Rivers State appears to be the only state where the people are yet to know the outcome of the March 9 gubernatorial and house of assembly elections. Across the country, the exercise has been concluded by the Independent National Electoral Commission.
Last week, INEC had to conduct supplementary elections in states where the elections were inconclusive. And, on Thursday, INEC moved to conclude the election for the governorship seat in Adamawa State. In all those states, winners have emerged. Losers have also been known. The states have moved on, with the presentation of certificates of return to the winners. A lot of those who lost have taken their case to the tribunal.
But in Rivers State, the situation is different. There is confusion everywhere. The political gladiators are doing their best to fight it out. People are reported to have been hired to stage protests for and against the two sides-the PDP and the AAC/APC.
Until penultimate week, a section of Aba Road was blocked to traffic. Motorists went through excruciating experiences as they tried to navigate their way around the town, just because security operatives wouldn’t want people to have a thorough fare around and close to the INEC office which sits on Aba Road. Even, workers at the NDDC corporate head office were told to stay at home for fear of any eventuality, due to tension that continued to mount around the INEC office. Even now, that section of Aba road has been blocked again.
Neither the PDP led by the governor, Nyesom Wike, nor the APC/AAC led by the transportation minister is showing any signs of surrender. It is either naked women are brought into the roads to demand the redeployment of the INEC resident electoral commissioner or the commissioner of police, or some other youths or party members are staging a counter protest, to insist that the officials should be retained.
At other times, the protesters are calling on INEC to revisit the collation of results and announcement of winners.
As much as all the protesters have the right to express their opinion over the lingering electoral matters in the state, their right stops where that of others begins. A situation where people can no longer go about their normal businesses with ease cannot be deemed to be an acceptable practice in a sane society.
We frown on the spate of protests and the attendant effects on the state economy. For whatever it is worth, the politicians should realise that people have their lives to live and they should be allowed to live in line with their right to free movement as provided for by the laws of the land.
It is even much more amusing, that even after INEC had announced a time table for the conclusion of elections in the state, those who think they own the state, just because of their political interests, are still disturbing the peace of Port Harcourt through protests.
Enough of the protests. INEC should be allowed to conclude the electoral processes. Everybody should patiently wait for the final results which are expected to be announced later this week. Whoever loses can then go to the tribunal. Enough blood has been shed. The state cannot continue to lose more residents just because some greedy, power drunk human beings want to achieve their political desires. This has to end so that the state can move forward.