- Jonathan calls for caution
Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, has condemned the alleged attack on Ekiti State by the Nigeria Police, saying the attack is an affront on the inalienable rights of the people of the state to a peaceful, free, fair and credible election.
In a conference, last night, at the Government House, Port Harcourt, Wike said Fayose was lucky to escape with his life after he was allegedly battered by the policemen.
He called on Rivers people to be prepared to defend their mandate in 2019, and alleged that the Federal Government will apply the same technique on all the states.
He said: “I, therefore, join well-meaning Nigerians to condemn this brazen attack on the inalienable rights of the people of Ekiti State to a peaceful, free, fair and credible elections in the strongest possible terms and warn the perpetrators of the grave danger such actions pose to the survival of our democracy.
“I wish to also draw the attention of the people of Rivers State to the fact that what is happening in Ekiti State is clearly a foretaste of what the All Progressives Congress (APC)-led Federal Government has planned to unleash in our state and, in deed, the entire country, in their desperate attempt to rig 2019 general election and retain or return to power, having performed woefully and lost the support of the generality of Nigerians.
“As a matter of fact, people did not quite believe me when I told the world that the APC-led federal government has plans to assassinate me to enable them capture Rivers State, because they know they have no electoral foothold in the state.
“Today, the whole world has seen how Fayose was barely lucky to have escaped the state-sponsored attempt at his life, with a fractured hand and bruised face because, with him around, hale and hearty, they will never win the Saturday elections free and fair in Ekiti.
“In the face of these challenges, therefore, I wish to call on the people of Rivers State to be prepared to fight and defend their rights to freely and democratically elect their leaders in the 2019 general election.”
He assured the people of Rivers that he will never surrender their mandate, saying he will defend the interest of the state with his life.
He said: “As your governor, I will never surrender your mandate and abiding interest of our state to our enemies who seek to keep us enslaved and plundered even at the pain of death.
“I wish to commend and congratulate Fayose and the people of Ekiti state for standing up and standing firm in defence of their rights to freedom, democracy and good governance.
“I want to assure you of the support of the government and people of Rivers at these trying times. You need not fear as God will surely defeat your enemies and grant you a resounding victory on Saturday.”
Wike said the reasons adduced by the police high command is infantile and shameful. He said no permission is required for a peace rally.
He said: “In explaining the attack, the Deputy Inspector General of Police (Operations), Habila Joshak, shamelessly claimed that they brutalised the governor and his people because the rally and peaceful road walk he was to address and lead was not authorised by the police. This claim is totally rubbish and should be told to the marines.”
Meanwhile, former President Goodluck Jonathan has expressed dismay over the alleged manhandling of Fayose by security agents deployed to the state ahead of Saturday’s governorship election and called for caution.
The former president in a statement by his spokesman, Mr. Ikechukwu Eze, enjoined security personnel deployed to the state to act within the ambit of the laws of the land. He said the presence of armed security operatives is meant to give voters the confidence to come out on election day and vote for candidates of their choice, and not to intimidate them.
He said: “I am appealing to the security agencies deployed to Ekiti State for the governorship election to carry out their duties according to the laws of the land by securing the state in a manner that will enable a peaceful electoral process.
“If it is true that the Governor Fayose was assaulted as reported in the media, my appeal is that such should not be allowed to happen again, since the governor’s constitutional immunity guarantees that he should be given official protection to freely conduct the business of governing the state,” he said.