The Rivers Elders and Leadership Council (RELEC) has called on the people of the state to massively vote on Saturday for the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Dr. Dakuku Adol Peterside.
The leaders insisted that another Ikwerre person would not be allowed to succeed Governor Rotimi Amaechi, an Ikwerre from Ubima in Ikwerre Local Government Area of Rivers state.
RELEC, through its Chairman. Albert Horsfall, a former Director-General of the State Security Service (SSS), Wednesday in Port Harcourt, stated that the upland/riverine dichotomy in the state must be respected.
The Rivers elders were apparently referring to the state’s governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Nyesom Wike, an Ikwerre, a former Minister of State for Education, who hails from Rumueprikom in Obio/Akpor LGA.
“It is the considered directive and advice of the RELEC elders that all Rivers people should vote Dakuku Peterside for governor and accordingly urge Peterside and all other riverine candidates to enter into immediate consultations to collaborate, in order to avoid splitting the votes for single riverine candidate.
“We must not sleep-walk into another avoidable catastrophe. We must ignore anyone or group who tries to instigate us to violence, with the erroneous impression that what we could not do when we were in authority and power for six years, we could do now if we remain in power another day or year.
“Is it not sad and disgraceful that since 1999 when civilian democracy returned to this country, this state has never had a proper democratic election, where-as other states have all tried, successfully and started to do so? For us, it has been the same practice of ‘carry go’; stuffing of ballot boxes; intimidation and violence, and writing false results, after illegal thumb-printing of ballot papers.
“We are pre-dominantly Christians in this state and we must not allow religious politics or politicking to grow in the state. Christ and Christianity is our chosen and cherished belief; nothing must be done to subvert or undermine our own way of life. The rights, traditions and culture of our people must be respected and recognised.
“Dear Rivers people, can we once again remain in opposition to the Federal Government and see our people continuously deprived in a land where we have made so much contribution and sacrifice? That is what we get when we vote a PDP candidate for governor. So, think again, our dear Rivers people,” Horsfall said.
The elders also stated that a successful, but partly rigged election for governorship was conducted in 1998, and a stable administration emerged after that election in 1999, stressing that the sailing was okay and there was a peaceful and trouble-free conduct of affairs in Rivers state throughout 1999 and most of year 2000, lamenting that from 2001, killer gangs were organised by top politicians in the state government, first under a serving police officer, to hunt down and kill imagined opponents.