Doyin Okupe, a former Senior Special Assistant on Public Affairs to former President Goodluck Jonathan, has called on the leaderships of the All Progressives Congress and the Peoples Democratic Party to accept blame for the killings in Rivers Rerun election.
Okupe, while condemning the violence that marred the election, also called on the leadership of the Independent National Electoral Commission as well as the security agencies to take the blame for the deaths.
“The scale of violence that accompanied the Rivers rerun elections is condemnable and unacceptable. All principal participants must accept responsibility for this intolerable acts savagery. By all principals I mean, PDP, APC and their leaderships, the INEC, and the entire gamut of our security agencies,” he said in a post on his . page.
The former presidential aide noted that the destruction of lives and properties that had accompanied Nigeria’s elections was no longer excusable.
He also condemned the reported death of a Youth Corps member engaged during the rerun election in the state.
Okupe said: “As a Nigerian parent whose children will still go through this national calling, I cease this opportunity to call on other Nigerian parents and well meaning Nigerians to prevail on INEC to stop with immediate effect the deployment of our children for electoral services.
“We can no longer bear the pain of losing our wards to mindless acts of lawlessness by thugs and hooligans acting for and on behalf of reckless, desperate and irresponsible politicians and power mongers.
“INEC stands accused in all this dastardly developments. Before going into an election in any volatile area, they ought to obtain full security reports of the area in question and also confer with the police and the army to get written assurance that they can guarantee the security of electoral materials and officers.
“Firstly, it is unacceptable that INEC will still be involved in moving electoral materials all over the place on Election Day. All materials for election must arrive all LGA headquarters two weeks before Election Day.
“They must arrive all wards one whole week before elections, only to be moved to the polling stations accompanied by security in the morning of the elections. All personnel including security should be at the wards at least 2days before the elections and be familiarized with their areas of duty and their security details before the D Day.
“In special volatile areas like Rivers and others as to be advised by police and the intelligence agencies, a minimum of five armed personnel per polling station with availability of standby re enforcement in each LGA quarters. If it is impossible for any reason that these provisions can be made available, elections in such areas must be deferred.
“In the case of this re run in Rivers, INEC the main organ empowered by our laws to conduct and oversee elections ought to have correctly projected these events and prevented it by breaking the elections into two episodes separated by one week. It is not acceptable for INEC, after its publicly manifested incompetence, to just come up after each mayhem, technical and administrative failure, and announce gleefully that the elections are “Inconclusive”.
“If the present leadership in INEC is incompetent, the federal government should not waste time and continue to expose the citizenry to misery and pain. The entire organization should be overhauled. The security agencies must keep their roles to their professional calling. Voting and the processes that are before or after it are not their business.
“Politicians, thugs and all persons involved directly or indirectly in acts of violence should be tried and if found guilty should be sanctioned with punishments ranging from death sentences to life imprisonment depending on their level of involvement.
“For the next rerun in Rivers, Gov Wike, and Amaechi and at least ten of their proven closest aides must be moved out of Rivers State into protective custody, deprived of their phones for a day before the new elections and on the day of elections. Enough of violence in our elections.”