Amaechi: Wike’s a Threat to Democracy, Free and Fair Elections

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• Says Ikwerre LGA elections inconclusive because thugs carted away election materials before collation

Olaseni Durojaiye

Minister of Transportation, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi has described the governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike, as a threat to democracy, free and fair elections devoid of violence. He was reacting to comments made by Wike in an interview published in THISDAY, the Saturday newspaper in which the governor said Amaechi and his All Progressives Party (APC) lost election in Ikwerre Local Government, which is Amaechi’s homestead.

Amaechi who is the immediate past governor of the state said the governor lied on the outcome of the re-run elections in Ikwerre Local Government adding that elections in the LGA were disrupted by thugs allegedly loyal to the governor.
The minister further described Wike as a “loose cannon” and lamented that his comments were “riotous,” “disgraceful” and “shameful.”

He also noted that Wike issued death threats to INEC workers ahead of the re-run elections and indeed a Youth Corps member was “murdered” during the elections and blamed it on the governor. His reactions were contained in a statement issued on Saturday by his Media Office and signed by him.

The statement read in part: “Wike’s riotous comments in THISDAY of Saturday are disgraceful and shameful. His resort to blackmail, threats and more violence is a clear danger to the practice of democracy, to free and fair elections in Rivers State. He’s a clear danger and threat to the practice of democracy, and free and fair elections in Rivers State. If he’s not threatening crisis, fire and war against Rivers people, he is orchestrating and organising violence against the people, the same people he swore to protect. This is condemnable, utterly reprehensible and unacceptable”, the statement read.

According to Amaechi, “You would recall that Wike has been threatening INEC and INEC officials. Before the re-run elections, he threatened INEC officials coming to conduct the elections to write their wills before coming as if they were coming to die in Rivers State. Sadly, an INEC ad hoc staff, a Youth Corps member was killed, murdered. This is a classic case of the owl crying in the night and the baby not waking up in the morning. He threatened INEC before the elections and an INEC official sent to conduct election was murdered on elections day, what other evidence do we need to know who is responsible for the death of the INEC official?”

In the statement, accompanied by a handwritten report of the INEC collation officer for Ikwerre Local Government in which the electoral officer lamented that thugs disrupted elections in the local government, Amaechi further stated that “No democracy can survive with Wike’s kind of attitude and disposition to elections. Wike can’t just go on and on threatening crisis, war and more violence just because of his desperation to win elections.”

Reacting to the governor’s claim on the conduct of elections in the local government, Amaechi said “The problem in Ikwerre LGA elections was caused by the same Wike who sent his goons to the LGA collation centre to disrupt the collation. The collating officer for the LGA, Dr. Allwell Egeonu told the press and it is on video, that he was lucky to escape alive as thugs, hoodlums invaded the Ikwerre LGA collation centre in Isiokpo that they were shooting for over 30 minutes and everybody had to run for their lives. The Wike goons took away all the materials.

“According to the INEC Collating official, nothing was collated in Ikwerre LGA. And this man’s story is on tape. He spoke to the media. The Collating Officer for Ikwerre LGA also went to the INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) in Rivers State, reported what happened and also wrote about it to the State REC. A copy of the letter is available for all to see. The video is also available online. Many media houses reported it and showed the video.”

“So what result for Ikwerre LGA is Wike talking about? The man INEC sent to collate the results for the LGA, Dr. Egeonu says there is no result for the LGA because he didn’t collate anything, yet Wike is all over the place disgracing himself that Amaechi lost his LGA.

“He’s all over the place, threatening crisis, threatening INEC with fire and brimstone, for INEC to release a result that does not even exist, in the first place. You can now understand the kind of desperate fellow we are dealing with here. This must not be allowed to continue. Wike cannot hold an entire state, hostage,” he added.