The Rivers State governor, Chibuike Amaechi, has accused the First Lady, Patience Jonathan, of being behind the recent upsurge of violence in the state ahead of governorship and state assembly elections Saturday, saying Mrs. Jonathan wants to control the affairs of the state and mastermind the rigging of the elections in favour of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.
The PDP governorship candidate in Rivers is Nyesom Wike, an ally of the wife of the president.
Mr. Amaechi made the allegation at an interactive session with All Progressives Congress, APC, members and supporters at the Obi Wali International Conference centre, Port Harcourt, where he briefed them on his administration’s readiness for Saturday’s elections.
He assured them of adequate protection of lives and property following his recent meeting with the security operatives whom he said had “agreed to be fair to all during the polls”.
The governor 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 the Saturday polls.
“Voters and Party agents should not allow this 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,” Mr. Amaechi said.
“What 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 but 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.”
He added that the security agencies requested he address the APC faithful and pledged their impartiality.
“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 mass and vote,” he stated, urging the electorate to vote the governorship candidate of All Progressives Congress, Dakuku Peterside, on Saturday.
Speaking further, Mr. Ameachi expressed dismay over “the unlawful activities of militants and hired political thugs by the PDP in the Ogba-Egbema-Ndoni local government area and ordered the immediate ban of motorcyclists, popularly called Okada, in and around the local government until the Saturday’s elections are concluded.
Although he noted alleged acts of violence against APC members, he appealed to traditional rulers, opinion leaders and party faithful to assist government sensitize their people at the grassroots on the need for the people to come out enmass and exercise their franchise.