The Ijaw Youth Council Worldwide has reacted to the suspension of the conduct of governorship and state assembly election in Rivers state by the Independent National Electoral Commission, ( INEC)
INEC National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye in a statement on Sunday disclosed that his Commission action was informed by widespread disruption of elections in Rivers State.
The Commission further disclosed that it has set up a fact-finding Committee to assess the situation in Rivers state.
But the IYC in a statement made available to newsmen in Abuja and signed by its president, Eric Omare, claimed that INEC had a sinister motive for its action. The Ijaw Youth Council Worldwide further claimed that the target of the abortion of the electoral process was the governorship candidate of the Africa Action Congress, Engineer Awara Biokpomabo, who incidentally is of Ijaw extraction.
The statement read in part: ” The Ijaw Youth Council Worldwide has closely watched the activities surrounding the 2019 Rivers State Gubernatorial and House of Assembly Elections. The reports coming from our members, scattered around the state, only proves to us, that the Ijaw nation is under attack. Elections held in other parts of the country and those elections were relatively peaceful, with pockets of violence in a few locations.
“Scores of Ijaw sons and daughters have been harassed and intimidated by the activities and presence of the Nigerian Army in Rivers State. More particularly the attack on His Royal Majesty, Tom Ateke and the former President of the IYC, Alhaji Asari Dokubo.
“We condemn these attacks in the strongest terms. Thugs are being armed to cause mayhem in core Ijaw communities, while other locations in the state, enjoy the comfort of a peaceful environment. These and many more atrocities are plaguing the Ijaws in Rivers State. We will not tolerate it.
“We have also monitored the collation of results across all the 23 LGAs in Rivers State. From our records, an Ijaw son was leading in the gubernatorial race, before INEC suspended the exercise.
“Though we cannot predict the outcome of the elections, we want to make known our suspicion of sabotage. It is funny that leading to this date, every gubernatorial candidate from Ijaw extraction that gains momentum, and stands a chance of victory at the Polls, was mysteriously knocked out of the race.
“The issues of Tonye Cole from the APC and Dumo Lulu Briggs from the Accord Party are still moving front and back in court, while election day has come and gone. Now Engr Awara Biokpomabo of the AAC; an Ijaw son was leading and suddenly INEC suspends the exercise for security concerns.
“Though we do not support or celebrate violence, previous elections that have produced winners in Rivers State were not in any way better; including the 2015 elections which the supreme court described as “A Theatre of War,” which produced His Excellency Barrister Nyesom Wike as governor without any interference.
“We demand equity for all. We call on INEC to immediately commence with the state collation exercise or we be will left with no other option that to act like a Nation Under Attack. We also demand an immediate stop to the attacks on Ijaw people and communities in Rivers State.”