Against the backdrop of issues that characterized the Saturday, 9 March 2019 gubernatorial and house of assembly elections in Rivers State, the umbrella body of traders in the State, Rivers Traders Association, has threatened to shut down buying and selling activities if the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, delays further the announcement of results of the governorship election it conducted.
Speaking to newsmen in Port Harcourt, President-General of the association, Victor Bewkwele, said the current political impasse in the state has negatively impacted economic activities based on fear of the unknown by many.
Mr. Bekwele said: “Our concern is that in as much as we are traders, we hold the economic part of the state and this delay is affecting us.
“There is a lot of fears in the mind of the people, the fear of the unknown, people don't want to go to the market again because of this election. So, we are pleading with INEC to do well to release the results. If things continue to affect us negatively, we would shut down the market so that the economy will go down.
“They should release the results and whoever wins should be declared the winner, because the delay will cause more havoc.”
Meanwhile, traders in the state have continued to react differently to the current political development in the state. Mazi Chikere, a tyre trader in Mile 3 said politicians should exercise patience and allow INEC to carry out its statutory role professionally. “We expect the results from the Rivers State to come like most other states already announced. If the results of 23 assembly men have been released, why then the governorship?”
Another trader, Mrs, Nkoyo Anthony appealed to INEC to move the state forward by announcing results that will truly reflect the electorate decision.
She opined that when the results that reflect the wishes of the people are announced, “everybody will go about his business normally without fear”.
It would be recalled that, the election umpire, INEC, had few days ago informed that results of the gubernatorial election in the 17 local government areas out of the 23 local governments had already been collated in the state, leaving behind five local government areas where the elections had been fraught with irregularities such as ballot box snatching, violence and killings among others.