Rivers rerun: Buhari gives security agents marching orders

… ‘Deal decisively with sponsors, perpetrators of electoral violence’

… Wike, Amaechi fight dirty over Saturday’s polls

From Chris Anucha, Port Harcourt and Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja

Seventy-two hours to the National Assembly and state assembly rerun polls in Rivers State, President Muhammadu Buhari has given marching orders to security agents to deal decisively with sponsors and perpetrators of electoral violence.

The president gave the directive in Equitorial Guinea at a meeting with the Nigerian community in that country.

Earlier, Buhari condemned recent political killings in Rivers and also said killing of people over political differences was “primitive, barbaric and unacceptable.

“We will deal decisively with all sponsors of violence. I have given the ‎security services clear directives in this regard.

“We will show that violence in any form will no longer be tolerated before, during or after elections,” the president said at an interactive meeting with Nigerians resident in Equatorial Guinea.

Meanwhile, Rivers Governor, Nyesom Wike, has ordered members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Ikwerre Local Government Area to beat up Minister of Transportation and his predecessor in office, Chibuike Amaechi if he tries to move from ward to ward, unit by unit, to monitor Saturday’s national and assembly elections in the state.

Amaechi and Celestine Omehia, both former governors, hail from Ubima in Ikwerre Local Government Area of the state. Addressing party members during the PDP Rivers East senatorial district rally held at Elele, the governor threatened to deal with Amaechi if he tries to monitor the election.

Wike personally directed the Caretaker Committee Chairman (CTC) of Ikwerre local council, Mr. Samuel Nwanosike, to ensure that Amaechi does not monitor the national and assembly elections.

“Let him move from unit to unit, ward to ward, and see what the governor will do to him that day. Amaechi does not know that he is no longer the governor; he doesn’t believe he has lost Rivers State. Beat Amaechi, if he goes to any unit, he is not the governor, if you see him, sit him down, tell him to sit down,” he said.

According to him, the minister of transportation planned to be a third-term governor through the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the 2015 governorship election.

Describing Saturday’s election as ‘final war’, the governor expressed optimism that the minister would disappear from the state, if PDP wins all the seats in the forthcoming election. In his reaction, Amaechi has dared Wike to fight him and threatened to visit his (Governor’s) ward during Saturday’s re-run election.

Amaechi said the governor was already aware that he (Amaechi) is not a coward and as such, could not be intimidated.

He disclosed that his initial plan was to cast his vote and go back to his hotel room, adding that Wike’s threat had made him to change his mind. According to the minister, after casting his vote, he would visit Wike’s ward and challenged him to fight him. Amaechi said the governor was only trying to use intimidation, as a tool to instill fears in the electorate.

Buhari said INEC would be encouraged to explore the possibility of Nigerians abroad voting in the 2019 general election.

Noting that some African countries have started allowing their citizens resident abroad to vote in national elections, the president said he fully empathised with the desire of Nigerians in the diaspora to vote in national elections.

Buhari pledged to do all within his powers to fulfil that desire.

“I want all Nigerians to know that I respect them and their rights to choose their leaders,” he said

The President also said that establishing a new national airline was not currently on the Federal Government’s list of priorities.

The President declared that his administration’s main area of focus now

Was reducing the level of poverty in the country.

Buhari said that developing the infrastructure needed to boost

production in all sectors of the economy and create more jobs for young

Nigerians, as well as other actions that will directly improve the living conditions of ordinary Nigerians will continue to be prioritised by his administration.

Responding to complaints by members of the Nigerian community about the absence of direct flights between Nigeria and

Equatorial Guinea, the President assured   that his administration’s was working on it.

He also assured that the war against corruption would remain “fearless, relentless and merciless”.

“We will be merciless and relentless in pursuing all those who abused public trust. Nigerians will see how some of the elite conspired to run the nation down,” he said.

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