- Tension Mounts Over Rivers Rerun Elections
Disturbed by the mounting tension ahead of Saturday’s rerun election in Rivers State, the Federal Government has warned against the killing of innocent citizens, especially members of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC).
Meanwhile, the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) have continued to trade accusations over acts capable of causing violence during the exercise.
The Director, Corps Welfare and Health Services, Mrs. Abosede Okaku, who represented the Director-General of NYSC, Brigadier-General Suleiman Kazaure, during a sensitisation session organised for corps members in Port Harcourt yesterday, said the military and other security agencies had been directed to protect them. According to her, the Federal Government will not take it lightly with anyone that harms any corps member.
Mrs. Okaku implored security agencies to ensure the safety of all the corps members who have volunteered to participate in the elections.
“ On December 10, we are having major election here in the state and you will be involved. We asked corps member to volunteer, we did not make it compulsory. It is only those corps members that volunteered that will take part in the election. Do not be involved in electoral malpractice, else, you will face the wrath of the law.
“Avoid bribery and corruption, destruction of electoral material because they are punishable. The DG has liaised with the security operatives, the IG, commissioner of police, the Army commander, Federal Road Safety Commander and others for your security. Your security is very important to us. We will not allow any attack on our corps members.”
On allegations by Governor Nyesom Wike that the police leadership was partisan and shunned him, the Inspector General of Police (IGP) Ibrahim Idris said he would not respond to any allegation levelled against the force in the media.
Idris who spoke at a meeting with zonal commanders and commissioners of police yesterday in Abuja hinted that the deployment of personnel for the elections had commenced. He directed all the commissioners of police in the adjoining states to be on ground as he would be in the state on Thursday to assess the level of preparedness.
On the Wike’s allegation
that the police leadership was compromised, having withdrawn his chief security officer and other security details, the IG said: “We have very serious security issues to address in this country, I don’t want to trade allegations on the pages of newspapers, we have 36 governors in this country and I think we have good relationship with all of them.”
The APC National Secretary, Mala Buni described the allegations of withdrawal of Wike’s security aides and an assassination threat on the governor as a hoax meant to deflect attention from the reports of an alleged arms buildup and other sinister plots the Wike-led PDP administration planned to execute on the election day.
“Nobody is after Wike. The governor and the PDP’s diversionary and false alarm are hinged on the reality that they will lose the legislative rerun elections once security is tightened. Again, the PDP and the governor are haunted by their horrible past misdeeds. Nigerians recall how Wike, then a PDP minister used federal institutions to harass, intimidate and threaten the life of perceived political enemies, particularly Chibuike Amaechi who was then the governor,” he said.
Ekiti State Governor Ayodele Fayose raised the alarm that Wike “would be placed under house arrest” before the election.
Fayose revealed that an intelligence report from top security sources at his disposal vividly confirmed that if Wike resisted the arrest, “anything may happen to him.”
Speaking yesterday in Ado Ekiti after presenting N93.4 billion appropriation before the House of Assembly for passage, the Ekiti governor noted he had it on good authority that those plotting the nefarious act would not hesitate to kill Wike if he resisted the plan.
He said the alleged withdrawal of Wike’s CSO on Monday was a prelude to the planned intention of those he branded “as potential dangers to the country’s democracy.”
In a statement yesterday, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) said it would deploy 10,294 staff to conclude the national and state assemblies elections in Rivers State.