The National leaders of the All Progressives Congress (APC) admitted yesterday that they came to Rivers State with the full complement of the federal power to ensure the success of the party in tomorrow’s federal and state legislative rerun elections in the state.
This came as the Minister of Transportation, Chibuike Amaechi, described the polls as “the election of our lives” and called on APC members and supporters to defend themselves if attacked on Election Day.
Addressing an APC mega campaign rally for the polls at the Yakubu Gowon Stadium, Port Harcourt yesterday, the National Chairman of the party, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, declared that the party brought the federal might to Rivers State ahead of tomorrow’s polls.
No fewer than 10 state governors, ministers, members of the National Assembly and other party bigwigs attended the rally.
APC state governors that attended the rally included Abdullahi Ganduje (Kano), Ibikunle Amosun (Ogun), Simon Lalong (Plateau) and Mohammed Abubakar (Bauchi).
Also present were Governors Samuel Ortom (Benue), Godwin Obaseki (Edo) and Aminu Tambuwal (Sokoto), as well as Ondo State Governor-elect, Rotimi Akeredolu, and his deputy, Hon. Ajayi.
Odigie-Oyegun said: “As you can see, we came in full force; the whole federal might is here. We have the governors here today. Our senators and other members of the National Assembly are here today. Our women leaders are here today to pass one message.
“That is because we respect you, our members in Rivers State. We respect the courage of our members in Rivers State; we are behind you. We want to let you know that we have heard your cries; we have seen your anguish.
“The message is simple: enough is enough, enough is enough. This is the beginning of the rescue mission in Rivers State.”
He stated that the situation of things in Rivers State had degenerated under the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)-led administration and said the APC would come to the rescue of the people.
“We now have a blood-thirsty regime in Rivers State. I am glad with what I am hearing: if they push you, push them. If they snatch a result sheet, snatch it back,” he said.
Also addressing the rally, Amaechi called on members of the APC not to allow members of the PDP to intimidate them during the rerun elections.
He said: “This is the election of our lives. Before, I used to tell you, please, don’t fight. What I will tell you today is do not kill anybody but do not get killed. My friend in the army says if you hear the sound of a gun, it is not meant for you. The implication therefore is that if you allow them to shoot, you will die.
“It is not only them that have the right to life, you also have a right to life. I don’t want to hear that they shot me and took away result sheets. If they take result sheets from you, collect it back from them. You know I have never said anything like this before.”
Also speaking, the Chairman of the National Legislative Rerun Election Campaign Committee of the APC and Kano Governor, Alhaji Abdullahi Ganduje, described Rivers State as the most corrupt in the country, adding that the APC was bent on changing the status.
“There is no peace in Rivers State. Peace is lacking, peace is dead. Rivers State is the centre, nucleus of corruption in Nigeria. That is why you have to vote APC candidates to apply the brakes to the drama that is taking place in the Rivers State Government House,” he said.
He also called on APC supporters to defend themselves during and after the elections.
But in a swift reaction, the Rivers State Government declared Ganduje persona non grata and called on the Inspector General of Police (IG) to remove him from the state.
The state Commissioner for Information and Communication, Dr. Austin Tam-George, condemned Ganduje for inciting violence in Rivers State, during his speech at the APC campaign rally in Port Harcourt.
He said Ganduje had charged APC supporters to resort to violence during the rerun elections in Rivers State tomorrow, quoting him as saying: “If they shoot you, take cover and shoot them.”
The commissioner added: “This is a shameful and egregious invitation to violence by the Kano State governor.”
He called on the IG to immediately remove the Kano governor from Rivers State in order to forestall the breakdown of law and order in the state.
He also blamed Amaechi for importing thugs and Boko Haram fighters disguised as APC supporters to cause mayhem in Rivers State.
The commissioner urged the people of Rivers State to resist any acts of electoral fraud by the police, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and APC before, during and after the elections tomorrow. 28,000 Police officers were Deployed for Polls.