BY JIMITOTA ONOYUME
PORT HARCOIRT – Governor Nyesom Wike has enjoined Nigerians to prevail on the Minister of Information, Alhaji Lai Mohammed to stop fanning the embers of disunity in the country with his alleged reckless utterance and unfounded allegations against opposition politicians in the country.
Governor Wike who made the appeal Thursday in Port Harcourt while declaring open the 13 edition of All Nigeria Editors conference said there was no need pretending that all was well in the country, stressing that misrule, nepotism, marginalisation and state sponsored repression had continued to threaten the nation’s unity
“Nigerians of goodwill must therefore call the Minister of Information to stop stoking the ambers of disharmony and divisions in the polity with his irresponsible utterances and wild allegations against members of opposition political parties.
We are only pretending we think that all is well with our country. The country is in crisis as poor governance, nepotism, marginalization and state-sponsored repression continue to do violence to nation unity and cohesion”, he said.
Continuing, he said the nation had never witnessed the degree of contemporary agitations for justice and equity going on in the form of call for restructuring, fiscal federalism, demand for free and fair elections, stressing the need for “forthright leadership and consensus building to steer the ship of state from the wrong direction it is headed to safer grounds.”.
“Today, the clamour for political restructuring, fiscal federalism, State police and guarantees for free and fair elections have never been this determined across the country and will never go away. It is becoming clearer by the day that to ignore these calls is pretentiously dangerous to the unity and peaceful co-existence of this country.” he added.
Reaffirming his convictions to continue to speak truth to power to save the nation’s democracy the governor also urged the media to be active in the fight for the common good.
“For some of us therefore, there is nothing nobler than being counted on this path and as long as God gives us breathe we shall remain in the trenches fighting for our democratic rights and freedoms until victory is ultimately achieved.
But, we also believe that this is a fight that should and must be led by the media for full effect and agenda setting. This calls for greater vigilance and courage in giving effective voice to the contending issues and taking personal responsibility for factuality. It can’t be otherwise.” he added.
Governor Wike further accused the Police of allegedly rigging the last elections in the state in favour of the All Progressive Congress, APC, adding that to deepen its alleged biases the Police had refused to investigate what he dubbed glaring cases of electoral fraud against some of its top personnel in the state.
He also said that the Police had allegedly closed its eyes to the case of some members of the opposition party in the state allegedly arrested for printing fake ballot papers for the last elections.
His words,”How else can we situate the active and virulent involvement of the Nigerian Police in rigging the legislative re-run elections that took place in the State in March and December 2016 in favour of the opposition All peoples Congress?
It is not offensively true that the Nigerian police have refused to investigate and prosecute those that were caught and arrested in the D/Line area of Port Harcourt for printing fake ballot papers with INEC’s authentic serial numbers to be used for the December 2016 re-run elections?
Similarly, why has the Federal Government refused to prosecute the State Commander of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), who was caught on tape and seen on national television brutalizing an electoral officer at a collation centre in furtherance of his partisan commitment to deliver fake results to the candidates of the All Progress Congress in the December 2016 rerun elections?
How can we accept the situation where an election tribunal discarded authentic results declared by the Independent National Electoral Commission, which is lawfully responsible for the management of elections, and in its place accepted fake results from the credibility-challenged Nigerian Police as the basis to provocatively award electoral victories to candidates of the All peoples Congress.
Unassailable facts have just emerged about how SARS (name withheld) has become an organize criminal robbery gang in the State, yet the Inspector General of Police would simply dismiss such serious allegations with a wave of the hand because the victims are Rivers people who are not entitled do justice.
We do believe that these recurrent acts of impunity, political intimidation, economic sabotage, state repression, election rigging, and abuse of power are wrongs not only against Rivers State; they are wrongs against the entire country.”
Wike spoke on the successes of his government so far, adding that it was unfortunate that the federal government had left the East West road, Port Harcourt international airport in deplorable state two years after assuming office.
“Why are they so comfortable with the neglect and marginalization of the State by the Federal Government? Why are they not agitated over the poor state of the East – West road, the neglect of our seaports, and the long abandoned status of our airport if they love Rivers State and truly want it to progress?”