Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike has declared that those who burnt the Bori office of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, are the same politicians who wrote to INEC seeking postponement of the rerun elections on grounds of insecurity.
The governor ordered immediate re-construction of the burnt building and insisted that the July 30 rerun election date should not be changed.
Addressing journalists after inspecting the burnt section of INEC office in Khana Local Government Office in Bori, Governor Wike said the arson should not serve as an excuse for the elections to be postponed.
The governor regretted that politicians who are afraid of the rerun elections would go to the extent of burning down public facility to convince INEC that the rerun election should be shifted.
He noted that no election materials had been deposited at the office, pointing out that the burnt section only served as a hall for collation of results.
“Those who burnt this office were not ready for the elections. They don’t want INEC to conduct the elections because they know that they don’t have the chances of winning.
“They want to use the issue of security to justify the request for postponement. If not, INEC has not brought election materials to this office. What they have done is to scare INEC. ”
“For us, we are not surprised. We know this is what they have planned to do,” he stated.
He advised INEC not to be deterred by the arson, adding that they should go ahead with the election as scheduled.
The governor directed security agencies to fish out the perpetrators of the crime. He advised politicians not to see election as a do or die affair, but submit themselves to the will of the people.
“We will make sure that this does not dampen the spirit of INEC. I have directed the Caretaker Committee Chairman of the Local Government Area to immediately rebuild the burnt office”.
The governor said that the state government will provide an alternative office for INEC to conduct the July 30 election in the area. He said the people have been duly mobilised and they are ready to cast their votes.
Earlier, the Khana Divisional Police Officer, Stephen Okunade said there was no security at the INEC office at the time of the incident. He said the lone security guard attached to the office was absent when the arsonists struck.
He added that the private guard who has been detained only returned while the office was burning.
The governor was accompanied on the visit by the Deputy Commissioner of Police, Mr Uche Anozie and top government functionaries.