AHEAD of the governorship and state Houses of Assembly elections, the Rivers State Governor, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi, has accused the wife of the President, Mrs. Patience Jonathan, of pressurising the Independent National Electoral Commission and security agencies to rig the governorship election in the state.
Amaechi, who observed that President Goodluck Jonathan’s wife was in Okrika, her hometown, for the governorship election, hoped that there would not be a repeat of alleged electoral malpractices that happened on March 28 in the state.
The governor, who spoke during a stakeholders’ meeting on Thursday in Port Harcourt, said the Resident Electoral Commissioner in the state, Mrs. Gesila Khan, already had a mindset of delivering the state to the Peoples Democratic Party.
He said the governorship candidate of the PDP, Chief Nyesom Wike, must answer for the killings in Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni Local Government Area.
Amaechi insisted that INEC must make available original result sheets at all polling units and called on the people of the state not to allow the election to hold without result sheets.
The governor said, “The reason for this meeting is to let you know that what happened on the 28th of March, 2015 may or may not repeat itself. Few days ago, I said it would not repeat itself. But as at this morning, there are enormous pressure on the security operatives by the wife of the President.
“There is also enormous pressure on INEC by the wife of the President. I hope that they will not repeat the hijacking of results that we witnessed on March 28. In most of the local government areas, if not all, there were no result sheets. This time around, I hope they will bring the result sheets to the different units. I hope they will not forget the result sheets at the collation centre.
“For me as the governor of Rivers State, what is material to me is that we want to see the result sheets. We want to ensure that as we vote, our votes will count. Most of you have been asking this question; who will take over from me? I told you that we don’t want anybody to force a candidate on us.
“We don’t want people to be made governor because they want to share our resources. That is not what we want. We want to be allowed to vote and let our votes be counted. Let the wife of the President stay in her house. She should not force a candidate on us.
“They should tell her that security agencies have assured us that they will allow votes to count. I assure you that the security agencies will not be biased and I hope that the security agencies will keep to that. I hope that the woman posted here as the Resident Electoral Commission would know that her responsibility is not to allow anybody to see the result sheets.”
Calling on the electorate not to allow anybody to intimidate them, Amaechi explained that communities should use the Ubima (his community) formula by locking down their villages to ensure that nobody would steal their votes.
He warned that INEC should not endanger the lives of its members of staff by deliberately withholding the results sheets or failing to do what was expected of them according to the law.
Amaechi urged communities not to allow any INEC official to leave until the right actions were taken in order to ensure a free and fair election.
“Anywhere there is no result sheets, don’t allow the election to hold. Basically, I don’t mind the fact that almost all those employed by INEC in the state; collation officers, electoral officers, are PDP members.
“There will be no boycott, there will be no refusal to vote. I hope only the right persons will be there to do the job and the result sheets will be available. If not, the Rivers State Government cannot determine what happens in the communities,” he added.
The governor, however, announced the ban on the use of commercial motorcycles in areas such as Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni Local Government Area, Abua/Odual, Ahoada East and Ahoada West, described as hot spots, until after the elections.
Cautioning those in the habit of fomenting trouble in the state to know that power had changed hands at the centre, Amaechi restated that those involved in politically-motivated killings in the state would face the law before the end of his administration.
He disclosed that three persons had been arrested in connection with politically-motivated killings in the state, adding that about 400 All Progressives Congress members that were arrested on trumped-up charges had been released.