• APC’ll reduce election violence to zero—Oyegun
From Tony John, Port Harcourt and Romanus Ugwu, Abuja
Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike has called on churches in the state to pray for violence-free rerun elections on December 10.
Speaking during the 2016 Power Conference of the Assemblies of God Church yesterday at the Yakubu Gowon Stadium, Port Harcourt, Governor Wike said the prayers of the church would help to make the elections free and fair.
The governor noted that it is also necessary for the church members to troop out to vote candidates of their choice, saying Christians must not stay away from determining who will be their representatives.
“I appeal to the church to pray for peaceful rerun elections in our state. I also call on our people to come out in their numbers to cast their votes,” he said.
Regardless, Chairman, All Progressives Congress (APC), Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, has disclosed that the party under President Muhammadu Buhari is putting measures in place to reduce election violence to zero.
The ruling party boss, who spoke in Abuja while reacting to the relatively peaceful poll recorded during the Ondo State governorship election, insisted that the emergence of the APC candidate, Chief Rotimi Akeredolu was devoid of violence.
Oyegun said: “The president believes if the processes of party primaries and elections were free and transparent, elections would be violence free.”
He cited Kogi, Bayelsa, Edo and Ondo states governorship elections as instances where elections were conducted recently in a relatively free, fair and violence free manner, claiming that elections conducted under the current administration have been adjudged violence free that had characterised the previous elections.
“The concern of Mr. President is that we must get to a stage that we must avoid bloodshed from elections. So, for us, he insisted on free and fair primaries and elections.
“Similarly, he insists that elections must be violent free and so when we deploy heavy security presence, there is only one objective and that is to ensure that the voting public are free from intimidation. They can go out and vote their conscience,” he said.
However, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Rivers State chapter, has vowed to resist any attempt to use security agencies to intimidate, harass and arrest its leaders before and during December 10 rerun election in the state.
This was even as the PDP urged President Muhammadu Buhari to call various security agents deployed to the state to order and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to ensure that the elections are free and fair in order to avoid crisis.
State Publicity Secretary of the party, Mr. Samuel Nwanosike, stated the position of PDP, yesterday, while briefing newsmen in Port Harcourt.
Nwanosike, who alleged that attempts were made twice to arrest him at the weekend, by security operatives, stated that he had reported the development to relevant security agencies in the state.
He reiterated the position of PDP for a credible, free and fair elections, but warned that INEC, security agencies should not exhibit any act that would truncate the democratic process in the state.
Meanwhile, Kano State Governor and Chairman of All Progressives Congress (APC) Tactical Committee for the rerun elections, Alhaji Abdullahi Ganduje, has disclosed that his committee will need more strategic planning to win in a difficult terrain like Rivers.
Admitting that Rivers State is a difficult environment to win election, the Kano State governor, however expressed confidence that the victories APC recorded so far would make its mission a successful one.
Commending members of the APC election committees, describing them as great planners, he assured that the mission to Rivers State for the rerun will not be a failed one.