Would the bitter rivals in Rivers State, the APC and PDP, test power tomorrow Saturday, August 18, 2018, with the bye-election to pick a member of the Rivers State House of Assembly?
The test of power was to take place during the one month old local council elections but the APC shunned the exercise due to its position that there should be no such election in the first place.
Now, both parties are agreed on this bye-election. The die is therefore cast. The incumbent power of the Nyesom Wike administration would jam the self confidence of APC leaders in the state. Ordinarily, the APC has not been trying to unveil its plans until 2019. Now, the dress rehearsal may be unveiled.
Now, Governor Wike has alerted the public on plots by those he called some failed politicians to import political thugs and cultists to negatively influence the outcome of the Port Harcourt State Constituency Three Bye-Election on Saturday.
Governor Wike urged leaders of political parties and their candidates to advise their supporters to conduct themselves peacefully during and after the election. He said the election is not a do-or-die affair.
In a state broadcast on Friday, Governor Wike declared that all those plotting to use political thugs and cultists would be tracked down and make to face the full weight of government and extant laws.
He said: “Furthermore, we have it on good authority that some failed politicians are planning to use cultists and political thugs to intimidate voters and attempt to disrupt the voting process.
“I wish to reiterate that the Rivers State Government will not close its eyes to such thoughtless acts by any person or group of persons to deny our people their God-given right to freely and fairly elect their leaders. We shall not hesitate to apply the full weight and force of government and the law on any delinquent.
“We therefore advise all those who have no business with the election process to, in their own interest, keep their distance from the constituency during the duration of the bye-election.”
To ensure that the Port Harcourt State Constituency Three Bye-Election is conducted under a peaceful atmosphere devoid of rancour, Governor Wike announced restriction of movement across the constituency between 7am and 7pm.
Governor Wike said: “The Rivers State Government has put adequate measures to ensure that the bye-election is highly successful and the outcome generally acceptable.
” Part of such measures include the restriction of vehicular movements in the entire length and breadth of Port Harcourt Constituency III as well as the closure of the following roads and routes from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday 18th August, 2018.
” From Agip junction (Rumueme) through Ikwerre road and adjoining streets to Olu Obasanjo road and adjoining streets to UTC junction and adjoining streets in Diobu areas of Port Harcourt Local Government Area.”
He urged the people and residents to turn out enmasse to vote and defend their votes. He appealed to youths, elders and women to troop out to vote a candidate who will work towards the advancement of good governance in the state.
“This election is very important to the people and residents of Rumuokowu, Ihuwo-Orogbu, Rumuokara-mati, Rumuelechi, Oro-obaziolu, Rumu-enyika, Rumuopareli, Rumuobiekwe, Rumukpalukwuozu, Rumuogbarawehu and Rumuwoji communities because it will enable them to elect who will represent and advance their interests in the Rivers State House of Assembly”, he said.
Governor Wike added: “I call on the youths to come out in your numbers to vote for the party and candidate that can advance your interests in the governance of the State.
“I call on all our chiefs and elders to come out in your numbers to vote for the party and candidate of your choice that will promote and advance your rights to decent standards of living and social security.
” Similarly, I call on our women to come out in your numbers to vote not only for the party and candidate that will advance the interest of women and children but also bravely stand like Hon Boma Goodhead of the House of Representatives did in Abuja recently. Your collective resistance against those who may attempt to rig the election and deny you of your preferred choice is the least we expect of you.”
Governor Wike said INEC and the relevant security agencies have pledged to conduct credible election under the right atmosphere. He said though the people expect nothing less, constituents must remain vigilant.
“The people of Rivers State expect and demand nothing less. Consequently, we take INEC and the security agencies at their word and expect them to deliver a bye-election in the affected constituency devoid of any electoral malfeasance”, he said.
The Port Harcourt State Constituency Three seat became vacant following the resignation of Hon. Victor Ihunwo who has since been elected as the Chairman of Port Harcourt City Local Government Council.