January 27, 2023

Rivers Polls: Anxiety, suspicion as REC swaps INEC EOs


Egufe Yafugborhi, PORT HARCOURT

AHEAD of the general elections, the displacement and replacement of some Electoral Officers, EOs, by Mr Johnson Sinikiem, Resident Electoral Commissioner, REC, of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, in Rivers State, has stirred alarm and suspicion among those affected.

The aggrieved EOs expressed worries, yesterday, that their redeployment from office as EOs was not in the best interest of the state,  as the state was being denied their experience to come to play for credible polls in the coming exercise.

In the new posting memo by Richter Alabraba, Administrative Secretary, INEC, Rivers State, the former EOs were redeployed to Audit and Stores units and to the REC’s office except for the EO for Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni Local Government Area of the state, who retained his position.

Calling for a reconsideration of the sudden development, one of the EOs, who spoke on condition of anonymity, noted: “This is a serious issue that needs to be addressed right now for the coming elections to be credible in Rivers.

“You don’t just wake up one morning to recall seasoned and experienced EOs heading different LGAs. What is the motive behind the recall just a few weeks before the elections? As I speak,  there is tension in the INEC Rivers State office.”

When contacted, Sinikiem, the Rivers REC, said: “When they posted them to the LGAs, they did not come to the press. Administratively, they can be moved to other positions. That is all I can say about that.”