16 Political Parties Demand Removal Of Rivers REC …Protest In Abuja

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President-elect, Gen Muhammadu Buhari (middle), with former president Olusegun Obasanjo (right), Governor Chibuike Amaechi (2nd right) and Senator Chris Ngige, savouring Buhari’s victory at the polls in Abuja, recently.
President-elect, Gen Muhammadu Buhari (middle), with former president Olusegun Obasanjo (right), Governor Chibuike Amaechi (2nd right) and Senator Chris Ngige, savouring Buhari’s victory at the polls in Abuja, recently.

Sixteen political parties in Rivers State yesterday staged a protest at the Headquarters of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Abuja, calling for the immediate removal of the Rivers State Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Dame Gesila Khan ahead of Saturday’s governorship and House of Assembly elections.
The parties, under the umbrella body of Coalition of Political Parties in Rivers State, said they had lost confidence in the electoral officer who they alleged had been compromised.
Members of the parties, in their numbers, carried placards with various inscriptions to press home their demand for Khan’s removal.
They also called for the removal of the Head of Operations at INEC, Engr. Bocco Ekong, for conniving with the REC.
The political parties accused the REC of conniving with the ýPeoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) and it’s governorship candidate, Nyesom Wike.
The group, in its petition  addressed to the chairman of the commission, noted that for there to be free, fair and transparent election in the state, the REC must be changed.
The petition reads in part: “we believe that the commission has a lot of competent hands that can conduct free and credible elections in Rivers State. Our only request is that Khan gives way so that the votes of the Rivers people will count.
“The commission has done so much to organize a credible election in other part of the country and we believe that Rivers state should not be an exception.
“The acts of Khan are all over the streets and markets in Rivers state. Keeping her in the state is as good as just announcing names of winners before the election because that is what she will do in the state.”
The 16 political parties maintained that the state REC was “hand in gloves with the perpetrators of the activities that led to impugning the integrity of the March 28th election as it was clear to all objective observers that without her complicity in the activities, the subversion of the electoral process would not have been possible.
The political parties that protested at INEC Headquarters and also signed a petition addressed to the INEC Chairman, Prof Attahiru Jega, are Democratic Peoples’ Party (DPP), All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), Peoples Democratic Movement (PDM), Mega Progressive People’s Party (MPPP), Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN), Action Alliance (AA), United Democratic Party (UDP), All Progressives Alliance (APA).
Others are Independent Democrats (ID), People for Democratic Change (PDC), Allied Congress Party of Nigeria (ACPN), Peoples Party of Nigeria (PPN), Citizens Popular Party (CPP), Accord Party (AP), All Progressives Congress (APC), and Advance Congress of Democrats (ACD).
The political parties, who came in their hundreds, arrived the premises of INEC as early as 7am with placards, chanting loudly as police formed three layers barricades to stop the protesters from encroaching into the premises.
Some of the placards read: “We demand change of REC”; “Rivers APC cannot be intimidated”, among others.
According ýto their petition, they referred to an earlier petition on the need to cancel the March 28 Presidential and National Assembly elections in Rivers State on the grounds that they were characterised by INEC collusion with PDP to compromise the process.
The parties went ahead to list 25 allegations against the REC, which include that she took over the postings of ad-hoc electoral personnel, recruited well known PDP members as supervisory presiding officers, substituting well trained corps members with a list of names from the PDP governorship candidate, Nyesom Wike.
They also alleged that under her directive “Nyesom Wike supervised the collation of results at the state collation centre even though she knew full well that Nyesom Wike is not the PDP state agent. The PDP agent was Emeka Woke.”
They also said that the REC and Mr. Boco held 14 meetings with Wike at his residence to collaborate in all the plots to sway the election in favour of PDP.
They also alleged that “she facilitated the disbursement of N15million bribe given by  Nyesom Wike to each electoral officer.”
They said “whilst we wait a formal and final resolution of the said March 28 petition, we write to state that Ms. Gesilia Khan, the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), was hand in gloves with the perpetrators of the activities that led to impinging the integrity of the election as it is clear to all objective observers that without her complicity in the activities, the subversion of the electoral process would not have been possible.
“We are aware that no allegation against a public officer should be made lightly or for any purpose other than as envisaged by law, which is the reason we have been painstakingý in ensuring that the statements and facts here presented are all easily verifiable and accurate against the person of the REC such that no responsible political party or commission should allow the ignoble situation to persist.”
However, the Director of Security Services at INEC, Shettima Ngillada received the leaders of the protesting political parties, and led them to meet the leadership of the commission and to submit their petitioný accordingly.
Ngillada, after emerging from the meeting with the leaders of the protesting parties and members of INEC leadership, assured them that the commission will look into their petition.
Ngilada, who commended the protesting parties for being orderly, said “your three nominees of the protest groups came with us and the complaint has already been taken to the office of the INEC chairman. The protest letter has been submitted and has been acknowledged. Your complaint will not be thrown away.
“And by the grace of God, the chairman and commission will look into your complain, that is the assurance I can give.ý We want to thank you for the way you organised yourself,” he added.