Being text of a press statement on the 2019 governorship election in Rivers State by former African Action Congress (AAC) Deputy Governorship candidate in the State, Chief Akpo Bomba Yeeh on Monday, March 25, 2019 in Port Harcourt.
The March 9, 2019 governorship election in Rivers State has been lost and won: lost by my party, the African Action Congress (AAC) and its candidate, Engineer Biokpomabo Awara and undoubtedly and overwhelmingly won by the Governor of Rivers State and candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, His Excellency Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, CON, GSSRS, POS.
I was the Deputy Governorship candidate of the AAC in Rivers State up till today, 25th March 2019, when I decided to withdraw my candidature and resign from the party with immediate effect.
As the Deputy Governorship candidate, I ran the general elections with Engineer Awara in good faith. We both emerged from the primaries supervised by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
However, shortly after our emergence, it dawned on me that the AAC was not serious about contesting the elections. The party did no other thing apart from submitting our names to INEC as candidates from the election.
The party did not field any candidate for the National and State Houses of Assembly seats. We printed no single campaign poster nor mounted any single campaign billboard in the State. Neither did we hold a single campaign rally or meeting throughout the campaign period. We never relayed any campaign broadcast or advert on radio, television or the print media. Nobody, I repeat: no voter, in Rivers State even knew what the logo or the AAC looked like.
However, 72 hours to the elections, we received the good news that the AAC had been adopted by the Hon. Rotimi Amaechi-led faction of the All Progressives Congress (APC) for the Governorship election, having been barred by the courts from fielding any candidates for the general elections in the State, except that of the office of the President.
In adopting the AAC, Rotimi Amaechi emphatically assured us that he was going to fund and do every other thing under the sun to give us victory at the polls.
He further disclosed to us that he had already assembled security personnel drawn from the Nigerian Army, the Police, Department of State Security (DSS) and Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad (FSARS) to provide adequate security cover and enablement for members of the AAC and APC to effectively rig the governorship election and have us declared as winners come March 9th, 2019.
The adoption and promise to deliver the AAC, was however, not without conditions that conferred de facto Governor to the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi:
- First, he must be the one to appoint ninety per cent of all political office holders, including commissioners, special advisers and chairmen and members of Government Boards, Agencies and Parastatals;
- Second, he must be the one to nominate and produce all the 23 Local Government Council Chairmen and other principal officers of the Councils;
- We, that is, Engineer Biokpomabo and my humble self must consult and take instructions from him on all financial, policy and fiscal matters, as well as the award and payment of contracts and other financial transactions upon our inauguration as Governor and Deputy Governor of the State;
In addition, I was forced to sign an undated letter of resignation as the Deputy Governor of Rivers State to pave way for Rotimi Amaechi to nominate another person of his choice as the Deputy Governor.
These were clearly slavish conditions for any rational politician worth his name to accept, but I pretended to play along because doing otherwise at that time would have been too dangerous a game for the safety of my life, given Rotimi Amaechi’s unconcealed desperation to remove Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike from office and install his stooge in the person of Engr. Awara against all odds.
And so the AAC went into the March 9th, 2019 general elections as an adopted political baby of the APC and with full confidence that the Minister of Transportation would use his federal might and connections with the army to rig it into victory.
But we are all witnesses to what happened on the day of the elections. Reports received in our situation room showed that despite intimidations from the army, the elections went on peacefully in virtually all the Local Government Areas of the State, except Abua/Odual where the army led by APC thugs prevented the distribution of election materials to the wards and units.
Furthermore, records received from the agents of the AAC also showed that collation had been concluded in 19 out of the 23 Local Government Areas of the State before INEC abruptly suspended the collation process following the unfortunate attack on its State Headquarters office by a contingent of the army on the 10th of March 2019.
The collated results further showed that contrary to the false claims of factions led by the APC/AAC alliance, the PDP overwhelmingly won all the elections in 18 out of the 19 Local Governments Areas, culminating in the declaration and return of the party in 26 State House of Assembly constituencies by the Constituency Returning Officers.
