In the Rivers Local Government Election, where seventeen political parties are competing for seats, accreditation and voting have begun in some polling units.
The only political party not known is the All Progressives Congress (APC), which is the 18th on the ballot.
The Rivers State Independent Electoral Commission (RSIEC) had originally named 18 political parties for the election, but the APC wrote to the commission, stating that it would not be participating, bringing the total number of parties to 17.
When the Supreme Court resolved the party’s leadership crisis, accepting the Chibuike Ameachi faction as the authentic leadership, the party wrote to the state electoral umpire to withdraw from the race.
Meanwhile, security personnel have been sent to key locations throughout the state to erect roadblocks and implement the State Government’s order restricting movement until after the poll, which is scheduled to begin at 5:00 p.m.
Prior to, during, and after the local government election in Rivers State, police officials deployed 17,500 officers to provide protection.
Nnamdi Omoni, the state’s Police Public Relations Officer, clarified that the staff would be backed up by operatives from other security agencies.
According to him, the Rivers Commissioner of Police, Eboka Friday, who is also the Chairman of the Inter-Agency Consultative Forum on Election Security, has prohibited high-ranking individuals, including politicians, from voting with their security aides.
Omoni noted that the police would block all entry and exit points of Rivers and prevent movement of persons on both land and waterways within the state from Friday midnight till after the election.
He appealed to the people of the state to cooperate with the police who have a duty to provide a conducive environment for everyone to exercise their right to vote and be voted for in a free, fair, and transparent manner.
As Rivers State residents go to the 4,442 polling units across the 319 wards in the 23 local government areas to elect their chairmen and councilors for the next three years, the state Governor Nyesom Wike has warned residents against disrupting the election.
In a state-wide broadcast on Thursday, he directed the police authorities to arrest and prosecute anyone caught causing trouble in any part of the state.
The governor said the police and the Rivers State Independent Electoral Commission have been adequately supported by the state government to discharge their duties effectively.
He had also announced the restriction of human and vehicular movement from midnight of Friday till the end of voting at 5 pm on Saturday, except persons and vehicles on essential duties with genuine means of identification.
Governor Wike assured the people that the state government was determined to create an enabling environment for all citizens to exercise their voting right.
He advised the leadership of the 17 political parties that would participate in the election to ensure their members were law-abiding.