A former Governor of Rivers State and serving Minister of Transport, Rotimi Amaechi, has charged supporters of the All Progressives Congress in the state to match their Peoples Democratic Party counterparts with force as the two parties prepare for rerun polls on Saturday.
“This Is what I called “elections of our lives,” said Mr. Amaechi addressing supporters during APC’s mega rally in Port Harcourt on Thursday.
The rally witnessed presence of APC leaders, including Chairman John Odigie-Oyegun, 12 governors and federal lawmakers.
Speaking further, Mr. Amaechi, said, “I used to tell you” please don’t fight”. But I think we will bend it a beat.
“Don’t kill anybody but don’t be killed. My friend in the army told me if bullet is fired, the person that hears the sound is not the one that dies.
“If you allow them to shoot you, you will die. It’s not only them that have rights to life.”
Following court rulings that invalidated 2015 National Assembly and State House elections in the oil-rich State, the Independent National Electoral Commission had earlier conducted rerun polls on March 19.
But the exercise was marred by violence, forcing INEC to suspend the elections- now to be held on Saturday.
The Saturday rerun elections will hold across three senatorial districts, eight federal constituencies and 10 state constituencies.
But the rhetoric from both APC and PDP leaders have heat up the build-up to the rescheduled elections, raising fears of electoral violence again.
Also speaking at Thursday’s APC rally, various leaders of the party charged their followers to confront PDP.
Severally, they said, “if they push you, push them; if they slap you slap them.”
In his remarks, Mr. Odigie-Oyegun reassured APC supporters of “federal might”.
Other APC leaders at the rally were Sokoto State Governor, Aminu Tambuwal; Kano State Governor, Umar Ganduje; former Akwa Ibom Governor, Don Etiebet; a senator, Jibrin Barau; and Ondo State Governor-elect, Rotimi Akeredolu, among others.
But in a swift reaction, PDP-controlled Rivers Government slammed APC leaders for inciting violence in the State.
In a statement, the State’s Commissioner for Information, Austin Tam-George, blamed “the Minister for Transportation, Mr Rotimi Amaechi for importing thugs and Boko Haram fighters, disguised as APC supporters, to cause mayhem in Rivers State.
“Governor Ganduje had charged APC supporters to resort to violence during the rerun elections in Rivers State on Saturday, saying: “if they shoot you, take cover and shoot them.
“This is a shameful and egregious invitation to violence by the Kano State governor.”
The Commissioner urged the people of Rivers State to resist any acts of electoral fraud by the police, INEC and APC before, during and after the elections on Saturday.