Pre-Election Broadcast by Rivers State Governor, Rt. Hon Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi
HIS EXCELLENCY, RT. HON CHIBUIKE ROTIMI AMAECHI, GOVERNOR, RIVERS STATE
ON THE NEED FOR PEACEFUL CONDUCT DURING THE 2015 GUBERNATORIAL ELECTIONS
IN RIVERS STATE.
MY DEAR PEOPLE OF RIVERS STATE,
Our administration is finally winding down to the finish line. I want to use this opportunity to thank you all for standing by me and our administration in the past 8 years through many trying moments. But for your great company and incredible support, it would have been a much more difficult journey.
Therefore, in the days ahead, we must continue to close our ranks for even more battles. We should never be deterred because the battles are not ours alone. God is on our side and victory will always be His.
You will recall that a few months ago we embarked on a journey to seek a new direction not just for our state but also for our country. That journey culminated in a general election; the first part took place on March 28 th ; the second part will take place on 11 April.
It is with great pleasure therefore that I address you today as we set our eyes on the governorship elections, scheduled for Saturday, April 11 2015, to elect the administration to complete the job we started.
Our vision when we came into government was clear. It was to provide our people with all the things that would enable them live in a pleasurable, peaceful and harmonious society. Understanding the challenges of poverty and want, we worked to ensure a level ground for all our children to have access to free and qualitative education and for all our people to enjoy free health. We worked to improve our infrastructure and made our environment more business friendly. All of these were geared to return our state to its pride of place – and we made significant progress. Sadly this progress began to deteriorate as Rivers state faced numerous denials especially the loss of our oil wells. For years, we tried to persuade the government at the centre to be fair to our people and return their revenue and rights to enable us use them for our peoples' ultimate good but this was denied them. With dwindling federal revenue as a result of questionable fiscal management and more recently dwindling oil prices, all states around the country found it difficult to meet their obligations to the people. The case wasn't any different in Rivers State. I was indeed pained when on a visit to Igwuruta town, I met a woman who complained that her children couldn't go to school because they couldn't pay the examination fees introduced by head teachers to address some of their funding issues.
With regards to security, we had battled all those who plunged our state into insecurity and we were winning the security battle with the support of the security agencies. Again our gains in this area were badly eroded as political battles caused some persons to take our state back to those inglorious days of crime and criminality. Unperturbed by the result of encouraging crime, they worked assiduously to compromise our security agencies, destroy the security system and give impetus to persons who hitherto had found criminality no longer profitable.
We will do our best to stem this drift and we hope that the government that takes over from us will do even more. With a new government at the centre, the need to perform to justify the confidence of Nigerians would be stronger now than ever before. Rivers state will therefore be well positioned to benefit from this new dawn. If we appreciate the need for free education, free health, improved infrastructure and agriculture programmes that create jobs, then it makes sense for us to go out on April 11 and vote for a government that has the integrity and impetus to deliver on all of these.
Elections in Rivers State should be about equity and our peaceful co existence as a people. It should be about encouraging those who aspire to office to work in the interest of the people. I am optimistic that these elections will be historic for us now that the whole world is watching and waiting to see the outcome.
As a Nation, we have already set a good example for the whole of Africa in showing that we can decide our affairs devoid of rancor and violence. I am therefore confident that as a State, we can follow this trend as we head to the polls on Saturday for the gubernatorial elections.
As a government, we have worked with you to make history in our state. We believe firmly in the resilient power of the people to determine what is best for them. Over the past 8 years, we have worked hard to make this possible. On April 11, we have a choice to continue this progress or endanger it.
We call on everyone to turn out on Saturday, April 11, to be counted as history makers.
The Presidential elections have come and gone and we are still united as a Nation. Regrettably, we lost a number of our citizens to death as a result of unprovoked attacks. Some of our citizens have also been harassed, kidnapped and thrown into detention on trumped up charges. My sympathy goes out to the families of all those who have lost their lives. I also want to reassure all those who are still in detention that the night may be long but dawn must come. Indeed, dawn is here.
Despite the marginalization of millions of our people at the Saturday presidential and national assembly elections, we cannot loose faith in our country or in democracy. The frontline contenders for presidency in the March 28 th elections have taught us this much: our President Goodluck Jonathan who conceded the elections and congratulated the President Elect, Muhammadu Buhari, and the President Elect who commended the statesmanship of President Jonathan.
Indeed as good leaders, they have left us a great example and their conduct should define ours in the coming days.
With the largely successful elections of Saturday, March 28 th , Rivers state cannot afford to be an exception, as we go to vote on Saturday, April 11th, 2015.
As we prepare for that election, we have a little time to reflect on the issues at stake. It must be about Rivers state. It must be about its progress and the prosperity of all who live here and are from here. It must be about development, good governance, peace and security. We need to stand firm as a people for what we believe in.
When that day breaks, I encourage you all to come out with your Permanent Voters Cards, walk to the polling station to get accredited.
Even if it rains, stand to be counted.
And if the sun decides to bless us with its rays, I urge you all to return for the voting exercise.
This election is about your life, your safety, the wellbeing of your loved ones, your business, and the future of your children, and ultimately, our great state.
Let it be said of you in the future that you stood up to be counted.
Why? Because deep down inside everyone of us, we want a peaceful, transparent, credible and violence-free election, and not a repeat of what seemingly overwhelmed our land in the last elections.
As long as you remain peaceful and law abiding, the state will ensure that its security personnel act professionally, in keeping you safe because they and their families also have a stake in a peaceful election. Certainly, afflictions shall not rise a second time.
Again, I call on the youth to resolve not to be instruments in the hands of politicians who don't wish our people well. Those who divide and pitch us against ourselves are not of us; they are not our friends, they are our enemies and we must avoid them.
We also sound a note of warning to those who have made the importation of violence with small arms and light weapons into Rivers State a trade to stand down the weapons and on violence. Government owes its people a responsibility to protect their lives and property. We will not relinquish this right. To ensure the safety of lives and properties during the elections, an emergency security council meeting has been scheduled for Wednesday April 8 to review happenings during the last elections and plan for safe, free, fair and credible elections.
We assure our people that their protection is paramount not just today but also during the elections of April 11. After you have cast your vote, you must remain at the polling station at a reasonable distance where you can see what is going on.
Kindly ignore those who say you cannot stay at the polling station. You have every right to do so.
Firstly, the election is about your lives, so why should it take place and be concluded behind your back?
Secondly, no law forbids you from staying at the polling station. You simply are not allowed to disturb other voters, interfere with the process or campaign for votes on Election Day.
Thirdly and most importantly, the Electoral Act requires that the result at each polling station must be collated, announced by the officials and posted at the polling station.
The question to ask those who say you cannot stay at the polling station is this: Who will hear the results, and to whom will they be announced, if voters have left?
The eyes of the world will be on Rivers State and I believe that we can collectively set a better example by being law abiding and peaceful. Let us shame the troublemakers and keep a date with destiny for ourselves and generations unborn.
Great people of Rivers State, history beckons on us, and history is a demanding judge. In concluding this address, may I in the spirit of the Easter appeal to all those who may have been offended by my actions or inactions to forgive me. As your governor, elected to serve you, we have always meant well, and will always mean well. As our administration winds down, we wish to guarantee you that we will do everything to ensure that we fulfill our promises to you and give you good reason to be glad that you are Rivers people, proud, resilient and greater together.
God bless Rivers State
God Bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria
HON. CHIBUIKE ROTIMI AMAECHI, con
Governor, Rivers State.