Declares Friday, March 17, 2023, as a public holiday
RIVERS State government has petitioned the Minister of Defence, the Chief of Army Staff and other relevant authorities not to release army personnel to former Minister of Transportation, Chibuike Amaechi or any politician to interfere in Saturday’s election.
Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike in a state broadcast on Thursday said the State government decided to petition the aforementioned based credible intelligence indicating the plans by Amaechi and the All Progressives Congress, APC, to overrun and disrupt the Saturday elections in Rivers State with army personnel and civilian thugs and cultists dressed in army and police uniforms.
The governor said Amaechi, who alongside the APC governorship candidate, Tonye Cole, were indicted by a Judicial Panel of Inquiry for fraudulently acquiring the State’s valued assets and diverting the State’s $50,000,000.00 to themselves, wants to unleash violence during Saturday election.
“We have written to notify the Hon. Minister of Defence, the Chief of Army Staff of the Nigerian Army, and the General Officer Commanding the 6 Division of the Nigerian Army, Port Harcourt, and requested that no military personnel is released to Rotimi Amaechi or any other politician to interfere with next Saturday’s elections in Rivers State.
“Furthermore, we have noticed that the Anti-terrorism Unit of the State Police command continues to provide VIP security services to politicians in defiance of the Inspector-General’s order to withdraw all police personnel attached to VIPs during the elections.
“We, therefore request the Inspector-General of Police to enforce his order by ensuring that all political leaders are restricted to their polling units and prevented from moving about with police escort.”
Governor Wike also requested the security agencies to arrest and prosecute the following 27 local politicians who are plotting to disrupt the elections with armed thugs, cultists, and gangsters in military and police uniforms.
The politicians are: Dr. Lenoonu Nwibubasa, Bright Nwinyoodee, Barika Bareh, Friday Sinee, Dumbari Deezua, Neeka Ikina, Dr. Gabriel Pidomson, Giobari Poiba, Barisi Bonikoo, Hon. Mike Amachree, Paul Lawrence Paul, Anosike Odua, Mr. Ogbams Ojimah, Kenneth Chinda, Smiles Azundah and Gift Welebe.
Others include, Nwobueze Amadi, Chidi Wosa, Ugochukwu Wosu, Ndidi Erim, Lucky Mmai, Baridi Edmund Katara, Solo Filiman Mon, Charles Anyanwu, Christian Don Pedro, Iworiabo Amachree, and Arokosimiya Ikalama.
Governor Wike said the State government expects the security high command to live up to their assurance of providing adequate security beef-of throughout the State to forestall any security breaches or breakdown of law and order during and after the elections.
“We assure everyone that we will do everything within our power to resist and prevent a repeat of what happened in 2019 when the Nigerian Army was used to rig, kill our people and destroy property during the elections across the State.
The governor urged the Independent National Electoral Commission to guarantee and ensure that next Saturday’s elections are free, fair, and credible, by allowing the electorate to decide their leaders.
Governor Wike stressed that with the quality of progress his administration has delivered in the last eight years, it is evident that Rivers State will be more outstanding and closer to fulfilling its purpose if the current development tempo is strengthened and sustained for the next four years.
To this end, he maintained that his successor should be someone who will consolidate and continue with the new Rivers vision, defend and protect the State’s interests, and propel it to more remarkable progress and prosperity.
“This is precisely what the candidate of the PDP, Sir Siminalayi Fubara and his deputy, Professor Ngozi Odu, have committed to accomplishing with their blueprint for consolidation and continuity. Siminalayi Fubara is a Christian, a Knight of St. Christopher, and an Accountant with over two decades of working experience in civil service.
“He progressed to the zenith of his public service career as Permanent Secretary and Accountant General of Rivers State, where he recently resigned to contest as the governorship candidate of the PDP.
“Siminalayi Fubara’s running mate, Professor (Mrs) Ngozi Odu, is also Christian with an excellent public service career. She is a former Permanent Secretary, Commissioner for Education, and university lecturer.”
He explained that both candidates are persons of impeccable character and knowledgeable technocrats with excellent public service records. According to him, the PDP governorship candidates are familiar with the workings of government, the standard public service rules, and the precepts of good governance, having worked closely with him in different capacities.
The governor harped that this is the first time former civil servants with knowledge, capacity, competence, passion and experience have been given a chance to administer the State and drive its development with their blueprint for the consolidation and continuity of the New Rivers Vision.
“Therefore, this is the turn of civil servants to be at the helm of State affairs. It is a golden opportunity for every civil and public servant, serving and retired, to fully embrace and ensure that the next Governor and Deputy Governor come from their constituency.
“We must agree that this election is about the future of Rivers State. It is about moving Rivers State forward to the next level. It is about advancing the security and well-being of our people. It is about protecting and defending the interests of Rivers State.”
To ensure effective participation in Saturday’s election, governor Wike has therefore declared Friday, March 17, 2023, as a public holiday to enable all private and public sector workers to travel to their communities and vote in their polling units.
Governor Wike has meanwhile appreciated the voters of Rivers State for overwhelmingly voting for the State’s National Assembly candidates of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the last election.
“We are particularly elated with the emergence of my Deputy Governor, Dr. Mrs. Ipalibo Harry Banigo, as one of the only three elected women Senators of Nigeria for the 10th National Assembly.”
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