A group, the Citizens Centre for Democratic Governance [CCDG] has called for the suspension of any election marred by violence, using the recently-held House of Assembly bye-election for Port Harcourt Constituency 3 as reference point.
CCDG lamented the high spate of violence and terror that characterized the inconclusive bye-election of August 18th 201 in a statement made available to ElombahNews.
The statement reads in part:
We commend INEC under the purposeful leadership of Prof. Yakubu Mahmood for his great stewardship and timely intervention of suspending the election which would serve as deterrence to politicians who believe that violence would continue to be a viable election winning strategy in Nigeria.
Our field agents, who were on ground at Port Harcourt the capital Rivers state, visited some polling units to observe the turnout and general process.
They confirmed that the election commenced peacefully in all the units, with INEC personnel and materials in sight well ahead of time.
However, they lamented the unruly interruption of the process by hoodlums and racketeers accompanied by security agents who stormed different polling units and registration areas to disrupt voting activities and in the process made away with election materials, including smart card readers, ballot papers and ballot boxes.
They also reign terror, molested and injured many electoral officials, while holding others hostage.
While the blame game continues with the PDP claiming that the APC employed the use of thugs with the support of security operatives to disrupt the election, the APC is also claiming that the PDP employed the help of militants to disrupt the voting exercise, we want to state unequivocally that election is not a do or die affair and this particular election is an example of a joke taken too far.
We condemn in its totality, the actions taking by the two major political parties involved and call on all civil society organization, faith based organizations, ethnic based organizations among others, to rise up against this kind of happenings as it is capable of endangering our democracy.
The law enforcement agencies must investigate this awkward event and punish all officers found guilty. Enough of the use of security operatives as thugs in our elections, enough of using security operatives to intimidate electorate, enough of using thugs to steal ballot boxes and other electoral materials, enough is enough.
We are indeed grateful to INEC for taking this bold step that will go a long way to sanitize the electoral system by serving as deterrence to politicians that any election marred with violence shall be cancelled.[End]