaker Committee. The body is well constituted. The issue of illegality does not come in. The matter in court does not stop the electoral body from making preparations.