The Governor of Rivers state, Nyesom Wike has reacted to the postponement of the elections by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
INEC announced that the elections have been moved in the early hours of Saturday, February 16, 2019.
According to Daily Post, Wike said the All Progressives Congress (APC) led Federal Government’s plan was to isolate Rivers state from the elections.
The Governor also called on the international community to prevail on INEC and the ruling party to allow the will of the people.
He alleged that the Federal Government pressured INEC to stagger the elections in some states, so it would be postponed.
Wike said “We very much appreciate the international community and the various country missions, whose spontaneous outrage truncated their original plan to isolate and prevent Rivers State from participating in the general elections with all the other States of the country.
“In the circumstance, I wish to call on the international community and especially our partners in the free democratic world, including the United States, the European Union, France and the United Kingdom not to abandon the people of Nigeria and to continue to put effective pressure on the Federal Government to allow the rescheduled general elections to peacefully hold in Rivers State on the new dates they have fixed.
“Contrary to the excuses being fed on the public, we heard on good authority that the chairman of INEC was unduly pressured by the APC-led Federal Government to postpone the general elections.
“Sensing correctly that it was going to lose the general elections if held on the 16th of February 2019, the APC-led Federal Government ordered INEC to set in motion the process to stagger the general elections by withholding elections in Rivers and other strategic States like Akwa Ibom, Lagos and Kwara States to some other dates.
From L-R Akwa-Ibom state Governor, Udom Emmanuel, Governor Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa state, Nyesom Wike, Governor of Rivers state and Delta state Governor, Ifeanyi Okowa (Premium Times)
“The resistant by the Chairman of INEC and the international observers to that evil directive and the ensuing confusion effectively clogged INEC’s preparations, especially in the timely distribution of election materials to local government areas across the country.
“For instance, here in Rivers State, the APC-led Federal Government deliberately refused to allow the election materials already in the custody of the Central Bank to be distributed to any of the 23 Local Government Areas on the bland excuse that some misguided APC members were demonstrating at the State’s INEC office.
“It is relevant to mention that there was no rational connection between the demonstrations by the APC hired thugs and the overarching national interest to deploy election materials to the Local Government Areas in preparation for the Saturday elections.
“Yet, some security personnel, including serving military officers were sent into the Central Bank’s premise by the APC-led Federal Government to prevent INEC from distributing the elections materials to the 23 Local Government Areas of the State.
“Furthermore, even when the elections was yet to take place, the security agencies, especially the Police went about indiscriminately arresting supporters of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Khana, Gokana and some other Local Government Areas of the State in spite of the repeated assurance of neutrality by the Acting Inspector General of Police.
“In the same vein I wish to appreciate the people of Rivers State for the pains you’ve had to endure in the rational and just cause to terminate the APC-led Federal Government and usher in a new era of peace, hope and progress for our country.
“I urge you to remain calm and steadfast in your belief that through the dark night might seem long, the waiting is almost over as daylight is just by the corner and shall surely manifest in our State and the nation in a couple of days.”
CUPP hails INEC
However, the Coalition of United Political Parties (CUPP) has hailed INEC for postponing the elections.
The group alleged that the ruling APC and security agencies had plans to manipulate the elections.
CUPP also warned President Buhari against sacking INEC’s chairman, Mahmood Yakubu.