Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, has accused security agencies and the All Progressives Congress (APC), of creating the fertile ground for violence whenever his State heads to the ballot.
In recent rerun legislative elections in Rivers, two police personnel were reportedly beheaded amid sporadic gunshots and machete inflicted wounds.
There were also reports of hired thugs making away with ballot boxes.
Rivers State has since carved a reputation for violence and it is common these days to see the Dailies scream with captions like: "Rivers of Blood".
In a chat with Pulse on Saturday, Wike deflected accusations that he's the aggressor whenever elections are held in a State in which he's the chief security officer.
The Governor who belongs to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has been locked in a supremacy battle with former Governor and current Transportation Minister, Rotimi Amaechi.
There's been no love lost between both key political actors, for as long as anyone can remember.
"Tell tell the Nigerian police, tell the Nigerian security that I want free and fair elections.
"What causes violence? I was here and they wanted to stop the results of my senatorial district from being declared..to manipulate it? If in the course of resisting rigging, they shoot somebody, will there not be violence?
"Why will you carry materials and give to the other party to the detriment of the other party? Why? We said, allow everybody to vote. Now, you use security agencies to hijack the materials, to beat up our agents...Why can't they tell you the simple truth? If they conduct free and fair elections in this State today, who will win? Who is going to lose if there's violence?
"We want elections. Let's see who is more popular. You (APC) don't want election. You want to bring collation officers that will do your own bidding. You want to bring INEC officers to do your own bidding. We have no problem, bring whoever you want to bring, but let there be elections. When you win, you won't blame the person that collated. What kind of system is this?
"The only condition for peace in Rivers is free and fair elections like it's done all over the world".
Wike also told Pulse that his voice in that audio making the rounds on social media; and which was first put up by online news platform Sahara Reporters, was a complete fabrication.
"You look at me and I'll talk to INEC adhoc staff? And they said I asked where the man is from...the person I gave money and I don't know where he comes from?
"Okay, it resembles my voice? I can plant your voice now. Even as I am now, you can take my voice and plant somewhere. Let them bring their own video evidence. We have shown ours where you can see what policemen were doing during the election. I hear they said it was through somebody's phone that I spoke.
"It's so...it's so...the only person I can even talk to as far as INEC is concerned is the or the national chairman or commissioner of INEC. Why will I even descend (so low ) to talk to an adhoc staff? We have over 2,000 INEC adhoc staff. Which one did I talk to? Which one did I not talk to? So, please discard some of these stories".
The Inspector-General of Police, Mr Ibrahim Idris, has set up a panel to investigate and analyse the alleged audio comments by the Rivers Governor.
The IGP enjoined the Rivers State government and INEC to avail the panel with facts at their disposal to achieve a comprehensive and conclusive investigation.
"The election observers, civil society groups, Human Rights watchers and other stakeholders are equally called upon to assist the team with valuable information they may have", IGP Idris said in a statement made available to the press last week.
However, Wike is in no mood to submit himself before a panel. He laughed off the story when put before him.
"Investigate who? Embark on an inquiry on who? (laughter) We have video evidence of police helping to rig the election for them (APC), but they are denying that they are not policemen. Police is denying...something everyone saw the man that came. You are saying they are not policemen".
Wike also said the election was rigged for the APC.
"Let them show us the server where they offloaded the result. Let them show us...let them show us...
"You know, this country, it's unfortunate. Let me tell you why nobody can come after me. Nobody can take my life. Only God can. He gives, he takes. You who is planning to take, who told you you'll be there tomorrow? You were here when people said will rule for many years. But what happened? How did he die?
"You don't know God's plans. People should take it easy. Anything can happen tomorrow. You never can tell. They took my orderly, they took my Chief Security Officer, they took my escort commander..."
Wike also said he has no plans to complete the monorail project embarked upon by Amaechi, citing paucity of funds.
The monorail now stands as a statue straddling a section around government house; abandoned and decaying. Over N40B was spent by Amaechi on a few kilometers of the rail, Wike alleges.
The Governor also told Pulse that Amaechi's claims of building 21 model schools were fraudulent.
"It's a media thing. Let them name the model schools. You don't build schools for political reasons. Anyone who says he left 21 model schools in this State, you have to check the person's psychiatric status".
Wike also dwelt on his infrastructural plans for Rivers, his school projects and his vision to open up the State through road networks.
"You'll help me complete the monorail project", Wike told this writer jokingly after the interview.
Pulse will bring you the full details of the interview with the Governor of Rivers subsequently.