The Independent National Electoral Commission said that the result of the supplementary election held in Etche, Rivers was announced in Port Harcourt because of security reasons.
The Resident Electoral Commissioner, Mr Aniedi Ikoiwak said on Monday that the result was not declared in Etche but in Port Harcourt.
He explained that certain circumstances made the returning officer of the Etche/Omuma federal constituency to declare the result by simple majority in Port Harcourt on Sunday.
Ikoiwak explained that after collating the result in Etche by 2 a.m., the returning officer needed to consult a relevant section of the law to be able to declare the result.
He explained that the officer needed the law because he felt that areas where the election was cancelled were many.
Ikoiwak said that at 2 a.m., the law department of the commission could not go to Etche with the law due to security reasons and the officer was advised to come down to Port Harcourt.
He said that the officer was equally advised to tell the people, including the political parties at Etche to come to the INEC headquarters in the state at 9 a.m for declaration of the result.
”If that form is stolen, they have to go back for printing of that form before such form can be used.
”INEC does not produce more than one result form for one particular election.
”And so, if somebody has filled his result on that form, it means there is no other form he can use to do any other thing,” he said.
According to him, what we conducted is supplementary election. A supplementary election is different from a normal or rerun election and the issue of margin of votes does not come in.
Ikoiwak said that the simple majority was what the law prescribed in supplementary elections.
”Election was conducted in Etche and collation done in Etche until 2 a.m when the returning officer finished collation and he wanted interpretation whether he should make a declaration or declare the election inconclusive.
”And he needed a written section of the law which permits him to do a declaration and that was 2 a.m in Etche.”
He said that when the returning officer got the section of the law, it was clear that a supplementary election could be declared on a simple majority.
“All the returning officer did was to explain that he was satisfied that he could now make the declaration,” he said.
Ikoiwak said that the returning officer went ahead and declared; there was no collation because collation was already completed.
He urged the public to try to find out things about INEC, adding, ”we have to do our work even though we are working in a very dangerous circumstance.
”No need to say because people are trying to kill you so you will not follow the work according to the rule,” he said.
According to him, we must know that there are law in this country and the section is covered by law; so whatever we do, we should do it based on the law of that election.
”So, what we did was the right thing by declaring, we are not interested in who won, what we know was to declare whosoever was voted for,” he said.
Going further, he also revealed that more than 25 of its staff members were hospitalised due to Saturday’s supplementary election held in Etche.
According to him, one of the victims regained consciousness on Sunday.
”This is one area that Nigerians should ask questions: over 25 INEC staff members are in hospital today because the people of Rivers State decided to either kill or wound them.
”They were all beaten up because they went to those villages to conduct an election.
”Let the people of Rivers State tell us the offence of any of them.
”What did they do? They were bringing materials for the election; they decided to descend on them, beat them up, collect their personal belongings and run away,” he said.
Recall that it was alleged that during the election, some thugs in Etche local government chopped off the hand of an Independent National Electoral Commission’s staff while another staff was also abducted in the process.