• Assures of adequate security
  • The change will be completed on Saturday—Oshiomhole
  • Trouble makers will be removed before Saturday—IGP

By Jon Egie

 

 

Chief Great Ogboru welcoming the VP, Osinbajo to the Town Hall meeting in Warri as military personnel give him full compliments

Vice President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo has assured that Chief Great Ogboru will be elected as governor of Delta state come Saturday, March 9 during the governorship and state house of assembly elections.

The VP who represented President Buhari at a Town Hall meeting of stakeholders of the party held at the PTI Conference Centre, Effurun, Monday, March 4, also assured of provision of adequate security  to make the people’s votes count.

The assurances were given in response to complaints of insecurity and threat to life of members of APC in Delta state by thugs of the PDP.

The APC members had complained during an interactive session of the meeting that the Feb 23, presidential and NASS elections was massively rigged by the PDP using thugs to unleash terror on them.

The VP said the issue of security will be looked into and thanked the members of APC in Delta state for their significant performance at the Feb 23, election, which though, the PDP claimed victory, but the conclusion of the victory will come on Saturday, March 9 when “we vote our governor, Chief Great Ogboru.”

He appreciated Delta state APC’s contribution to the re-election of President Buhari and added that it was clear that Delta state will never be the same again.

“Delta state was our focus, we wanted to see what they would do and how the PDP can be contained. The truth about the rigging machine of the PDP caught up with them on Feb 23 and will manifest on March 9. The state is ready for a change into the next level. The issue of security is very fundamental. We have seen how PDP has abused security and there is no reason why we should not pay special attention to security and we have ample reason to do so.”

He cautioned against back biting and division among members of the APC in Delta state and hence, urged the APC in Delta state to work together to checkmate the PDP.

According to the VP, the very many lofty programmes of the APC could only be implemented in Delta state by an APC governor and therefore, there was need to work hard to ensure that Great Ogboru is elected governor of Delta state.

He expressed disappointment at what the PDP had been doing with the resources available to them for the past 20 years with evidence of lots of abandoned projects across the state.

He said President Buhari meant well for Nigeria and Delta state should not be in opposition to the administration of President Buhari.

“The time has come, let us seize the moment. You have shown that you have courage. APC is in charge of the federal government today and Delta state will be part of the government for the next four years”. He assured.

In his own reaction to the complaints, APC national chairman, Adams Oshiomhole congratulated Deltans who participated in the Feb 23, election saying that they did well to increase the party votes from 48 thousand in 2015 to 221 thousand in 2019.

“Don’t dismiss yourself and don’t wallow in self pity. The message of change I started for Delta state has begun and will be completed on Saturday, March 9.

“You substantially weakened the PDP rigging machine. The killing of a python is not by one stone but a sustained attack and it will die. With the combined power of the Holy Spirit you were able to hold the PDP down to only 593,758 votes. You have made a statement that Delta state can never be the same again. Do not see yourself as conquered a people, Bendelites do not shy away from challenges. I ask you all to go out there and vote in spite of any security threat. Your right to vote is fundamental and the armed forces are meant to protect that right and if they did not do it on Feb 23, they will do the needful on March 9.

‘I don’t want people crying as if they are at the mercy of their oppressors. We are not sucklings, don’t cry. PDP is not invincible. In Edo state we fought them and neutralized them and PDP is now in political menopause. By Saturday, March 9, the problem will be settled in a free and fair election.” Oshiomhole encouraged.

He said the only way the PDP can be stopped from frustrating the APC change Agenda in Delta state is to vote out Okowa and effect a change of government in Asaba but he advised members of the APC to reduce suspicion among themselves as all they needed to do was to encourage one another to win the election.

During the interactive session, various speakers complained to the VP and the APC national chairman, Adams Oshiomhole that the PDP has collected a handful of PVCs from women and other unsuspecting Deltans and threaten them to vote the PDP or face untoward consequences.

“They pay SAs the sum of N250, 000 a month and have shared N100 million to each ward and N100,000 to each agent. How can we secure our votes when they want to kill us? In the governorship election we do not want policemen, we want soldiers to monitor the election” a woman leader of the APC had complained.

A youth who spoke on behalf of students said: “We as Nigerian students are part and parcel of the APC government and going by the experience of the Feb 23 election, we have decided that if security is not provided we will not come out to cast our votes as we had earlier been brutalized, intimidated and harassed by thugs of PDP during the Feb 23 elections.

Another contributor from Delta North reported that what the APC suffered in the hands of the PDP in Delta North was bitter.

