RIVERS, DECEMBER 10, 2016 – The rescheduled National Assembly and State House rerun and supplementary elections in Rivers State will finally hold today under a very tense atmosphere.
The Independent National Electoral Commission will conduct the elections across three senatorial districts, eight federal constituencies and 10 state constituencies.
Following court rulings that invalidated the 2015 federal and state legislative elections in the oil-rich state, INEC had conducted rerun polls on March 19, 2016. But the exercise was marred by violence mainly between armed supporters of Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, and those of the All Progressives Congress, APC; forcing the electoral body to suspend the polls midway.
Governor Nyesom Wike is the PDP leader in Rivers while his predecessor, Rotimi Amaechi, leads the APC. The race for the legislative seats is expected to be a two-horse race between both parties, although other parties are also participating in the elections.
Apart from the three senatorial districts, the eight federal constituencies in which elections will hold are Akuku-Toru/Asari Toru; Degema/Bonny; Okrika/Ogu-Bolo; Etche/Omuma; Ikwere/Emohua; Khana Gokana; Eleme/Tai/Oyigbo and Opobo/Nkoro/Andoni.
The state constituencies where elections will hold are Eleme, Gokana, Asari-Toru I, Asari-Toru II, Andoni, Khana II, Etche II, Ikwere, Bonny and Degema.
For the elections, 10,294 electoral staff were deployed, INEC said. The police spokesperson in the state said 28,000 officers had been deployed. The huge deployment of police officers – aside military personnel deployed by the Army and the Navy – is commensurate to the risk assessment taken.
While elections will hold afresh in some places, INEC will only collate and declare results, and make returns in other areas, the Commission said. A total of 927,769 voters, representing 37 percent of 2,537,320 being total number of registered voters in the state, are eligible to cast vote across 1,840 polling units and 2,203 voting points where the rerun and supplementary elections will hold today.