Nyesom Wike, the Rivers State governor has insisted he has no untoward relationship with Senator Magnus Abe as being claimed by some leaders of the All Progressive Congress in the state.
Wike, who was a guest on Channels TV’s Sunrise Daily while reacting to allegations by some leaders of the APC that he is working with the senator representing Rivers South-East in the National Assembly to destabilize the APC, said he was not the one who told the minister of transport, Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi to deny their party members access to forms to contest ward congresses.
According to him: “I have never spoken with Magnus Abe on Phone. The last time I met with him, was when the President commissioned the airport.
“Am I the one who told the Minister of Transportation to deny his members access to forms to contest ward congresses? I have no business with Abe”.
Wike also explained that APC does not have a stronghold in the state but rather relies on security agents for relevance saying that the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP went to court in respect of the APC congresses to get the interpretations of sections of the electoral act.
He said “We don’t have any problem with APC. We have a problem with security agencies. APC does not exist in Rivers State, they only exist because of the presence of security agencies who aid them.
“We are not talking about candidates of APC, but the compliance with the law. APC has not complied with the provisions of the law, can they still participate in the election and a political party can challenge INEC on compliance with the provisions of the law.
“We are an interested party. We have complied with the law and if you don’t comply, you will not participate with us. We went to court merely for the interpretation of the relevant sections of the Electoral Act, whether APC is entitled to nominate candidates without having valid lawful primaries. The issues have gone beyond the internal affairs of the APC because they have not complied with the Electoral Act”.
“Rivers State is PDP. There is no way any party will win PDP in Rivers State. The only thing APC can do is for them to make use of security to manipulate for them. There is no incentive for the people of Rivers State to support the APC.
“All of us know that APC does not want elections in Rivers State. They want to bring security to overrun the state like Ekiti. But we will resist them”, he said.
Wike also stated that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) cannot be trusted to conduct credible polls in 2019 because of the inconsistent actions of the commission.
Governor Wike stated that though Rivers people are peace-loving, they will resist any attempt to rig the 2019 elections in the state.
According to him: “INEC has different interpretations of judgments depending on where it is coming from. When the court nullified the Rivers APC primaries, a lawyer of one of the factions wrote to INEC not to recognize any candidate because of the judgment. INEC wrote to APC notifying them of the outcome of that judgment. INEC merely said they were in receipt of the letter requesting that INEC should obey. In the case of PDP, INEC wrote to PDP in Ogun State, where Buruji dragged the party to court, telling them they will comply.
“When there is a judgment against PDP, there is immediate enforcement. When it concerns APC, INEC says they are studying the judgment. In the case of Ogun State PDP, INEC quickly obeyed the judgment”.
Wike also said that INEC should eschew every form of bias and work with integrity and ensure that the Electoral Act is respected at all times and due process followed in the conduct of elections.
Governor Wike noted that INEC has been involved in several under-the-table actions in Rivers State since 2015. He said that during the rerun elections, INEC connived with the Police to deny the people of Rivers East Senatorial District their rightful mandate.
He stated that INEC and security agencies should commit themselves in working towards credible polls. He noted that INEC and security agencies should sign a pact to respect the tenets of the Electoral Act.
“The Peace Accord is a ceremony. It is a mere public display. The Peace Accord cannot work because they are not sincere.
“INEC and Security agencies should sign Peace Accord because they are the ones who create circumstances for electoral violence. They try to manipulate the process against the will of the people”, he said.
The governor noted that security agencies have played negative roles in over-heating the polity in Rivers State.
“It is INEC and Security agencies that don’t want us to have peaceful elections in Rivers State. Why do they want to capitalize on the claim that politicians are the ones that compel them to act illegally?
“Rivers people are peaceful, the only time we have crisis is when we see the electoral umpire being biased and security agencies working against due process in elections. We will continue to resist”, he said.
“Many people have come to me to have a deal with Federal Government, why will I do that. I will never do that.
“If not because of the way we resist, they would have overrun the state. It is coming to the point where people will say yes we love life, but what is life when we are not free to decide who leads us?”.
Governor Wike noted that the failure of President Muhammadu Buhari to sign the amended Electoral Act is a sign that the President is not committed to credible polls.
He explained that: “I was shocked that the President did not sign the Electoral Act. In my matter, the Supreme Court appreciated the Card Reader but said it was not backed by law. They called for the Electoral Act to be amended for more credible polls.
“He said he wants to leave a legacy of free and fair elections, but he refused to sign the Electoral Act that will facilitate the process. If Mr President had signed the Electoral Act, it would have made it difficult to manipulate. But he refused to sign the law”.
On the termination of the sale of valued state assets, Governor Wike said that the State Government is only implementing the white paper of the Justice Omereji Commission of Inquiry.
He noted that there is no politics of bitterness in Rivers State. He said the only problem is that somebody wants to create a dynasty.
He said: “INEC set up a committee and the committee indicted the SARS commander Akin Fakorede. What INEC should do is to act on the report.
“You have identified that officer who perpetrated the violence and we have another report by the police, signed by a deputy commissioner of police who indicted Akin Fakorede and asked that he be charged to court”.
The governor said that the President by his actions condones illegality by APC leaders in Rivers State.
He said: “I watched an APC rally, the president of the country stood on the platform with Ojukaye who has a bench warrant hanging over his head for multiple murder trial. But Ojukaye went there with police and military escorts when there was a bench warrant on him.
“It is worrisome that today they are giving politicians platoons of soldiers to move around. Assuming without conceding, if things were done wrong in the past, should you continue with them”.