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INEC to kick-start ward-delineation amid protest in Warri





By Sunday Onye, Senior correspondent


Despite protests from a group of Itsekiri leaders, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is set to begin the ward delineation exercise in Warri, Delta State, on Wednesday. The exercise aimed to implement the Supreme Court’s judgment on the delineation of wards and polling units across the Warri federal constituency.


At a stakeholders’ meeting, Professor Rhoda Gumus, representing the INEC Chairman, Professor Yakubu Mahmood, assured that the three ethnic groups (Ijaw, Urhobo, and Itsekiri) are ready for the exercise. However, the Itsekiri group rejected the exercise, citing a High Court judgment that ordered a reversal to the original ten ward structures in Warri South Local Government Area.


The group demanded a reconstitution of the supervisory body, alleging that the current team, headed by Professor Rhoda Gumus (Ijaw extraction), is biased. They called for a new committee to ensure impartiality and fair hearing. Protesters outside the meeting venue carried placards, urging INEC to respect the constitution and stakeholders’ resolution.


The Delta State Resident Electoral Commissioner, Sir Etekamba Umoren, emphasised the importance of the stakeholders’ meeting in implementing the Supreme Court judgment. He noted that over 50 technical officers and support staff are ready to commence fieldwork in the three Local Government Areas from Wednesday to July 27, 2024.