“I am from the constituency of Gov Okowa, the security challenge there was terrible. INEC officials and security personnel were compromised. There was so much money to buy anything. Okowa is on ground and he is out to share the votes of Delta central and Delta south and grab the votes of Delta north in whole.

Barr Martins Mukoro speaking on behalf of Delta central called for militarization of Delta state ahead of the March 9, election saying that the challenge of security is very high and noted that if the federal government does not militarize the polling units, individuals would militarize the polling units on the Election Day.

“All we want is peace and let our votes count. It is risky to go out and vote and at the end of the day, the votes will not count. We want our votes to count so that we can enjoy the dividends of democracy” Crown Prince Eze Ekweme prayed.

Joel Onowakpo, HoR candidate for Isoko federal constituency said the APC in Delta state has a large followership but alleged that officials of INEC collude with the PDP to rig election.

An Ijaw youth from Ayakoromo alleged that the PDP engaged militants in a camp in Unit 1 of Ayakoromo where militants help the PDP to thumbprint after they hijacked the voting materials at Patani and warned that unless Ayakoromo and other creeks in Bomadi and Burutu are militarized and the culprits arrested, there is no way the APC could win the election.

Summarizing the complaints of the APC members, Chief Great Ogboru told the VP that from the developments of past elections, “It is the desire of the people of Delta state to vote the APC but they fear that their desire will not be met because of security issues on ground. I therefore request that the VP look into the issue of security and guarantee their security as a majority of Deltans want to exercise their franchise”.

Buhari orders deployment of more security personnel to N/Delta states

Meanwhile, President Buhari has ordered more security personnel be deployed to Bayels, Rivers, Delta and AkwaIbom states of the Niger Delta to forstall incidences of violence during the March 9, governorship and state houses of assembly elections.

At a meeting between President Muhammadu Buhari and service chiefs on Tuesday, March 5, it was  agreed that  more security personnel be deployed  to states with high possibility of violence during elections.

It is on record that the Feb 23, presidential and NASS elections witnessed pockets of violence in different parts of the country with scores dead.

The decision for extra deployment of security personnel was part of the decisions taken at a closed-door meeting between President Muhammadu Buhari and Service Chiefs, included the Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Gabriel Olonisakin; Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Yusuf Buratai; Chief of Naval Staff, Ibok-Ete Ibas; and the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadiq Abubakar.

Others at the meeting were the National Security Adviser, Maj. Gen. Babagana Monguno (retd.); Director-General, National Intelligence Agency; Ahmed Rufai-Abubakar; Director-General, Department of State Services; Yusuf Magaji-Bichi; and the acting Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu.

The Minister of Interior, Lt. Gen. Abdulrahman Dangazzau (retd.), and the Minister of Defence, Brig. Gen. Mansur Dan-Ali (retd.) also attended.

Briefing State House correspondents after the meeting, the acting IG, Adamu said some states in the Niger Delta Region would be watched, while additional personnel would be deployed there.

According to him, Bayelsa, Rivers, Delta and Akwa Ibom states, as well as other locations would receive more personnel, warning ballot box snatchers to find another job on March 9, as the security agencies would deal “ruthlessly with them.”

Adamu said: “We are all aware of the fact that we just concluded the Presidential and National Assembly elections and we want to congratulate Nigerians for the peaceful conduct of the elections. We are prepared now for the governorship and the Houses of Assembly elections in the country.

“We will like every Nigerian to come out to cast his or her vote. The security arrangement we provided during the presidential elections is being enhanced to provide an enabling environment for everybody.

“We will again advise those that will want to disrupt the process to have a rethink because during the presidential election, we had some few challenges here and there. We will not allow a repeat of the challenges. We are taking more security measures to address the challenges that we noticed.

“So, thuggery is not allowed, ballot-snatching is not allowed, disruption of the election process is not allowed. We, the security personnel, have resolved to deal ruthlessly with anybody that attempts to disrupt the elections.

“We expect that in every state, the conduct of the election will be respected. We expect that electoral materials will not be tempered with; we expect that the Independent National Electoral Commission officials will do their work without being compromised.

“At the same time, the security personnel are to perform their duties without being compromised.”

The IG also disclosed those arrested in connection with the disruption of the February 23 elections in parts of the country would be prosecuted at the completion of investigation.

On how cases of violence would be handled in the Niger Delta, the IG said: “We have taken notice that people in Bayelsa and other states within that zone are prone to violence; we have increased the number of security personnel that have been posted there.

“Also, we have increased intelligence outfits that have been posted there to help us identify the people that are trying to cause problem so that we can take them out of the environment before they cause problem.”