The All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate in the April 2015 governorship election in Rivers State, Dr. Dakuku Peterside has maintained his position that the process that brought Governor Nyesom Wike to power was never an election but a bloodbath.
Peterside said he and his party were strongly convinced that if there was a free and fair election, he would have emerged victorious.
Speaking in an exclusive interview with THISDAY on Wednesday, Peterside said though he has accepted the Supreme Court verdict but “those who rode on peoples’ blood to power will never have peace.”
While responding to a statement made by Wike that APC could not substantiate claims of fraudulent conduct during the Rivers governorship election, Peterside said based on the collaborated evidences of witnesses at the courts, there was every reason to believe that no proper election actually took place.
He said the governor’s ignorance of what transpired at the courts was understandable because he never attended any of the sittings.
“I have not had cause to criticise that judgement of the Supreme Court because of my principle and standards. The highest court in the land has made its decision and I stand with them on the decision.
“Even those who won in the Supreme Court know that there was no election. When they sit back in their private moments, they will know that they are simply riding to power on the blood of people, on the graves of people and that they can never have peace.
“I wish they will have peace but the way nature acts, nature rewards you based on your deeds and so if you killed, if you spill blood, if you celebrate victory tainted with blood, you will never go scot free. It is a matter of time. Nature will catch up with them.”
Peterside who spoke on the botched expectations of the APC for a power shift to the minority area, said both him and the party were quite convinced that in a free and fair election, he would emerge victorious.
“But unfortunately, we didn’t have an election talk more of a free and fair one. We simply had a blood bath and so no one can say whether my candidacy would have been an advantage or disadvantage to the party. But I know that my candidacy was widely accepted in Rivers State because I represent three important things firstly; power shift to another side of the state.
“Rivers state is multi ethnic. Ikwere isn’t the only ethnic group. There are many major ethnic groups and there are other ethnic groups too in the state. My candidature represented a change in senatorial district, change in the geo-political divide of the riverine upland and represented those who believed one could lead where men and women of character, men and women who had a vision and men and women who would use power for good and all those who believed in all these things were solidly behind my candidature.
On reports of his criticism of the Supreme Court judgement, Dakuku said: “I have said I do not have capacity to join issues with Supreme Court. So, I will not comment on the judgement. However there are things to note: the Supreme Court earlier backed the relocation of the tribunal from Port Harcourt to Abuja on the grounds that there was violence before, during and after the elections in Rivers State. But the same court now said there was no violence in Rivers State.
“The Chief Justice of Nigeria before the commencement of the tribunals warned against dealing with technicalities; against substantive justice in election matters yet the Rivers State matter was ultimately decided on technicalities. Supreme Court said you need to bring voters from all 4442 units in Rivers state in a space of 30 or maximum of 60 days that the case lasted to prove irregularities. So, even if 20 percent of the people were denied opportunity to vote, it is of no consequence and that INEC do not have power to make its own regulations; thus card reader is alien to law. These are some of the issues that the judgement may have thrown up. Ultimately, I am scared we may be on reverse gear in election management and electoral integrity.
“There are minimal qualities expected of a Governor and of anybody who want to serve in that capacity. What we have in Rivers state today is a state on reverse gear and it will not do anybody any good. We must sit back and ask ourselves fundamental questions about the future of our state.