As we all know, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has rescheduled the Presidential and National Assembly general elections for next Saturday 23rd February 2019 while that of the Governorship and State Houses of Assembly is now for 9thMarch 2019.
2. Again INEC has given assurances that there would be no further shift and these elections shall hold on the rescheduled dates.
3. The Federal Government has again reassured Nigerians that it would not interfere in the process and tasked the security agencies to remain neutral and deal decisively with any one who attempts to compromise the integrity of the ballot box.
4. For us in Rivers State, this is a golden opportunity for us to partake with the rest of Nigerians to move our country forward and shape a brighter future for our children.
5. No sacrifice is too much to pay to sustain our democracy. God loves us and there can be no better opportunity for us to use the power at our disposal to effect the genuine change that we need.
6. We should therefore be profoundly inspired and motivated by the frustrations of the postponement of the election to come out in numbers to vote for the candidates of our choice.
7. God forbid, the next generation will not forgive us if we fail to take full advantage of the political momentum to reposition our State for greatness in the comity of States.
8. However, I am not unaware of the plot by the All Progressives Congress to scuttle the general elections in the State even as they are the architects of their problems.
9. Indeed, the champions of this evil plot met at the residence of one Bestman Amadi and the former Commissioner of Lands Mr. Ezemonye Ezekiel-Amadi has already mobilized thugs with N10,000,000.00 to attack voters and disrupt the voting exercise in Ikwerre Local Government Area.
10. My office is also inundated with reports of the partisan activities of the General Officer Commanding 6 Division of the Nigeria Army Major General Jamil Sarham and the State Commander of the Anti-Robbery Squad Mr. Victor Akin Fakorede who have signed on to unlawfully deploy military and SARS operatives to actualize the APC’s plot to destabilize the State and create avoidable crisis in the State.
11. We condemn the unprofessional and provocative activities of General Jamil Sarham and Mr. Victor Akin Fakorede and plead with the international community to hold the duo responsible for any election-related violence and or crisis in Rivers State.
12. I appeal to the Chairman of the National Council on Peace, General Abdusalam Abubakar, the Chief of Army State General Tukur Yusuf Buratai and the Acting Inspector General of Police, Mr. Mohammed Abubakar Adamu to prevail on Major General Jamil Sarham and Mr. Akin Fakorede to excuse themselves from elections duties in the State.
13. Truth be told, the Supreme Court has spoken. INEC has confirmed. It is the will of God .
14. There is always another day and as political leaders, we must have the courage to accept the reality, know when to stop fighting for nothing and tell our followers the simple truth, even if it may sound bitter. I would therefore advice my brothers in the APC to endeavor to put their house in order, allow the prevailing peace to continue and prepare for 2023.
15. If you choose to destroy the State or kill and maim everybody because of power or someone else’s ambition to be President, there may be no one left for you to lord over when everyone is dead
16. Remember, the army and the police officers you are relying on to kill your own people may come and go, but Rivers State will always be. Believe it or not, we are all from Rivers State irrespective of party differences and no other interest can supersede the collective interest of our State.
17. Let me assure everyone that the collective interest of our State will continue to guide our actions and we shall continue to accommodate everybody irrespective of party affiliation in our schemes of governance.
18. In conclusion, I wish to remind us that Rivers State is a peaceful State and we should be allowed to peacefully exercise our democratic rights to freely and fairly choose our leaders.
19. In order to ease transport difficulties I have directed the immediate release of 18 luxurious buses to take people, irrespective of political affiliation, to vote in their communities from today 21stFebruary 2019 and return you back to Port Harcourt after the elections free of charge. The Commissioner for Transport will release details of the routes to be covered by the free bus services.
20. Thank you and may God continue to bless and prosper Rivers State.