This fact was confirmed on the 13th of March, 2019, when INEC stated, as a matter of fact, that it had in its safe custody collated results for 17 Local Government Areas as well as the declaration and return of the PDP candidates for 21 State Constituencies.
The outcome of the elections on March 9th, 2019 clearly showed the preference and direction of the people of Rivers State. Even the blind can see, and the deaf can hear the echo, that Rivers people overwhelmingly voted to stick with Governor Nyesom Wike for the next four years to encourage him to continue with the good works he has been doing to reposition the State for greatness in the last three and half years.
As a budding politician, I have a responsibility to promote and protect democracy, good governance and the rule of law.
If we all agree that the desperation and failed attempt by Rotimi Amaechi to use the army to rig the Governorship election for his infantile AAC candidate was an affront to the democratic rights of Rivers people to freely elect their leaders; then, what can we say about the organised brutality, bloodshed and killings that he unleashed on the innocent persons in Ahoada West, Akuku-Toru, Asari-Toru, Degema, Emohua, Khana, Ikwerre, Okrika and Ogu/Bolo Local Government Areas of the State during the 2019 general elections?
In case you haven’t noticed, the purported claim to victory at the polls by the Rotimi Amaechi-led APC/AAC alliance vanished the very day and moment INEC confirmed safe custody of the collated results in 17 Local Government Areas and its readiness to resume and conclude the collation process in Rivers State as soon as practicable.
Regrettably, despite the national and international outrage against his desperate conduct and deplorable assault on our democratic rights, Rotimi Amaechi and his APC/AAC cohorts are still bent on subverting the manifest will of the people of Rivers State as expressed on the 9th of March, 2019 by planning to:
(i) again use security personnel to violently attack and attempt to frustrate and or prevent INEC from resuming the results collation process from the 2nd – 5th of April 2019 as already scheduled, and or
(ii) use security personnel to arrest, intimidate and force collation officers to change already collated results in favour of the AAC candidate.
As a practising Christian, I have come to the rational conclusion that the actions and desperate attempts by Rotimi Amechi and the APC/AAC alliance to rig the Governorship and State House of Assembly elections in Rivers are both morally and legally wrong, reprehensible and inimical to the collective interest of the people of Rivers State.
The Almighty will not forgive me if I continue to lend my support to the Rotimi Amaechi’s perfidy against the democratic rights of the people of Rivers State to freely elect their own leaders.
I cannot in all conscience continue to defend the brutality, violence, bloodshed and killings of innocent persons in Rivers State on account of one man’s lust for power and influence.
Power, they say belongs to God, and He alone gives to whosoever He pleases.
God has returned Nyesom Ezenwo Wike to power as Governor of Rivers State for the next four years and there is nothing we can do about it, other than to support him to continue to move our dear State forward.
Therefore, after due consultations with my immediate family, political friends and supporters, I, Chief Akpo Bomba Yeeh, the Deputy Governorship candidate of the AAC for the 2019 Governorship election hereby resign my membership of the AAC with immediate effect and announce my defection to the PDP to join hands with Governor Wike to move Rivers State forward.
May God bless our dear Rivers State.
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A former Deputy National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Olabode George has urged federal government to relax the lockdown it imposed on Lagos State as a result of COVID- 19 pandemic.
George, who made the call in a statement in Lagos, yesterday said the lockdown imposed since March 29 was adversely affecting livelihoods and bringing up security challenges.
He said though government intended to curb the spread of the virus with the lockdown, the directive had left many Nigerians hungry at home without palliatives.
The PDP chieftain noted that there must be a balance between curbing the spread of the virus and protecting livelihoods and asked the government to relax the lockdown while putting safety measures in place.
“Everywhere in Lagos is now locked down. The markets, banking halls, the local grocery shops, the supermarkets, the transportation services are all halted, frozen by the federal government directives since March 29.
“On the surface level, the federal government’s position is to ensure safety, prevent communal spread of the virus and banish this scourge from our shores.
“Lagosians have been staying at home for about a month now. In a largely informal economy where most of our people depend on daily wages, the burden of lack of income is devastating.
“There is a natural growing anger in Lagos as the most vulnerable are ravaged with hunger,” George said.
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