Rivers Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike and Dr Dakuku Peterside, the Director General of Nigerian Maritme and Safety Agency, NIMASA, have sharply disagreed on the credibility of government elections conducted by the Rivers State Independent Electoral Commission (RSIEC) across the state on Saturday.
Wike had commended security agencies for ensuring that the elections were peaceful by creating the right atmosphere for peaceful polls.
Speaking in an interview after monitoring the local government elections in Port Harcourt and Obio/Akpor Local Government Areas, Governor Wike said that the non-participation of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the elections turned out to be one of the reasons why the process was peaceful.
He said: “Sixty-six out of sixty-eight political parties participated, but no violence. That means that if APC had participated, probably we would have seen violence.
“Sixty-six political parties, no violence, no shooting, nobody has died. But if the APC had participated, they would want to coerce security agencies, they would do all manners of negative things like bringing cultists to shoot. You can see that nobody hijacked materials. Everything has been peaceful “.
The governor noted that the security agencies played their constitutional roles during the elections.
“I have called the heads of security agencies and commended them for a job well done. That is what I have always said. Allow people to vote for those they want”.
He noted that the message to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is that they can conduct credible elections if they resist pressures from different quarters.
“INEC can be committed to do the right thing. Once they build confidence, every other thing will move on smoothly “, the governor said.
Governor Wike said that he was more interested in the peaceful and credible conduct of the elections than anything else.
“We have gone round two local government areas. The elections went on peacefully and they were credible. Election materials arrived on time, except for a few places. Like this, nobody will complain. Observers from across the board have commended the process,” Governor Wike said.
Sharply disagreeing with him, Deputy Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Rivers State, Dr Dakuku Peterside, says the massive low turnout that characterized the controversial local government election was a clear sign that Wike’s treachery has expired and that the people are only waiting for 2019 to boot the governor out of office.
The party stalwart said that several members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) called him, accusing the governor of manipulating everything, including changing the names of some candidates at the Rivers State Independent Electoral Commission (RSIEC).
“Nyesom Wike’s one-party “election” witnessed the lowest turnout of voters in the annals of Rivers State election, just as a heavy downpour disrupted the selection across the wide spectrum of the state,” he stressed.
He noted that despite the fact that only PDP contested the election against some imaginary opponents, the RSIEC still connived with the ruling party to inflate figures even in the governor’s home local government where voters chose to stay at home.
“This is the first time a sitting governor has conducted local government election and his own party members are disenchanted with the process. Very many of his party members were reportedly angry at the way and manner the governor has held everybody hostage.
“The governor himself was so disappointed that he was seen driving round Obio/Akpor local government urging people to come and vote for his party just to prove he has support. Why will a governor be driving around during Election Day? What does the law say about that?
“Even several radio stations that ran live programmes all reported low turnouts in many local government areas, while others never saw materials before the close of time. How better can a people reject the governor? His party members did not even care much, much more other discerning Rivers people,” he quipped.
Dr Peterside, who is also the Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), commended the people for staying away from the election and proving to the governor that his time was up.
“I thank Rivers people for shunning Wike, no one can fight a man of grace. God’s grace will disgrace such person; Amaechi’s grace is disgracing the governor,” he summed up.