DEMAND FOR THE SACK AND PROSECUTION OF RIVERS REC, OBO O. EFFANGA,

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March 19, 2019.

The Chairman,
Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Plot 436 Zambezi Crescent, Maitama District, FCT, Abuja, Nigeria.

Sir

PETITION: DEMAND FOR THE IMMEDIATE REMOVAL AND PROSECUTION OF THE RIVERS STATE INEC REC, OBO EFFANGA.

1. In April 2018 Mr. Obo Effanga was posted to Rivers State to resume duty as the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) of INEC in the State. A position which conferred on him enormous powers as it relates to the supervision and regulations of all elections conducted by INEC in the State.

2. Mr. Effanga's first official electoral assignment as REC in Rivers State was in August 2018, when he supervised the Port Harcourt Local Government Area (Phalga) 3 State Constituency by-election which was declared inconclusive following Effanga's decision not to declare the result of the election which was clearly in favour of the All Progressives Congress, APC, from results declared at the polling units and Ward levels.

3. Up till the time of writing this petition, the winner of that election is yet to be declared and the seat contested for is still vacant thereby denying the good people of Phalga Constituency 3 their constitutional right to fair representation at the Rivers State House of Assembly.

4. This mindless and outright violation of the will of the electorates was the first overt manifestation of bias by Mr. Effanga. However, as responsible and law abiding citizens who are thorough and unassuming, we gave the Rivers State INEC REC the benefit of doubt, believing circumstances beyond his abilities and control may have necessitated the imbroglio.

5. Again, on Saturday March 9, 2019, Mr. Effanga, supervised the Governorship and House of Assembly elections in Rivers State to yet another inconclusive end shrouded in confusion, accusations of partiality by the opposition Parties and glaring proofs of prejudice and calculated efforts to confer undue advantages to the ruling Party in the State in a manner that completely divested the Commission our trust and confidence.

6. Elections progressed smoothly across the 23 LGAs apart from pockets of disruptions in a few areas except for Abua - Odual Local Government Area where elections where outrightly cancelled by the Commission.

7. On March 10, 2019, The INEC Headquarters, acting on Effanga's report which we have cause to believe was not a true reflection of the situation on ground in Rivers State during the elections, suspended electoral processes after collation has been carried out in 14 LGAs with Engr. Biokpomabo Awara of the African Alliance Congress, AAC, in clear lead as was evident from results collated and some declarations made by authorized INEC officials at the time.

OUR CONCERN

1. It is worrisome that Mr. Effanga in a bid to please Gov. Wike and manipulate the electoral process to favour the PDP, deliberately engaged known card-carrying members of the PDP as Electoral and Returning Officers for the conduct of the March 9, elections in Rivers State, despite several petitions and protestations to that effect.

2. Mr. Effanga has been indicted severally of established cases of gross incompetence, misconduct, unprofessionalism and overt partisanship which are in total contrariety with conducts expected of a public office holder

3. It is highly contradictory for INEC to affirm that elections took place in most polling units across the State such that results were collated and announced in 17 LGAs, yet claimed the exercise was characterized by widespread disruption and violence simply because it was in dire need of an alibi to halt the electoral process upon the advise and recommendation of Mr. Effanga, seeing that the PDP candidate was clearly losing the elections.

4. It is totally misleading and smacks of high level of conspiracy and bias that Mr. Effanga has not made any statement condemning the invasion of the Obio/Akpor LGA result collation centre by Gov. Wike and some thugs armed with military grade riffles, shot at military personnel providing perimeter security at the collation centre, disrupted the collation process, abducted electoral officers to unknown destination and carted away results sheets. An act capable of plunging the State into crisis.

5. Mr. Effanga has been hobnobbing with Gov. Wike and revealing sensitive information to him at the detriment of other Parties involved in the process. This explains why Gov. Wike hurriedly posted the content of the INEC press Statement on the findings of the Committee set up by it to look into reports of alleged violence in the State, on his Twitter handle hours before the said press statement was made public, suggesting that he may have been privy to the content of the statement ahead of time.

OUR DEMANDS

Given the gross misconducts and overt partisanship of Mr. Effanga, we are of the firm view that he has lost the moral footing and the integrity expected of an electoral umpire in line with the relevant ethics and conducts required of public servants.

Consequently, we have lost total confidence in Mr. Effanga's ability to carry out the duties of his office creditably, equitably and transparently without any form of prejudice and compromise.

Accordingly, we demand for the immediate removal and prosecution of Effanga in the interest of peace and harmony in Rivers State as we shall not allow anyone use the Governorship of Rivers State as a quid pro quo for illegal benefits acquired.

Furthermore, we shall not hesitate to explore and exhaust all available lawful means to ensure that our State is freed from the shackles of corrupt and greedy public office holders.

We are confident that this petition will be given due and urgent attention to avert looming crisis in Rivers State.

Chizi Enyi, Esq.

For: Initiative For Transparent Strategy and Good Leadership.

#18 Mission Road, Mgbuitanwo, Emohua, Rivers State.