A branch of Nigeria’s ruling party, Rivers State All Progressives Congress (APC), has said that Nigerians should not think about having an election on Saturday except its candidates in Rivers State are included on the ballot papers.
Director of Strategic Communications for the Tonye Cole Campaign Organization, Prince Tonye T.J.T Princewill, gave the warning on Sunday in a statement he made available to Ripples Nigeria entitled, “Unless we’re on the ballot, the election won’t hold”. He added that he could “still see disaster come Saturday.”
Princewill while reacting to the postponement of the elections nationwide said that he stood by the statements from Festus Keyamo and Garba Shehu, which alleged that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had collaborated with the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to shift the polls date.
INEC had rescheduled the Presidential and National Assembly elections few hours before its commencement from earlier date of February 16 to February 23.
APC, following court judgments, has no candidate vying for position in all elections; Presidential, National Assembly, Governorship and state House of Assembly.
However, the Rivers APC chieftain said the delay not only “exposed the state governor, Nyesom Wike and the PDP’s unholy alliance with INEC, but showed the whole world that injustice to one was a delay for us all because they (PDP and INEC) have offended God.”
He outlined steps Rivers APC had taken to be fairly relisted on the ballot, including the contempt of court proceedings served on INEC, vowing that if APC Rivers State is still “treated with disdain, the said election will still not hold.”
He said, “Even though the postponement of the elections did not come to me as a total surprise, I was still expecting the INEC chairman to stubbornly push on and try to force through the elections regardless. I still see disaster come Saturday. Unless we’re on the ballot, the election won’t be smooth anywhere. The God of Rivers state wants justice and He will get it. We have not even had so much as an explanation from INEC.”
He alleged that the INEC chairman, who was once a subordinate to Wike when the governor was supervising Minister of Education under Jonathan, may have skeletons in his TETFUND closet, alluding that could be reason the former is scared he could be exposed by Governor Wike.
“I had continued to maintain that Wike had since penetrated the judiciary, our security agencies and civil society with our money. Now it appears that the electoral umpire too is no longer immune to the Wike virus too. All dealing with him, do need to be made aware, your temporary high will eventually be replaced by very permanent lows. I’ve seen people vomiting ill gotten wealth to then return it to the treasury. I’ve seen men and women lose their jobs for Wike. It’s not a very pleasant sight. We have two appeal court orders and one Supreme Court judgment in our favour. But if you listen to the Wike paid media, you will think that we lost. Money talks,” Princewill said
On the February 16 postponement, he thanked God for allegedly exposing Wike’s plans to use violence, technology and bribery to find his way, saying that his strategy was predicted, suspected and expected, but now it has been confirmed.
“Wike only has one strategy. Pay for the courts. Pay for the noise. Pay for violence. Pay-pay-pay. If only he had applied this to staff salaries, pensions and our scholars who are abroad, maybe the race would have been tighter. As it is now, even PDP want to get rid of him, if only Tonye Cole’s name and the names of all our other candidates are on the ballot. Wike knows this. This is why he will do anything to prevent it. It’s an exercise in futility for him. We will overcome,” he said.