Ernest Chinwo in Port Harcourt
As people and residents of Port Harcourt State Constituency III go to poll today in a bye-election to fill the vacant seat in the State House of Assembly, Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, has alerted the public on plots by some “failed politicians” to import political thugs and cultists to negatively influence the outcome of the election.
He urged leaders of political parties and their candidates to advise their supporters to conduct themselves peacefully during and after the election as the election is not a do-or-die affair.
In a state broadcast yesterday, Wike declared that all those plotting to use political thugs and cultists would be tracked down and made 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 III bye-election is conducted under a peaceful atmosphere devoid of rancour, Wike announced restriction of movement across the constituency between 7a.m. and 7p.m.
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.”
He urged the people and residents to turn out en masse 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.
The governor also said INEC and the relevant security agencies had pledged to conduct credible election under the right atmosphere. He said though the people expected 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 words and expect them to deliver a bye-election in the affected constituency devoid of any electoral malfeasance,” he said.
The Port Harcourt State Constituency III 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.