Rivers State Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike has condemned what he described as the ongoing ‘unlawful’ arrests of PDP members ahead of the Governorship and State Assembly elections of March 9, 2019.
Governor Wike urged security agencies to be professional and unbiased in the discharge of their duties for the peaceful conduct of credible polls in the state.
He spoke during a State Broadcast today, Friday ahead of the Governorship and State Assembly elections in Rivers State.
“We want to warn that such biased, politically-induced arrests and malicious jailing of PDP leaders only serve to heat up the already volatile political atmosphere with heightened tensions and dissensions, which could cause serious problems to the peaceful conduct of the Governorship and House of Assembly elections in the State.
Governor Wike demanded that the security operatives create the enabling peaceful electoral environment for our electorates to come out and orderly cast and have their votes counted in the Governorship and State House of Assembly elections.
The Governor advised Rivers people to note that eternal vigilance is the price for freedom and that tyranny triumphs when the people allow fear to overwhelm them.
He said general elections are about the electorate exercising their constitutional rights to elect their leaders through the ballot. He said the exercise should not be a do or die affair.
He said: “For us in Rivers State, the March 9th 2019 general elections is about electing those who will preside over the affairs of our State as the Governor of the State and members of the State House of Assembly for the next four years from among the political parties and candidates already cleared by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to contest.
“As important as these elections are because they are about our progress and our future as a State and as a people; still they do not call for violence, disruptions, snatching of election materials, harassment of electoral officers or rigging of any sort by any person, authority or agency”.
He said though it is unfortunate that the major opposition party in the State, the All Progressives Congress (APC) is not on the ballot for this particular round of elections, it does not justify any move to encourage violence.
He said: “As democrats, we sincerely sympathize with the APC and its supporters for this political misadventure. Yet, this circumstance neither warrants nor justifies the continuing threat by that party to violate the peace of the State and scuttle next Saturday’s Governorship and State House of Assembly elections.
“That is why we commend the move by a faction of the APC led by the Minister of Transportation to stake its political fortunes in next Saturday’s elections with the candidates of the African Action Congress as the right thing to do instead of threatening mayhem on the State.”
He called on APC and other political parties can render to move our State forward is to encourage all their supporters of voting age to come out to peacefully and orderly exercise their franchise in next Saturday’s Governorship and Houses of Assembly elections devoid of any violence, acrimony or hostility”.
The Governor reassured of the commitment of his administration to meet halfway with all interest groups to reconcile and resolve all contending issues, including ongoing court cases and other grievances so as to foster unity, all-inclusiveness and accommodation in the governance of Rivers State.
He condemned an alleged harassment of Staff of a second class traditional ruler of Okochiri, HRM Ateke Michael Tom, at the palace at Okochiri in Okrika local government area.
He appealed to all stakeholders, including the APC to join forces with his administration as patriots to ensure that nothing disturbs the peaceful conduct of this Saturday’s Governorship and State House of Assembly elections in Rivers State.