March 11, 2015

PDP, APC, 16 other parties clash in Rivers

By Davies Iheamnachor

PORT HARCOURT—There was drama, yesterday, in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, as 18 political parties contesting the forthcoming general elections engaged in physical combat during a protest against alleged bias of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC.

Supporters of All Progressives Congress, APC, Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, and 16 other political parties in the state barricaded the Port Harcourt-Aba Express Way, causing traffic gridlock.

The protest rally, which was to terminate at the INEC office, ended up in a fight amongst the parties involved.

One of the groups, Concerned Political Parties, a coalition of 17 political parties, led by APC, went to INEC office to register their complaint.
While attempting to kick-start the protest, a PDP group invaded the scene and this led to a free-for- all.

In a statement issued to newsmen, the 17 political parties accused INEC of bias, alleging that the Supervisory Officers for the election in all the local government areas were constituted to favour the PDP.

However, the 17 parties said they still had confidence in the commission but urged it to review and re-examine its adhoc staff.
Similarly, Mr. Bright Amehule, leader of the PDP group, also accused INEC of bias, alleging that two close relatives of Rivers State Chief of Staff, Mr. Tony Okocha, were its staff.

According to him, the test-run of the card reader machines was influenced by APC.

He accused INEC of dining with the APC and questioned how the commission could use 300 minutes to accredit over 500 voters in the election.