Information from Port Harcourt, Rivers State capital says hoodlums have allegedly hijacked the ongoing bye-election in the state. The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), had fixed today, Saturday, August 18, for a bye-election into the Port Harcourt Constituency III, Rivers State House of Assembly.
The seat became vacant when Hon. Victor Ihunwo, a member elected from the constituency became the Executive Chairman of Port Harcourt City local government council. It was, however, alleged that some armed thugs stormed some polling units in ward 10, snatching ballot boxes. Confirming the report, Rivers State Publicity Secretary of APC, Mr. Chris Finebone, blamed the ruling PDP for intimidating his party supporters and agents.
“The PDP leaders in ward 10 have deployed some hoodlums who are going round threatening and intimidating APC members. That is the situation right now. We don’t know how much effort the security agencies can put to stop that situation right now”, he said. On the whereabouts of some of his party agents, Finebone said, “We are making efforts to reach them. The true situation is that, PDP hoodlums came in and were shooting at random, going after known APC individuals and they have to quickly call in the state security, the Police and others. “But in the main time, they have to take refuge here and there. We are still trying to re-establish contact with them”.
Finebone, however, said the election will continue, despite the alleged intimidations. “The election will continue hopefully, because we are still early in the day”, he said. However, the PDP agent in one of the polling units, Carlos Christian, debunked the claims. Christian said, it was rather a factional State Chairman of APC, who hails from the area, “that is moving with thugs to perpetrate election irregularities”. He also alleged that the APC was using the Police Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) to intimidate members of the PDP.
According to our reporter, some arrests were made by the Police in the early hours of the day, but they were later released. Efforts to reach the Force Public Relations Officer, Jimoh Moshood or the state Police spokesman could not yield result.