We’re waiting for you to repeat Kano magic, Wike fires back
From JULIANA TAIWO-OBALONYE, Abuja
The Chairman of All Progressives Congress (APC) campaign for the December 10 re-run elections in Rivers State, Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, has said having a free and fair election is not normal in the South South part of the country. He however vowed that his team will ensure that things go normal this time.
In a swift reaction, Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, described Ganduje’s remarks as unfortunate, daring him to come perform “the magic he did in Kano State” during the elections.
Three senatorial districts, eight House of Representatives seats and 16 State House of Assembly posts are up for grabs during the re-run polls.
Speaking to State House correspondents after a closed door meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari where the security of his state was top on the agenda, Ganduje said fresh ideas gathered at the just concluded Ondo elections which APC won, would be deployed to ensure victory for the ruling party.
When asked how prepared were his team for the Rivers rerun elections, the Kano governor said, “We are prepared, we just came out of the Ondo elections, we have fresh ideas even though both environments are different we have our own strategies. Like in Ondo State, we must ensure we have a free and fair election. You know in that part of the country having free and fair elections is not normal and we have to make it normal this time.
“We must ensure that there is security so that people will come out and vote. That is our main preoccupation at the moment. We are making wider consultations with stakeholders and we believe we will succeed”.
When contacted on phone to react to Ganduje’s statement, Wike said, “It is unfortunate if he said so. As far as I am concerned, elections have been normal in my part of the country. All we are asking for is free and fair election.
“Is Governor Ganduje speaking on behalf of Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC)? Is he the one conducting the elections now?
“I have respect for him as an elderly person but his statement is unfortunate. When his friend won the governorship election in Rivers State, the election was normal. The election was also normal in Edo State where his party won. We are waiting for him to perform the magic he did in Kano State”.
On why he visited the Presidential Villa, Ganduje said, “I came to visit the president on the security situation in Kano, especially on the fallout from the north western part of the country in which some of the Boko Haram and kidnappers will like to dominate the forest. They want to come back from Sambisa forest so that they can be operating from another part of the north western region in the country.
“So the security agencies are working very hard. A lot of arrests have been made and investigation is going on. We won’t allow them to dominate Kano and make it a launching pad.
As a cosmopolitan city, Kano is an attractive place for such elements to come in. The security agencies have apprehended about three or four of them”.
The Kano governor said the president was happy with the situation report on ground. On the planned Economic summit between Lagos and Kano, Ganduje said a technical committee has been appointed to ensure a successful hosting.
He said “we are examining the business relationship between Lagos and Kano, we are taking advantage of what each state is having and we will invite Mr President to the summit.
“The summit will hold in Kano. The governor of Lagos State has agreed it should hold in Kano. There are similarities between Lagos and Kano, both are mega cities.
“Lagos is the largest commercial city in Nigeria while Kano is the largest commercial city in the north. We are both cosmopolitan and our developmental challenges are the same in terms of providing social amenities, security, urbanisation.
“There is a need to look inward now that money is going down so we need to take comparative advantage of both states , we have farmers and a lot of agriculture production while Lagos is a consumer state and they also process and have highest industries than Kano. This is the kind of relationship we can develop and we believe it will work”.