Rivers State Governor , Nyesom Ezenwo Wike has declared that the brazen subversion of the democratic rights of Rivers people and the state violence unleashed across the state during the December 10 Rerun elections were carefully planned by some highly placed politicians and selected APC Governors .
The governor said that the violence unleashed and theft of mandate of a few constituencies by security agencies were bankrolled by the governors of Plateau , Benue , Kano and Bauchi States through the donation of N1billion each by the said Governors .
Addressing the Rivers people in a state broadcast on Wednesday , Governor Wike said : “the brazen subversion of our democratic rights that took place on December 2016, was carefully planned and orchestrated by some highly-placed and desperate politicians from the State in concert with the Governors of Bauchi, Benue, Kano and Plateau States, who reportedly bankrolled the plan with the sum of one billion naira each, at a time they cannot pay salaries of civil servants, let alone embark on development projects in their States.
“If Rivers people could be visited with such a despicably high degree of violence, mayhem and killings by some renegade military and SARS operatives with impunity just to rescue the dying political fortunes of the All Peoples Congress in a mere legislative re-run elections, then we can now begin to imagine what is likely to happen in the State when the political stakes would be very much higher in 2019. “
He regretted the brazen manner that Federal Might was negatively used to ensure the return of APC candidates at all cost . He noted that the people of the state still need to thank God because the negative outcome could have been worse.
The governor said that the state government received credible information on the planned electoral theft and mass violence through the use of security agents , but all efforts to alert the nation were disregarded.
He pointed that that he has been vindicated by the ugly incidents of December 10 where two Senior Policemen , Assistant Commissioner of Police , Steven Hasso and the Commander of Special Anti-Robbery Squad ( SARS) Chief Superintendent of Police , Akin Fakorede and other security operatives tormented Rivers people , killing many in the process.
He said: “They accused us of raising unnecessary alarms when we cried aloud over their devilish plans to use the federally-controlled SARS to disenfranchise our people and manipulate the re-run election process towards achieving some pre-arranged outcomes against the will of the people.
“Today, we have clearly and eloquently been vindicated. Despite the unprecedented deployment of over 28,000 police personnel, three helicopters and 20 gun boats for the re-run elections, we all witnessed how Stephen Hasso, Akin Fakorede and their gang of marauders took direct and complete control of the election process from INEC in the Rivers South-East Senatorial District, as well as in Ikwerre, Emouha and Port Harcourt Local Government Areas, and left unimaginable trails of mayhem, shootings, maiming and killing of innocent people.
“Indeed, never in our history have Rivers people been so physically, mentally and psychologically brutalized, traumatized and denied their rights to freely and fairly elect our leaders by shameless gangs of hired, power-drunk, trigger-happy and irresponsible security officers and their political collaborators. “
The governor added : “If Rivers people could be visited with such a despicably high degree of violence, mayhem and killings by some renegade military and SARS operatives with impunity just to rescue the dying political fortunes of the All Peoples Congress in a mere legislative re-run elections, then we can now begin to imagine what is likely to happen in the State when the political stakes would be very much higher in 2019.
“Nigeria often prides itself as a beacon of democracy and quickly congratulates other African countries for successful democratic elections and political transitions. Yet, the painful irony is that we are still unable to guarantee the minimum rights of our citizens to free, fair and credible electoral processes at home. What a shame!”
He said though the Commander of SARS , Mr Akin Fakorede has been invited by the Police High Command for debriefing, the Rivers people don’t have confidence in the police authority to ensure victims of police brutality get justice .
“Information available to us indicate that CSP Mr. Akin Fakorede, who was caught on camera physically brutalizing a female electoral officer is currently being debriefed by the police high command in Abuja. However, we do not have confidence in what they are doing neither do we expect that the victims of Mr. Akin’s brutality will ever get justice from the police authorities given the levity with which they treated and bungled the case against those that were arrested in Port Harcourt while printing results sheets with which to rig the re-run elections”, Governor Wike said .
He thanked the people of the state for the courage they displayed in the face of state terror .
He said : “We wish to most sincerely thank you all for your enthusiasm and participation in the just concluded re-run legislative elections in the State despite the many troubles you had to go through before and during the elections.
“We appreciate you all for your courage and determined effort to defend your votes and ensure that you exercise your democratic rights to freely elect your representatives at the National and State Assemblies in the face of the malicious intimidation and obvious threat to your personal security.”
He sympathised with the families of those who lost their lives in the course of the rerun elections , praying God to grant them the strength to bear their loss.
The governor said : “We most sincerely sympathize with the families of all those that were deliberately and coldly murdered by the SARS operatives during the ill-fated re-run elections in the State and pray for the peaceful repose of their innocent souls.”
The governor commended Christian religious leaders of the state for their support , assuring them that his administration will ensure the state makes progress.
He said:” Once again, we thank you all for your unflinching support and love, and most especially, our revered religious leaders, for your sacrifice, fasting and continuous prayers, which were unquestionably responsible for the prevailing peace, security and progress in the State.
“We wish to assure you of our continued reverence and readiness to partner with the Church and the people of God to defend our God-given rights and freedoms and move the State forward at any cost. “