The Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, has stated that the consistency with which the Police sabotages the electoral process in Rivers State amounts to a declaration of war on the people.
In a state broadcast on Sunday on the suspended Port Harcourt State Constituency Three bye-election, Governor Wike charged Rivers people not to succumb to the antics of the police, lest they become slaves in their fatherland.
Governor Wike said: “The consistent sabotage of the electoral process by the Police amounts to a declaration of war against the people of Rivers State and their solemn rights to freely and fairly choose their leaders and representatives.
“Clearly there are dangerous times ahead but we must not give in to intimidation lest we loose our liberties and become slaves in our own land.
“Against the backdrop it is up to the people of Rivers State to choose the option that will serve their interest.”
Governor Wike said despite assurances from the Rivers State Commissioner of Police during the last State Security Council meeting that the police will remain neutral and act professionally, the police on Saturday August 18, 2018, joined forces with APC thugs to disrupt elections.
He said: “As we had feared, the Police failed us completely once again and negated all that they promised. Instead of providing security for voters and INEC officials the Police brazenly colluded with political thugs of the All Progressives Congress (APC) to subvert the democratic process and denied the people of Port Harcourt Constituency III their rights to free, fair and credible elections.
“Confirmed reports from the field indicated that INEC promptly and rightly distributed elections materials to all the polling units within a recorded time.
“However, while voting was underway, armed thugs from the APC led by the State’s factional Chairman, Mr. Flag Ojukaye Amachree, moved freely from one polling unit to the other, violently assaulted voters and INEC officials and carted away election materials, including smart card readers and ballot boxes.”
The governor added: “It is important to note that Ojukaye Flag Amachree who led the thugs is the same person facing multiple murder trial and instead of arresting him as ordered by the trial court, the Police has continued to aid and shield him from arrest and prosecution.
“It is equally important to note that Ojukaye Flag Amachree and his thugs freely and easily overran the entire constituency and successfully disenfranchised the electorates with the active support, protection and guidance of heavily armed police operatives from the Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad (F-SARS) and the Inspector General of Police’s Monitoring Unit.”
He noted that during the June 16, 2018 Local Government Elections where APC refused to participate, the polls were conducted peacefully without rancour.
Governor Wike said that the disruption of the Port Harcourt State Constituency Three Bye-Election was not the first time the Police would be indicted for unconstitutional anti-democratic action during an election in Rivers State.
He pointed out the that following the widespread violence that erupted in the 2016 legislative re-run elections in Rivers State, the INEC Panel Report (at page 66) indicted the security agencies as brazen election riggers and singled out the F-SARS Commander Mr. Akin Fakorede as the arrowhead of the violence and rigging that characterized those elections.
He said: ”This situation is worrisome. If the Nigerian Police cannot secure and guarantee the peaceful and successful conduct of election in a single State Constituency of 8 wards, then what will happen in 2019 when they would be contending with 319 electoral wards and 4442 polling units across 23 Local Government Areas of the State?”
While the Rivers State Governor commended INEC for acting professionally, he berated the police for taking sides and offering illegal aid to APC to undermine electoral process in the state.
He thanked the people of Port Harcourt State Constituency Three for their peaceful conduct in the face of electoral provocation. He said that their action has exposed the true enemies of the state.
“Against the backdrop it is up to the people of Rivers State to choose the option that will serve their interest.
“Finally, I cannot end this broadcast without extending my gratitude to the people of Constituency III who, in the face of brazen provocation by the police and the APC thugs, remained calm and law abiding.
“Your patience has thoroughly exposed the true enemies of Rivers State and by the grace of God, we will defeat them in 2019 for as long as we remain resolute in our determination to defend our rights to be free”, Governor Wike said.