Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers has called on the international community to continue to mount pressure on the federal government and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to ensure the conduct of credible and peaceful elections across the country, including his state.
In a statement personally signed by Wike on the postponement of the elections in Nigeria and obtained by Continentour.com.ng, said on Sunday, February 17, the governor said that the original plan of the APC-led federal government was to isolate Rivers and truncate the elections in the state.
“We very much appreciate the international community and the various country missions, whose spontaneous outrage truncated their original plan to isolate and prevent Rivers state from participating in the general elections with all the other states of the country.
“In the circumstance, I wish to call on the international community and especially our partners in the free democratic world, including the United States, the European Union, France and the United Kingdom not to abandon the people of Nigeria and to continue to put effective pressure on the federal government to allow the rescheduled general elections to peacefully hold in Rivers state on the new dates they have fixed.
“Contrary to the excuses being fed on the public, we heard on good authority that the chairman of INEC was unduly pressured by the APC-led federal government to postpone the general elections.
“Sensing correctly that it was going to lose the general elections if held on the 16th of February 2019, the APC-led federal government ordered INEC to set in motion the process to stagger the general elections by withholding elections in Rivers and other strategic states like Akwa Ibom, Lagos and Kwara to some other dates,” he said.
The statement by the governor added:
“The resistant by the chairman of INEC and the international observers to that evil directive and the ensuing confusion affectively clogged INEC’s preparations, especially in the timely distribution of election materials to local government areas across the country.
“For instance, here in Rivers state, the APC-led federal government deliberately refused to allow the election materials already in the custody of the Central Bank to be distributed to any of the 23 local government areas on the bland excuse that some misguided APC members were demonstrating at the state’s INEC office.
“It is relevant to mention that there was no rational connection between the demonstrations by the APC hired thugs and the overarching national interest to deploy election materials to the local government areas in preparation for the Saturday elections.”
According to the governor, despite the arrival of sensitive electoral materials in the state, certain security agencies frustrated distribution before the postponement.
“Yet, some security personnel, including serving military officers were sent into the Central Bank’s premise by the APC-led federal government to prevent INEC from distributing the elections materials to the 23 Local Government Areas of the state.
“Furthermore, even when the elections was yet to take place, the security agencies, especially the police went about indiscriminately arresting supporters of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Khana, Gokana and some other local government areas of the state in spite of the repeated assurance of neutrality by the acting Inspector General of Police (IGP),” he said.
He accused some people from Rivers as collaborating with undemocratic forces to thwart the peace in the state just as he commended residents of the state for their endurance.
“I urge you to remain calm and steadfast in your belief that though the dark night might seem long, the waiting is almost over as daylight is just by the corner and shall surely manifest in our State and the nation in a couple of days.
“At this critical point of the struggle no sacrifice would be too much to demand of every one of us in our collective quest to liberate our country from the destructive path;
otherwise we may have to live with the unpleasant consequences of our inability to effect the change that we all need in our country for another four horrific years.
“Let us therefore not be dispirited by the postponement but rather be re-energized thereby to actively and enthusiastically participate in the general elections by coming out in our millions to vote for the candidates and parties of our choice on Saturday 23rd of February as well as Saturday 9th of March, 2019 respectively,” he said.
Continentour.com.ng earlier reported that the APC in Rivers had insisted that it would take part in the general elections in the state despite a Supreme Court ruling reportedly barring the party from contesting in the elections.
The apex court had earlier dismissed an appeal filed by the APC challenging the judgment of a high court in Port Harcourt barring the party from taking part in the elections.
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