54 Gubernatorial Candidates under the aegis of Coalition of Governorship Candidates in Rivers State have exposed whay they term the secret moves by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) aided by the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Rivers State, to allegedly scuttle the rescheduled Governorship and House of Assembly Elections in the State.
Curiously, 54 candidates had, weeks ago, endorsed Governor Nyesom Wike as their choice for the election.
At a press conference in Port Harcourt on Friday, the candidates regretted that the plot is coming while Rivers people are yet to recover from the pains and trauma of the violence and bloodletting that characterised last week’s Presidential Election.
Pastor Ihunwo Samuel, Chairman of the Rivers State Coalition of Governorship Candidates who read the press statement on behalf of his colleagues, said the coalition intercepted another alleged plan to deliberately sabotage the March 9, 2019 Governorship and House of Assembly elections in Rivers State in order to advance the partisan interest of the APC, a party that is not on the ballot for the said elections.
Below is the text of the statement by the Coalition of Governorship Candidates in Rivers State:
“We the Rivers State Gubernatorial Candidates of all the political parties for the 2019 general elections collectively express our concern over the militarization of last week Saturday’s Presidential and National Assembly elections and condemn the brazen violence, snatching of election materials, harassment and abduction of electoral officers and the wanton killings of innocent persons by the Nigerian Army in Akuku-Toru, Asari-Toru, Ahoada West, Andoni, Bonny, Degema, Emouha, Ikwerre and Okrika Local Government Areas of the State.
“While the people of Rivers State are yet to recover from the pains and trauma of awful violence and bloodletting that characterized last week’s general elections, we have intercepted yet another heinous plan to deliberately sabotage the March 9th 2019 Governorship and House of Assembly elections in Rivers State in order to advance the partisan interest of the All Progressives Congress (APC), a party that is not on the ballot for the said elections.
“According to credible intelligence, the APC has successfully compromised the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to exclude the name and logo of one of the political parties from the ballot papers for the Governorship and State House of Assembly elections in Rivers State.
“Afterwards, the supposedly excluded political party would proceed to the Governorship Election Petition Tribunal to inevitably nullify the outcomes of the March 9th Governorship and House of Assembly elections in Rivers State.
“We are astonished at INEC motivations for becoming an accessory to such treacherous acts, which offer the most simple but lethal legal ground and weapon to any mischievous person or political party to nullify the said elections and terminate the rights of Rivers people to enjoy the fruits of their votes in the Governorship and Houses of Assembly elections.
“Equally worrisome is the report that where INEC fails to effect the exclusion of the designated political party from the ballot papers by Wednesday 6th March 2019, the alternative plan is to resort again, to the use of the army to disrupt, disorganize and scuttle the distribution of election materials from the State Registration Area Centres to the various wards and units across the entire State.
“Furthermore, in the event that the elections manages to hold, the plan also includes using operatives of the Department of State Security (DSS) and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to harass and force electoral and collation officers to cooperate and comply with the rigging template and directives of the APC.
“Of course, the partisan involvement and subversive activities of the army … and his unpatriotic band of soldiers in last week’s Saturday’s Presidential and National Assembly elections are well known to the entire world.
“Indeed, it is on record that the disruption and snatching of elections materials at Okrika was led by one Captain ….
“Regrettably, in spite of the hue and cry over their murderous activities in last week’s general election, the army is again, neck deep in the plot to unlawfully assist the APC to disrupt and prevent next week Saturday’s Governorship and State Houses of Assembly elections from holding in Rivers State.
“As Governorship Candidates of the various political parties, we are more than committed to the success of the Governorship and Houses of Assembly elections in our dear Rivers State.
“Accordingly, we would neither tolerate, support nor accept any act of commission or omission, deliberate or otherwise, by INEC to either exclude any political party from the ballot papers and or deny the people of Rivers State their God-given rights to peacefully, freely and fairly participate and elect their Governor and State legislators come 9th of March 2019.
“To this end, we call on INEC to remain absolutely neutral in the politics of Rivers State and ensure that none of the politic parties is unlawfully, deliberately or negligently excluded from the ballot papers for the next week Saturday’s Governorship and Hoses of Assembly general elections.
“Furthermore we categorically demand the total exclusion of the army from performing any election duties in Rivers State as we do not want more of our people to be killed in cold blood as they did in last week Saturday’s Presidential and National Assembly elections.
“We join the people of Rivers State and the rest of humanity to say in clear terms that: enough of the killings, disruptions of the electoral process and massive disenfranchisement of the people of Rivers State by INEC the army as they did in last week Saturday’s Presidential and National Assembly elections.
“We call on Mr. President, the Chief of Army Staff and the Chairman of INEC in the name of God to ensure that the army is prohibited from election duties in Rivers State.
“We further call on the APC, which is not on the ballot for next week Saturday’s Governorship and House of Assembly elections in Rivers State, to give peace a chance and repent from its devilish plot to destabilize, kill and destroy innocent lives and property in the State. There is nothing to gain from destroying the State and killing your own people for nothing….”