The Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike has declared Thursday and Friday as work free days in the state for the smooth conduct of the rerun legislative elections on Saturday, March 19, 2016.
He stated that the work free days will enable workers in both private and public sectors fully participate in the re-run polls.
The governor also stated that he believes that the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, will conduct free, fair and credible rerun elections from the assurances he received from the commission.
In a state-wide broadcast on Wednesday, Governor Wike said : ” I hereby declare Thursday, March 17th and Friday, March 18th 2016 as work free days in Rivers State to enable workers from the public and private sectors fully participate in the re-run elections and exercise their franchise. Consequently, all public and private offices, including banks must remain closed for the duration of the holidays.”
He stated that security agencies have definite instructions to enforce the restrictions on human and vehicular movements on election day.
The governor directed the security agencies to : “arrest any person or group of persons, including government vehicles, that violate this order and or attempt to act in any way to undermine the peaceful conduct of the re-run elections in the State. ”
While urging the people of the state to turn out in their number to participate in the elections, Governor Wike noted that he had been assured by the armed forces that they will not deviate from their constitutional role of safeguarding law and order before, during and after the elections.
He said : “In line with the ongoing security operations to rid the state of cult-induced violence and criminality, I have requested the armed forces to increase security surveillance around some identified flashpoints of cultism and banditry in Abua/Odual, Andoni, Akuku Toru, Ahoada-East, Ahoada-West, Emohua, Ikwerre, Opobo/Nkoro, and Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni Local Government Areas of the State.
“There is really nothing to fear for every law-abiding citizen of the State while exercising our right to vote. On the Election Day, simply take your permanent voters cards (PVC), walk to your polling units to be accredited, peacefully cast your vote and, wait at a reasonable distance as allowed by law until the results are counted, announced and documented.
“Do not submit to any intimidation by those who seek to scare you away from voting with the military. Take note that no person is allowed to go to the voting areas with uniform security personnel or thugs.”
He urged the people of the state to take advantage of the court-ordered rerun elections to exercise their democratic rights to vote candidates of their choice.
He said : “You will also be electing worthy representatives to the State House of Assembly to join me to deliver our developmental agenda and help chart the future of our State through effective legislation and oversight.
“Now that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is set to conduct the court-ordered National and State Assemblies’ re-run elections in Rivers State, it is incumbent that we take full advantage of the opportunity to, once gain, exercise our democratic rights to vote for the candidates of our choice”.