Rivers state governor, Nyesom Wike, has declared two days holiday for Saturday’s national and state assemblies rerun elections in the state.
The governor described the election as pivotal to the state, advising the people to elect only who would ‘stand for our rights and promote our collective interest.’
“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. It is incumbent that we take full advantage of the opportunity to, once again, exercise our democratic rights to vote for the candidates of our choice.
“It is important to reiterate that the will of the people freely expressed through the ballot is the root of the democratic process and Rivers state cannot be an exception.”
The governor said the electoral body has assured him that the election shall conform to acceptable standard as he call on security agencies to go about their duties in a professional manner. Wike revealed that he had directed beefing up of security in areas known as flashpoints across the state.
“I have received concrete assurances from the INEC that the re-run elections in the state shall be free, fair and credible. I believe that we can all trust on INEC to live up to this solemn promise.
“As the chief security officer of the state and chairman of the state’s security council, I assure every one of us of our security and safety before, during and after the re-run elections. The Nigerian police and other security agencies have put adequate measures to keep the peace and ensure an orderly conduct of the re-run elections throughout the state.
“I have also received assurances from the armed forces that they will not deviate from their constitutional role of safeguarding law and order before, during and after the re-run elections and I am satisfied with this assurance and believe that it would not be broken.
“However, 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.”