Traditional rulers of Rivers State, a strategic oil and gas state in the Niger Delta area of Nigeria, are very concerned about the negative activities of some political leaders which have given the state a bad name.
Consequently, such political leaders will incur the wrath of deities from kingdoms in the state as monarchs are bracing to place a dangerous traditional curse on them.
Politicians including some functionaries of the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari who collaborated with the military and party thugs in military uniforms to subvert the political will of the peoples of the state, are to be cursed traditionally.
The monarchs say the silence of the National Peace Committee chaired by former Head of State, General Abdulsalami Abubakar, was deafening.
They are therefore, wondering why the peace panel has failed to call all parties and the military to order for breaching the peace in the big oil state.
According to them, parties cannot be asked to accept results of elections that are ‘’brazenly rigged, manipulated and falsified in an atmosphere of Intimidation and violence.’’
Continuing, the y said ‘’last time we checked, the President and Commander in Chief has not given any such order, neither has the Chief of Army Staff or Chief of Air Staff ordered the full participation of the military in the electoral process in our various kingdoms.
‘’So, who has deployed the military in this number, even assaulting officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and taking over of premises when they were not invited by INEC?
‘’How come the military took over the state headquarters of INEC and even fought the Police and attempted hijacking results from local government areas?
‘’We need peace in Rivers. The will of the people must prevail. The military must remove itself from directly participating in our elections. The Nigerian Army must immediately identify and arrest the so called political thugs in military uniforms.’’
The state Council of Traditional Rulers is also urging INEC to declare all verifiable results of the state Governorship Election of March 9, on polling units and ward basis.
According to them, only compromised results should be discountenanced.
Their position was made known in a press conference addressed by their Chairman, the Amayanabo of Opobo, Douglas Dandeson Jaja.
‘’We urge INEC to declare all verifiable results and immediately look into only compromised results on units and wards basis, where boxes were snatched by thugs or military personnel.
‘’We cannot go through round of elections at a later date. INEC must ensure that collated results are declared and not tampered with by third parties’’, the Opobo monarch said.
They equally expressed disappointment with the alleged involvement of SARS personnel in the direct process of the 2019 elections in the state, saying what we have today is a few government appointees using federal apparatus including men in uniform to cause chaos and breakdown of law and order.
While adding that ‘’our people who have attempted to resist such illegality have either been arrested or dealt with extra judicially’’, they regretted that Rivers communities have been militarised, with innocent people harassed, arrested and detained.
‘’We are sad to note that in many kingdoms and communities, the uniformed or military men were actively involved in giving cover to politicians and their thugs who are carting ballot boxes and result sheets.
‘’There are also allegations that some of these uniformed personnel are fake soldiers but the real soldiers have not arrested any of the so called fake soldiers involved in these dastardly acts.
‘’The Army has also come out on AIT on March 11, to state that the people in army uniforms are fake. So, why are they not being arrested if they are thugs in military uniforms?
‘’We are therefore, calling on the Federal Government and the international community to come to the aid of Rivers people’’, the monarchs said.