Former deputy speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr. Austin Opara, has said Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike cannot be intimidated and harassed from leading the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to victory in the legislative rerun elections scheduled for Saturday.
He lambasted the All Progressives Congress (APC)-Federal Government over its alleged withdrawal of the chief security officer (CSO) to the governor as well as mass transfer of police operatives barely four days to the crucial elections.
“Despite the shenanigan, intrigues and high-handedness of the APC, it would perpetually remain in opposition in Rivers State. We would defend our votes,” he declared.
Opara spoke against the backdrop of the allegation by Governor Wike that his life was in danger following withdrawal of his CSO and other policemen attached to the Government House, Port Harcourt. He also claimed that about 500 senior and junior police officers serving in the state were replaced with policemen from other states for “ulterior agenda.”
Although the police authorities have denied Wike’s claim, Opara said the Federal Government was displaying “utter desperation to capture the Rivers rerun elections at all costs to shore up it waning popularity and battered image occasioned by its inability to tackle the economic recession the Buhari administration allegedly foisted on Nigerians.”
Opara said despite the unwarranted provocation, voters in Rivers State have resolved to conduct themselves with decorum in order not to give the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the Federal Government any reason to render the polls inconclusive.
He said the PDP would win by a landslide because Rivers people would overwhelmingly vote the party to reward Governor Wike for his infrastructural and human resources development initiatives in the state.
“No level of intimidation by the APC-led Federal Government can dampen the resolve of our people who are determined to stand by the governor to lead the PDP to victory. Wike has done enough to win the hearts and confidence of the Rivers people, hence APC is in panic mode,” Opara said
He described Wike as “a master planner and strategist who knows how to win elections in Rivers State because he knows the political temperament of the people.
“As we speak, PDP controls all the 23 councils, occupies all the 25 declared House of Assembly and three declared House of Representatives seats. PDP’s victory on Saturday is assured and APC resounding defeat inevitable. Even the opposition knows it, hence they want to scuttle the election. But they would fail again as we are ready to defend our votes.”
The election to fill the vacancies in the Senate, House of Representatives and state Assembly was scheduled after the Senate threatened to suspend plenary if INEC failed to conduct outstanding elections in the state by December 10.
The Senate, which adopted a motion co-sponsored by the deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu and Senate leader, Ali Ndume, urged the electoral umpire to conclude all outstanding elections, which had kept representatives of Rivers away from the state assembly, House of Representatives and the Senate for almost a year.