By Simeon OSAJIE
Gunshots rocked the air today when members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in Rivers State clashed in Port Harcourt, the state capital over the inspection of electoral materials.
Trouble started when the APC Governorship Candidate in the March 18 poll, Tonye Cole and members of his party arrived the office of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in the state capital to inspection of materials used in the last election in the state.
However, Cole was forced to turn back by members of PDP who were already on ground at the INEC office before his arrival.
The situation caused pandemonium as the PDP members demanded the joint inspection of election results and the Certified True Copies of result sheets for the just-concluded 2023 general elections.
The PDP protesters had blocked both the waterlines and GRA areas of Aba road, the two major access points to the INEC head office. No car was able to drive through that stretch of Aba road from the ground lanes, while those on the GRA flyover are trapped because there is no exit route.
The PDP protest was led by the Deputy Speaker of the Rivers State House of Assembly, Edison Ehie who was re-elected in the March 18 election and Samuel Nwanosike, the Chairman of the Ikwerre Local Government Area.
Though the party won the governorship and State Assembly elections, the Deputy Speaker of the Assembly who jointly led the protest, demanded that INEC grant the party a joint inspection of the materials used in conducting the March 18 elections.
The protesters believed that their demand would introduce the level of transparency needed to forestall unnecessary litigations and arguments.
Apart from the demand for joint inspection of materials, some inscriptions on the placards displayed during the protest also request INEC to make available the Certified True Copies of results.