By Levinus Nwabughiogu
ABUJA—Hard times await perpetrators of violence before, during and after the recent governorship elections in Rivers State as the President-elect, General Muhammadu Buhari (retd) said he will not “forgive or forget” their evil acts.
Buhari spoke, yesterday, when the state chapter of All Progressives Congress, APC, paid him a congratulatory visit in Abuja.
Buhari, who said he owed the people a duty to ensure justice in the land, also assured that every Nigerian deserved respect and dignity.
He said: “We will confront them with facts and figures. We will not forgive and we will not forget those who perpetrated killings and arson in Rivers State during the elections. At least this is the much we owe Nigerians.”
He added that his government will not tolerate “an army within the army or a police within the police.”
Also speaking to journalists, the former deputy governor of the state, Sir Gabriel Toby, who led the Rivers delegation, said what happened during the presidential and the governorship elections was a coup, saying it did not reflect the wishes of the people.
While pledging the support of the people to the incoming administration, Toby added that they were also in Abuja to plead with the President-elect not to forget the persecution and many sacrifices made by their son, Governor Rotimi Amaechi, that culminated into APC’s success, urging Buhari to duly compensate Amaechi.
‘Justice will be served in Delta’
Also speaking during his meeting with Delta State chapter of APC members, led by its governorship candidate in the last election, Olorogun Otega Emerhor, Buhari said justice will define his government, assuring that the rights of Nigerians must not be trampled upon.
He said: “I thank you for mobilizing yourselves to come and congratulate me for emerging as the winner of the presidential election this year. I am very much in touch with your governor and he has kept me abreast with the running battle.
“I express my condolence to you for the people murdered and I assure you that my objective of remaining consistently in partisan politics is to make sure that Nigerians are given their inherent right as citizens of Nigeria, to choose whoever they want to lead them.
“It is not a favour for them as Nigerians, but a constitutional right as citizens of this country. I will not support anybody who will undermine that right of Nigerians by whatever means. To use the military, other law enforcement agencies and give drugs and weapons to unemployed youths and send them to kill their own people is the worst thing anybody aspiring to leadership can do.
“I assure you that in this first term of four years, I will concentrate on things that Nigerians will be proud of. Nigerians, wherever they are, will be respected. Whoever they chose as a representative or as a leader should go and submit himself to them.
“If they like, let them vote for you, if they do not like, let him try again and again. It has not been easy. The field work is not easy and because it is not easy, you get a lawyer to put it in proper term.
“Going through the court is not easy both materially and physically and I maintained that consistency because my view about my country is that it should be truly free. I have said so, so often and I do not mind repeating myself here.
“I assure you that APC’s first objective is security and what destroyed the economy is lack of security, unemployment and the aggressive youths.
“I understand why many of you were denied the opportunity to choose those you want to represent and lead you and are taking the line I took in the last 12 years, which is in line with our constitution.
“Whether you get it or not, the most important thing is that you believe in the system and you should continue to try until the system is perfect. I appeal to you.”
Earlier, Otega Emerhor told Buhari: “We would like to bring to your attention how Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, disenfranchised the people of Delta and the South-South at both the presidential and governorship elections.
“As our submission to the tribunal in respect of the governorship and state assembly elections will demonstrate, in truth, majority of Deltans were ready for the change you represent and were geared to vote massively for you and APC.
“Unfortunately, a grand design executed by PDP in the South-South and South-East, particularly Delta, Rivers and Akwa Ibom, made sure that no proper election took place.
“Result sheets were confiscated and results fabricated, written, giving PDP massive votes, while giving paltry votes to APC to portray it as not existing in the two zones. To provide a cover for vote manipulation, PDP also resorted to violence, intimidation and ballot box snatching as a smoke screen.
“They effectively compromised both Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, and the security forces against the will and preferences of Delta people and the two zones.
“Through the CTC of the card reader report that we have obtained from INEC, we have unearthed the massive fraud that PDP perpetuated in Delta State. We have filed our petitions to cancel these bogus elections in the tribunal in Delta State.”
He said: “Our election petition shows that while announced voter accreditation was over 1,017,796, the actual card reader accreditation report shows only 709,700.
“A cursory look shows that the votes allocated to PDP governorship candidate (724,680) alone exceed the accredited voters as recorded by the card reader report. With these anomalies, we are indeed very optimistic that the governorship and assembly elections in Delta State will be nullified and a re-run ordered.
“As you are aware, Delta State, along with Akwa Ibom and Rivers, are rich in oil resources and PDP is determined to hold on to these states at all cost to utilize the huge revenue base of these states to re-launch itself to national reckoning.
“It is, therefore, strategic for APC and your administration to pay particular attention and to assist us put in place modalities to break the stronghold of PDP in Delta and the other states.”
Buhari also thanked the people of Benue State, who paid him a congratulatory visit, for voting APC.
The team, which was led by the governor-elect of the state, Mr. Samuel Ortom, included Chief Audu Ogbe, Senator George Akume, among others.
Buhari said: “I think Nigerians have decided. It has been a rough journey. They have realized it. We thank God and we thank the technology which made it possible because if not for PVC and card readers, the normal thing would have happened. The normal thing which sent me to the Supreme Court three times.
“ I beg Senator Akume and the governor-elect not to make my 2019 attempt too difficult.
“I assure you that we owe United States and Europe, led by Britain, for the support they have given to our system. They were really, very concerned about Nigerian security and that is why we must appreciate people of conscience all over the world.”
The President-elect also played host to APC women leaders, led by Hajiya Ramatu Ali, where he promised to include them in his government.