As the 2023 General Elections dates draw closer, Rivers Governor, Nyesom Wike, has urged voters to shun candidates and parties that do not mean well for the state.
The governor, in his 2023 new year broadcast in Port Harcourt, on Saturday, Wike urged Rivers people to vote wisely.
The governor said it was not in the character of his administration to interfere with or limit the constitutional rights of politicians and their parties to hold electioneering campaigns and canvass for votes across the length and breadth of the state.
He said: “But we must be reminded that the laws and regulations restricting open political activities in public schools and residential areas are being implemented to prevent the destructive tendencies and public nuisance usually associated with such events when things go wrong.
“Ours is a state governed by laws, and no person, group, party, or association has the right to disobey the laws of the state managing campaign activities in public schools and expect us to keep quiet.
“Any political party or candidate that wishes to hold campaigns in public schools must comply with the law by simply securing the government’s approval after paying the required security deposit before the rally.”
Wike said anyone or party with strong feelings against the legitimacy of the extant laws was free to approach the Courts for appropriate redress.
He said: “Let it be known that no amount of threat of violence will dissuade us from enforcing these and other laws to keep Rivers State safe, peaceful and secure before, during and after the 2023 general elections.
“Consequently, any person, group, political party or association that dares the resolve of the government on this issue can only have their fingers badly burnt by the legal consequences of their ill-advised actions.”
Wike acknowledged that 2022 was another challenging year for Nigeria due to the dire economic situations that had prevailed for too long.
He, however, noted that Rivers people and residents had every reason to thank God for the prevailing peace, the successes recorded by his administration, and the opportunity to look forward confidently to the promise of a new beginning with the New Year.
He declared that governing Rivers had been a mixed bag of challenges, excitement and fulfillment since 2015.
According to him, at the onset, his administration inherited challenges that looked frightening and overwhelming.
He said: “Every sector was virtually destroyed and required a radical surgical operation to repair, restore and regenerate.
“We quickly rose to meet every challenge with courage and determination to advance and serve the peoples’ best interests in line with our vision and as demanded by our mandate.
“Last year, we delivered as many projects and progress as possible with the resources at our disposal, including trunk A roads, dual carriageways, flyovers, bridges, internal community roads, schools, hospitals and judicial infrastructure across the length and breadth of Rivers State.”
He said with the expected seamless succession in the governance of the State in 2023, people of the state could be more hopeful for the continuity that needed to consolidate the progress on the concrete foundations already laid that would take Rivers State to the next level of sustainable peace, security, development and prosperity.
Wike said his administration had worked hard with the security agencies to keep Rivers State peaceful, safe and secure throughout 2022.
According to the governor, the state government spared no effort, resources or commitment to achieve the peace and sense of security everyone now enjoys.
He said: “Going around the state, we can see several private and public investment projects in Port Harcourt and other places, indicative of the healthy state of our economy, investors’ increasing confidence and the economic benefits derived from the modern infrastructures we have provided, which has no equal across the country.
“It is barely five months for us to exit the stage for our successor, but our commitment to more project delivery and better the lots of our people is still strong.
“I assure you, therefore, that we shall endeavour to complete almost all ongoing projects, including the ones now being flagged-off, before the end of our tenure.”
The governor thanked God and the good people of Rivers State for their immeasurable support of his government from the beginning to now.
“There is no way we could have achieved all we have done for Rivers State without your support, cooperation and ceaseless prayers, for which we shall remain eternally grateful”, he said
Wike also extended profound gratitude to all the security agencies for working with the State government, and working round the clock under challenging conditions to fight crime and keep Rivers State safe and secure.
He said: “Today, no one can deny that Rivers State is one of the safest with much lower crime rates in our country, which is the direct result of your firm and practical commitment to your security responsibilities to the State and its people.”
“Let me assure you that we shall continue to provide the motivational and logistical support you need to effectively secure lives and property throughout Rivers State at all times.”