From Dianabasi Effiong
Rivers’ youth leaders on Thursday in Port Harcourt expressed misgivings about what they called unsavoury political state of affairs in the State and appealed to perpetrators to let peace prevail.
The “Rivers state Youth Leaders Assembly’’ (RSYLA), an amalgam of youth leaders across the 23 Local Government Areas of Rivers, made members’ views known in a statement on Thursday in Port Harcourt.
According to them the inability of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to conclude the March 9 Gubernatorial and State House of Assembly election has caused unsavoury political inertia in Rivers.
They also alleged that violence and intimidation during the said election were brought about by a well-known politician and the military in the state.
“From our findings, the orgy of violence and military intimidation in the state was orchestrated by the Transportation Minister Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi.’’
According to the group Amaechi “is still nursing the ambition of ruling Rivers state by installing his puppets in order to rule by proxy’’.
“This we find unacceptable, reprehensible and definitely will not work in Rivers state.’’
The group also condemned “ the malicious and ill-motivated calls for the redeployment of the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) in Rivers, Mr Obo Effanga’’.
They stated that Effanga played the constitutional role allotted to him “regardless of the likes of Amaechi and his co-travellers intimidating Obo Effanga and his staff with wild abandon’’.
“We commend him for maintaining his integrity and out rightly refusing to do the bidding of Amaechi’s meticulously orchestrated script to win election by all means.
“The state REC, all things considered, deserves commendation for maintaining that the enemies of the state cannot coerce their way to power through the back door.
“Obo Effanga should be allowed to collate the Rivers state results and announce the winner without fear or favour,’’ the group stated.
The group also condemned the “illegal arrest and intimidation by the military perpetrated against PDP stalwarts in different parts of the state’’.
They further alleged: “It is most galling and offensive that up till now, innocent PDP stalwarts are still languishing in the custody of the military without any verifiable reason.
“More damning and painful is the way and manner the military killed approximately 40 persons in Rivers state all in their obnoxious bid to assist the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi take over this state.
“For God’s sake, let us pause for minute, is the life of one Rivers state person no longer valuable, that stalwarts of the APC would collude with the military to kill people at will?
“In Abonnema alone, about 40 people were killed because they decided to resist the attempt by APC stalwarts to run unpopular candidates down their throat.
“We call on the authorities investigating the violence visited on Rivers people, that all those involved in this near genocide should be brought to book. In international law these are crimes against humanity.
They also stated that it was unpatriotic for Amaechi and his supporters to call for the cancellation of the March 9 elections.
“We state unequivocally that according to the INEC REC Obo Effanga, results of 17 LGA’s have been collated and are in INEC’s safe custody.
“ We do not understand the motive or the logic of the anti-democratic forces rooting for outright cancellation of an election that is near conclusion.
“We condemn these nondescript elements and call upon the police to investigate and arrest these elements since they are on a mission to truncate our democracy.
The RSYLA also called for the redeployment of two security officers in the state over what the group alleged to be unprofessional conduct.
“Based on the unprofessional roles played these two officers, we most urgently call for the redeployment of Major General Jamil Sahamand Akin Fakorede out of Rivers state as reports from the election fields seriously indicts them.
“Rivers people and youths are not comfortable with their roles and ask the COAS and IGP to act decisively.
“We wish to use this medium to call on INEC to request for the redeployment on Nigerian Navy or Airforce to replace the Nigeria Army if there is any further elections as we have lost confidence in the Nigerian Army especially the officers from the 6 Division.’’
They also called on INEC to ignore the call for the redeployment of REC for Rivers, Obo Effanga.
“Obviously, those who claim to be protesting are hired by the enemies of the state to embark on that fruitless mission.
“Their spurious reasons are shallow, unsubstantiated and meaningless.
The group also charged Effanga to continue with the collation process without further delay as such delays would not be acceptable to them.
“We are calling on the Nigerian Army and Police to apologise to the good people of Rivers state for their gross misconduct during the election that snuffed out the lives of innocent and promising youths.’’
The statement was signed by Amb. Prince Tonye Jeminimiema, President General,Comrade Edward Odum, Secretary General and Amb. Kennedy Tonjo West, Chairman. Board of Trustees.