• Rivers gov accuses INEC officials, police of aiding election fraud
Tony John, Port Harcourt
Former President Goodluck Jonathan has said Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, merits the title of Mr. Projects because of his people-oriented administration.
Jonathan said this yesterday, before commissioning the 22.3 kilometres Airport-Ipo-Omademe-Ozuoha Road, in Ikwerre Local Government Area of the state.
The former president said the title of Mr. Projects is not an exaggeration as facts on ground have attested to it.
He said: “The whole country calling Wike Mr. Projects is not an exaggeration. It is not political. The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governors don’t just talk about projects, they do projects.”
He said if any opposition politician refuses to see the numerous projects in Rivers State, it is his (opposition politician) choice.
Jonathan recalled that he lived in Rivers after his secondary school days up to 1998 and noted the outstanding transformation of Port Harcourt under Wike’s administration.
He commended the governor for reaching the hinterland through the Airport-Ipo-Omademe-Ozuoha Road and said Wike deserves the support of the people.
“Whenever Wike invites me for projects commissioning, I am happy. The governor is an example of a good and committed leader. What he has done in three years is quite commendable. The quantum of projects are scattered across the state. Last year, I was here to commission the second Nkpogu Bridge, and, today, I am here to commission a road to the hinterland,” he said.
Jonathan said everyone believes in Wike because of his efforts at projects delivery.
In his remarks, Wike said the PDP governors are committed to the development of their respective states.
He said in Rivers, his administration has executed projects in urban and rural communities for the benefit of the people.
The governor said several projects have been lined up for commissioning in different local government areas, while more would be flagged off.
“I am happy we are delivering projects across the state. This is a continuous process. We started from Port Harcourt and Obio/Akpor Local Government Areas, because majority of our people live here,” he said.
While describing Jonathan as the father of peace and democracy in Nigeria, Wike thanked him for supporting the process of the emergence of New Rivers State.
He said: “We are happy because you stood by us, and we have not disappointed you. This is to let you know that those you supported are performing.”
Former governor of the state, Sir Celestine Omehia, said the Airport-Ipo-Omademe-Ozuoha Road has opened up the area and would improve the agro-based economy.
Commissioner for Works, Mr. Dum Dekor, said the state government, under the leadership of Wike, has constructed the important road with the right drainage.
Meanwhile, Wike has blamed the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the police for electoral fraud in the country.
He said if the two agencies play by the electoral rules, elections will be credible and peaceful.
Speaking yesterday, during a courtesy visit by the new Rivers State Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) of INEC, Mr. Obo Effanga, at the Government House, Port Harcourt, Wike urged the electoral commission to conduct credible polls in 2019.
The governor said conflicts arise from elections when INEC fails to do the right and bow to the pressure of politicians from the ruling party.
He urged the new REC to resist any attempt by leaders of the All Progressives Congress (APC)-led Federal Government to prevail on him to rig the elections on their behalf.
He said: “When you conduct free and fair election, every elected officer would have no choice, but to perform. If the person does not perform, he or she knows that re-election will be difficult.
“You should use this opportunity to avert electoral crisis in Rivers State, by conducting credible elections. We are heightening projects delivery because we want to build the confidence of the people, to let them know that their mandate is not taken for granted. If we are relying on INEC, we will not work for the people.”
Wike said the PDP in Rivers State will not bring any pressure on INEC because of the high performance of his administration.
“We have no business putting you under pressure. Our business is on the field; to work for the people. Those who are doing nothing, but believe they are in power and must rig elections, are those who will put you under pressure. Resist that pressure and conduct credible polls.
“If you rig elections here, anywhere you go, you will not find peace in your life. If you do the right thing, peace will be abundant in your life,” he told the REC.
The governor said Rivers people, Christians and traditional worshippers are praying fervently against election riggers ahead of 2019 elections.
Earlier, Effanga said the commission will conduct credible polls in the state. He urged politicians and other stakeholders to play by the rules and support the process for credible polls.
“We are 248 days to the 2019 elections. INEC is committed to credible polls. But, credible elections depend on so many factors, including the stakeholders. We expect the stakeholders to play by the rules,” he said.
Effanga said the state has more than three million registered voters, while 2,172, 467 voters have collected their permanent voters cards.