• Don’t incite people to commit violence, INEC tells Wike
By Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja
Ahead of the December 10, re-run elections for national and state assembly seats in Rivers State, Kano State Governor, Alhaji Abdullahi Ganduje, has said the leadership of the party will employing best hands to ensure it achieves electoral victory.
Speaking in a brief interview with THISDAY at the national headquarters of APC in Abuja, Ganduje who is heading his party’s campaign team for the Rivers polls, said the reason for the victories they recorded in recent elections was due to good planning.
He said APC had deployed great planners for the governorship elections in Edo and Ondo State which produce good results, adding that the party was strategising on how to replicate the feat in the Rivers re-run elections.
“We shall adopt strategies for Rivers election because we know it is a difficult terrain.
“We won the elections in Edo and Ondo States. It showed that APC as a party is a well established party and having well committed members. We are great planners and we have the backing of the national headquarters of the party.
“Those who were involved in those elections were great planners and people are appreciating what is happening at the national level and what the state governors are doing.
“In Ondo State however, people are not appreciating what the state government was doing and people wanted a change and change has come,” he said.
Asked whether APC is not pushing for a one party state, and it that is good for this country, Ganduje said: “If one party system will evolve in appreciation of what the central government is doing, let it be. But I know that if is difficult.”
Meanwhile, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has warned political actors in the re-run legislative elections in the state, especially the state governor, Mr. Nyesom Wike, to desist from making inciting statements that could derail the election.
In a statement issued yesterday by the Chief Press Secretary to the INEC chairman, Mr. Rotimi Oyekamni, the commission restated its determination to conclude the elections in Rivers State in a free, fair, and transparent manner on December 10.
It appealed to stakeholders to henceforth refrain from making pronouncements that could either overheat the state or instigate their followers to violence.
“The commission hereby restates its determination to conclude the elections in Rivers State in a free, fair, and transparent manner on the said December 10. The recent Edo and Ondo governorship elections eloquently speak of the feat that can be achieved if all stakeholders do the needful.
“However, the commission condemns, in very strong terms, the relentless false allegations, provocative and dangerous comments being made by some political actors, especially Wike against the commission, all of which are capable of inciting people to commit violent acts that could derail the election.
“We appeal to stakeholders to henceforth refrain from making pronouncements that could either overheat the state or instigate their followers to violence. We also appeal to all the political parties and their supporters to abide by all the extant laws governing the electoral process.
“We wish to reassure all Nigerians that the commission will remain impartial and committed to conducting credible, fair and transparent elections at all times,” said INEC.
In obedience to court orders resulting from disputes over the 2015 general election, the INEC conducted re-run elections in Rivers State on March 19, 2016, to fill various seats in the National and Rivers State House of Assembly. Unfortunately, the outbreak of violence forced the commission to suspend the exercise.
At the time the elections were suspended, voting had ended in certain constituencies with the winners declared, whereas elections were also concluded in some areas but collation of results had not been completed.
INEC said in its statement that certain unauthorised persons had put the commission’s officials under duress to declare results at some locations, while balloting did not take place at all in others.
According to the statement by the commission, in an effort to conclude the elections it held a stakeholders’ forum in Abuja on June 30 this year, where it was agreed that the elections be held on July 30, 2016.
However, “following persistent inflammatory comments by political actors in the state, an arson attack on the commission’s office at Khana Local Government Area on July 22, 2016 by unknown persons and credible security reports, it became impossible to hold the elections as planned,” it added.