The Rivers legislative rerun took place amid tight security provided by a combined team of police, army, navy, air force, operatives of the Department of State Security, DSS, Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps, NSCDC, Custom, immigration, National Law Drug Enforcement Agency, NLDEA, Federal Road Safety Corps, FRSC, among others.
Detachments of the police and the army perational vehicles patrolled through major roads. Vehicles without “Electoral Duty” sticker were stopped and subjected to rigorous checks.
Most of the waterfront bordering riverine communities had a heavy presence of the army, navy, marine police and operatives of the Joint Task Force, JTF. The waterways were effectively policed by naval gunboats. Drones were reportedly deployed in the local governments in the riverine areas
Voting went on smoothly in some parts of Gokana Local Government Area where accreditation and voting started as early as 9.30 a.m. It was reported that some hoodlums in some units in Gokana, assisted by some armed uniformed men, snatched ballot materials at about 1.25 p.m. Hoodlums snatched ballot materials at Unit 3, Ward 9, in Bolo, in Ogu/Bolo Local Government Area. Accreditation and voting started at about 10.00 a.m in some parts of Eleme, in Eleme Local Government Area.
Senator George Sekibo, who is gunning for the Rivers East Senatorial District, which encompasses Ugo/Bolo, told journalists, at Ugo, that “armed security men in uniform aided some youths to snatch ballot materials at Unit 3, Ward 9, in Ugo.
“It is good that INEC has reacted promptly and cancelled the election in that unit. That act of courage will discourage further acts of ballot snatching. The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, should give confidence to the electoral process by doing what is right and proper without pandering to the whims and caprices if any party”.
At Ogu, Evans Bipi, alleged that some members of the All Progressives Congress (APC), informed him that the votes from Units 7 and 8, Ward 4, would be counted at the local government headquarters, rather than at the units where the election took place.
The INEC supervisor in-charge of both units, told journalists at Ogu that the votes would be counted at units 7 and 8, before being taken to the ward and then to the local government headquarters for collation.