*declares Friday February 15, public holiday
By PRECIOUS IBINABO DAVIDS, Port Harcourt
Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike has declared that the Minister of Transportation, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi and his cohorts in liaison with unpatriotic military and police officers have concluded plans to bomb INEC offices, destroy voting materials at Registration Area Centres and disrupt the peaceful conduct of the general elections in the state.
According to a statement signed by the Special Assistant to the Rivers State Governor, Electronic Media, Simeon Nwakaudu, dated 14th February, 2019, Governor Wike also declared Friday 15th February, 2019 as public holiday for Rivers people to pray for God’s intervention in ensuring that the elections are peaceful.
In a state broadcast on Thursday ahead of the general elections, Governor Wike said that credible intelligence revealed the unpatriotic plot of the Minister of Transportation.
He said: “Credible intelligence has linked Rotimi Amaechi and his cohorts in the factionalised APC to prevent the peaceful conduct of the general elections in Rivers State with the support of some unpatriotic military and police officers.
“The security officers have been detailed to provide covert and over operational covers for Rotimi Amaechi’s armed militants and thugs on military camouflage and fake police uniforms to bomb INEC Offices , cart away or destroy voting materials at Registration Area Centres, and disrupt the voting processes across the state on a scale that will force INEC to abruptly call off elections on the ground of insecurity “.
The governor said that several Hilux vehicles painted in military colours and gunboats donated by the Executive Director (Technical) of the Nigerian Ports Authority, Hon Sekonte Davies have been handed over to the militants to carry out the illegal anti-democratic attacks across the state.
While expressing worry on the needless threats of violence by the Director General of the APC Presidential Campaign Council at the party’s last Presidential Campaign Rally on Tuesday in Port Harcourt, Governor Wike said the APC Internal Crisis was a fallout of the Amaechi’s love for impunity, arrogance and disdain for due process.
“It is therefore most unfortunate that instead of using internal party mechanisms to settle the festering crisis before it was too late, Rotimi Amaechi chose to act with impunity and is now hunted by the unpleasant outcomes of his arrogance and disdain for due process.
“Even at that , the Supreme Court has spoken and the only rational path left for Rotimi Amaechi is to recognise the fact that Justice has prevailed over impunity “.
He advised him to be political matured enough to accept the consistent decisions of the courts in good faith, eat the humble pie, put his damaged political enclave in order and wait for 2023 elections.
The governor stated that Rivers State is peace and ready for the general elections. He warned against any negative actions that will upset the peace of the state and disrupt her economic processes which are key to the survival of Nigeria.
He said: “I wish to therefore appeal to the conscience of Rotimi Amaechi, as a brother and fellow compatriot, to stop stoking the drumbeats of violence and allow the prevailing peace to continue in our dear Rivers State “.
Governor Wike added: “At this point, let me remind us that these are strange and tempting times in our political experience that call for utmost vigilance and maturity in our response to the willful provocations from the APC and the security agencies, who are clearly working together on a well choreographed script to destabilize the State and prevent the general elections from holding in the State”.
He called on Rivers people to remain peaceful remain peaceful and go about with their lawful activities and refrain from returning violence for violence despite the provocation
The governor called on the International Community to hold Amaechi and his faction of the APC responsible for any outbreak of violence during the elections.
He said: “May I call on the international community, particularly the United Nations, the European Union, ECOWAS as well as the governments of the United States of America, United Kingdom and France to hold Rotimi Amaechi, his cohorts in the factional APC and the compromised security officers responsible for any electoral and or related violence in Rivers State during and after the general elections”.
Governor Wike commiserated with the families of those who lost their loved ones during the last APC Presidential Campaign Rally in Port Harcourt.
He said: “To lose 15 innocent and lively persons are deeply distressful not only to the immediate families but also to their communities and the entire State. These are active and productive people who still have a lot to offer to the wellbeing of their families and the progress of our State.
“This sad situation calls for sober reflection and penitence, especially on the part of the APC, which brazen negligence in crowd control and at the facility was directly responsible for the tragic and irreversible loss of these innocent souls to the cold hands of death”
He thanked God for the violence free political campaign in the state and prayed that the same will continue after the elections.
“I wish to remind us once again, that we are one people with a common destiny. We may belong to different political parties but there is no other State we can call our home, except Rivers State.
” It is therefore incumbent on us as leaders and followers, irrespective of political or other affiliations, to continue to work together in brotherhood to build and advance the progress and prosperity of our State and our people with all sense of responsibility and commitment”, he said.