BUHARI CALLS FOR PEACEFUL POLLS IN RIVERS …As Defiant Amina Zakari Vows Not to Obey Court Order on Tai Local Govt
By Agency Report
She says the FHC has no powers to direct INEC to conduct rerun elections in Tai
*PDP raises alarm over plot by INEC to derail democracy
As President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday called for a peaceful election in Saturday’s scheduled rerun poll in some federal and state constituencies in Rivers State, the INEC National Commissioner in charge of Operations, Hajia Amina Zakari, has vowed not to conduct rerun elections in the whole of Tai Local Government Area as ordered by the Federal High Court in Port Harcourt. Zakari is Buhari’s blood relation whom he had appointed acting National Chairman of the commission before the appointment of Prof. Mahmud Yakoob.
Hajia Amina Zakari had told a stakeholders meeting that she will not respect the Federal High Court judgment because she believes that the court lacks the power to order INEC to conduct rerun elections in all the polling units in Tai LGA .
According to INEC National Commissioner, Hajia Amina Zakari , she will only conduct rerun elections in 12 polling units.
In a swift response, the PDP in Rivers State has raised alarm over the claim by Amina Zakari that she will disrespect the judgment of the Federal High Court in Port Harcourt, an action the party views as a plot to derail the democratic process in the state .
The Rivers PDP advised INEC to conduct the rerun elections in Tai LGA as ordered by the Federal High Court in Port Harcourt .
It will be recalled that Justice Liman of the Federal High Court in Port Harcourt ordered INEC to ensure that the results of Tai LGA emanate from the rerun elections in the area .
Justice Liman said: “it is hereby ordered that the result of the re-run election in respect of the National and the State House of Assembly election, which the 1st Defendant has fixed a date to conduct in Khana, Bonny, Gokana, Andoni, Eleme and Tai Local Government Area or any part thereof must emanate from the said re-run election.”
Meanwhile, Buhari has called for peaceful and orderly conduct during the rerun legislative elections in Rivers on Saturday.
The elections are to be held in 21 constituencies, made up of three senatorial districts, eight Federal constituencies and 10 state constituencies.
The president’s Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina, conveyed his message in a statement in Abuja on Friday.
Buhari urged the political parties, candidates and other stakeholders to ensure the polls were conducted without rigging, violence and intimidation of opponents and electoral officials.
He reminded politicians and their supporters in Rivers to put “the higher interest of the people of the state in mind, as they go to the polls on Saturday.
“The rerun elections should not be seen as a do-or-die to the extent that people will be killed, maimed and property destroyed in a mindless display of crude primitive instincts.”
Buhari said innocent blood should never be sacrificed on the altar of political contest for temporary power.
He urged security and law enforcement agencies to exhibit professionalism and non-partisanship in the discharge of their constitutional duties even in the face of extreme provocation.
He also directed them to deal decisively with trouble-makers and those bent on violating the sanctity of the electoral process.
The president also enjoined the Independent National Electoral Commission to do all within its powers to give transparency and fairness to the electoral exercise in Rivers.
He restated the commitment of his administration to deepening democracy in the country by enthroning a legacy of respect for the wishes of the people through free, fair and credible elections devoid of intimidation and violence.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that the rerun elections were ordered by the court, which nullified the polls held in 2015 because of electoral malpractice.
An earlier attempt to hold the elections in March was stalled by violence which led to the death of a National Youth Service Corps member, served as an ad hoc electoral officer.
Since the inauguration of the 8th National Assembly on June 9, 2015, Rivers has not had.