Governor Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers State says the renewed upsurge in militancy in parts of the state ahead of Saturday’s governorship and Houses of Assembly elections is as a result of the quest of First Lady, Dame Patience Jonathan, to control the affairs of the state and further mastermind the rigging of the elections in favour of PDP.
Amaechi stated this on Thursday at an interactive session with stakeholders at the Obi Wali International Conference centre, Port Harcourt to brief them on his administration’s readiness for Saturday’s elections.
Amaechi assured the stakeholders of adequate protection of lives and property, following his recent meeting with the security operatives who have agreed to be fair to all during the polls.
He said: “What the security operatives and the state government agreed at the meeting was to design a mechanism on how to stop the attempt by militants and PDP thugs to snatch and hijack INEC materials during Saturday polls. Voters and party agents should not allow these hoodlums take over the election. They can’t kill all of us. We are aware that militants and hired PDP thugs, who claim to be loyalists to Mrs. Jonathan, are planning mayhem. But, the police and the military have assured the state government they will deploy more troops to guarantee safety and protection of lives and property.”
“What I am assuring you now is security to come out and vote and to also say to INEC that we need the result sheets at the units and collation centres. Even if the staff they employed are all PDP members, we still need the result sheets. We don’t want anybody to force us on whom to vote. We want our votes to count. Let the wife of the president remain in her house and not force a candidate on us. The security in our meeting with them assured us that votes will count and I hope they will keep to that.
“The security operatives requested that I should address you and assure you that they will not be biased and I hope they will keep to that. The PDP guber candidate, Nyesom Wike, can go ahead to abuse us as he wants, but the fight to ensure a free, fair and credible election is inevitable. Don’t be intimidated by these forces of darkness. The police and the military owe us a duty and responsibility to create a conducive atmosphere for our people to exercise their franchise. Your responsibility as citizens of this state is to come out en masse and vote.
“The APC guber candidate, Dr. Dakuku Peterside, is our candidate. Rivers People have a choice to vote Dakuku or Wike, but, as for me, we will all vote for Dakuku Peterside. Nobody has the right or the powers to force any candidate on Rivers people without allowing the people to make their choice of leadership. Our votes must count, there will be no bias this time around. The responsibility of INEC is to provide all the voting materials and result sheets to collate the votes at the polling units,” Amaechi said.
The State Chief Executive expressed dismay over the unlawful activities of militants and hired political thugs by the PDP in Ogba-Egbema-Ndoni local government area and ordered the immediate ban of motorcyclists popularly (Okada) in and around the local government until the Saturday elections are concluded.
“We are all aware of the unlawful activities of militants and hired PDP thugs. The killings of APC supporters have become alarming and the security operatives have assured us of protection of lives and property “.
“I want to call on all those living in Omoku and its environs to come out and vote. Security operatives have put in place crack teams to track down offenders. The intimidation by the Police and Military during the last Presidential poll is over and will not repeat again,” Amaechi explained.
He called on traditional rulers, opinion leaders and party faithfuls to assist government sensitise their people at the grassroots on the need for the people to come out en masse and exercise their franchise.
“I call on traditional rulers, politicians and opinion leaders to take this singular message to their people to come out en masse and vote candidates of their choice. What happened during the March 28 Presidential Poll will not occur any longer,” Amaechi noted.
He also commended the State Joint Security Taskforce on the arrest Thursday evening of about five persons with three AK-47 rifles, ammunition and assorted indian hemp at ‘Barracks’, behind Wimpey in Rumueme area of Port Harcourt.