By Chidi Nkwopara & Chinonso Alozie, Owerri
THE Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, has suspended the by bi-elections scheduled to today in different parts of Imo State. The position of INEC, which came as a shock to most Imolites, was made public through a press statement issued by the INEC Administrative Secretary, Mr. Chinedu Evurulobi, and made available to newsmen yesterday evening.
According to Evurulobi, the Commission had assembled men and materials from the various states of the federation and the Headquarters, Abuja and ready to deploy them to the field, adding that “unfortunately at about 2pm on February 17, 2016, some youths who claimed to have come from Okigwe zone, gathered and barricaded the gate of the Imo State’s Commission’s Headquarters, Owerri”.
Continuing, the Administrative Secretary recalled that a greater number of protesters gathered and blocked the office gate with a big truck on February 19, 2016, thereby preventing the movement of men and materials in and out of the Commission.
“In view of the foregoing, the members of the inter-agency consultative committee on election security, were invited. After due assessment of the security situation on ground, they advised that the safety of men and materials cannot be guaranteed without casualties”, Evurulobi said.
Subsequently, the Commission’s Headquarters, Abuja, was contacted and a decision was taken to reschedule the election till further notice, citing breach of peace as provided by Section 26(1) of the Electoral Act, 2010 (as amended) as reason.