Amaechi defends RISIEC on LG polls

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Rivers State Governor, Rotimi Amaechi, has said that the recent decision by the State Independent Electoral Commission to conduct local government elections in the state in May 2015 was in line with the law.

Amaechi, who spoke with newsmen at the Government House in Port Harcourt, said since RISIEC was acting according to the law, there should be nothing to stop council elections in Rivers.

It will be recalled that the state electoral commission had announced that local government elections would hold on May 23, 2015.

But the state Peoples Democratic Party has kicked against the announcement by RISIEC, saying the commission did not give 90 days notice as prescribed by the law.

However, Amaechi argued that since the PDP was not comfortable with RISIEC’s decision to hold council elections, the party should go to a state High Court.

Amaechi cautioned that only the state High court would entertain such a matter, adding that a Federal High Court has no jurisdiction on matters concerning local government elections.

“If they are complying with the law then they are in order, if they are not complying with the law then they (PDP) should go to the State High Court and stop it.

“If they go to the Federal High Court, they should know that the Federal High Court has no jurisdiction and I hope that everybody will be careful this time because the Federal Government will be serious with anybody who decides to manipulate the system,” the governor said.

Amaechi reasoned that the elections would allow the electorate to choose who would govern them, maintaining that the people of the state were not allowed to choose thier leaders in the 2015 general election.

“You know in the last (general) elections, the people did not choose who will govern them. But this time, the people will be allowed to choose who will govern them as chairmen of council and councillors.

“I don’t see how they can stop the local government council elections from going on,” Amaechi added.

The governor dismissed claims that the All Progressives Congress was having internal wranglings over ministerial appointments and pointed out that the party had yet to conclude on the matter.

He said, “There has not been any crisis whatsoever since the elections. There has been only one meeting that was held that has to do with zoning of offices and they said the elders should go and zone the offices and the elders are yet to return to the party. So all you are hearing are speculations.”

He agreed with the position of President-elect, General Muhammadu Buhari (retd), that ministerial appointees must declare their assets.

“They (ministerial appointees) don’t have any choice. If you want to serve in the new administration you will have to abide by the rule to publicly declare your assets,” Amaechi said.

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