Frankly Speaking With Jola Sotubo Why INEC should postpone Rivers elections

Tensions have been rising in the state in anticipation of the March 19, 2016 State and National Assembly rerun elections and the situation has been escalated by the inciting comments made by Governor Nyesom Wike and his predecessor, Rotimi Amaechi.

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A war is brewing in Rivers State, and only the timely intervention of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) can stop it.

Tensions have been rising in the state in anticipation of the March 19, 2016 State and National Assembly rerun elections and the situation has been escalated by the inciting comments made by Governor Nyesom Wike and his predecessor, Rotimi Amaechi.

Amaechi and Wike have engaged each other in a war of words so vitriolic that the only thing left is for them to threaten murder.

“Wike is so desperate that he can sell his mother. On the day of the re-run, I am ready for Wike, they should come out with their guns, we are ready for them,” Amaechi said during a radio interview while campaigning for his party, the All Progressives Congress (APC).

“Saturday is your day, come out and vote. They will no longer have the Police they had, they will no longer have the Army they had,” the former governor, now the Minister for Transport, said on Sunday, March 13, 2016, at an APC rally in the state.

In response, Wike fired back asking Amaechi what authority he had to deploy soldiers for the elections.

“Amaechi lacks proper parental upbringing hence his desperation in the political arena. He is a psychiatric patient who was at the radio station abusing people who are old enough to be his fathers/mothers simply because his party lost at the Supreme Court,” the governor said via a statement.

“We will defeat Amaechi again and again. No matter the soldiers deployed to Rivers State, the PDP will win all the seats. Amaechi lacks sound parental upbringing. He has vindicated us when he said that he has been given the army to rig the rerun elections. I know the Chief of Army staff very well. He should not allow a psychiatric patient to use the Army to rig.

“Is Amaechi now the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces that he talks about deploying soldiers? Our people will rise up to defend their votes. They will make the needed sacrifices for their votes,” Wike added.

The governor has also gone ahead to threaten physical violence against Amaechi and has urged his supporters to get involved.

“We heard Amaechi will be moving from polling booth to polling booth. Let him try it. I will show him that I am the Governor of Rivers State. I challenge him to move around. If he dares come to anybody’s polling booth and you see him, beat him thoroughly,” Wike said during a Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) campaign rally in the Ikwerre Local Government Area of the state, according to Daily Post.

“All those who plan to swap result sheets, may their souls rest in peace. Nobody will rig in Rivers State. Anybody who thinks Amaechi will give them result sheets to swap should be ready to swap their dead bodies,” he added during the same rally according to The Eagle Online.

Wike has also issued a statement urging PDP members in the state to resist arrest during the elections.

The situation has led Nigerians to express concern about the impending electoral violence via social media.

 

The most unfortunate aspect however, is that if violence does break out, neither Wike nor Amaechi will be affected by it. Instead, it is innocent residents of the state that will suffer and possibly lose their lives for an unworthy and unnecessary cause.

INEC needs to prevent this imminent war by postponing the elections until a time when the polity has cooled and Wike and Amaechi have been reasoned with by a higher authority, possibly President Muhammadu Buhari.

More than 30 people have already lost their lives to political violence in Rivers State, it would be a great injustice to the state if more people are allowed to die due to Wike and Amaechi’s inability to conduct themselves properly.

Should INEC postpone Rivers elections?»

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