Governor Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers State declared on Thursday that when he was a member of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, he never joined it in rigging elections.
Amaechi, who is currently a member of the All Progressives Congress, APC, said that other members of the PDP always looked at him with suspicion because never agreed with them on many issues, including rigging.
The Rivers governor also charged the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Prof. Attahiru Jega, to defend his reputation by conducting a free, fair and credible election come 2015.
Amaechi, who made this declaration while addressing newsmen at the Government House, Port Harcourt, challenged journalists to ask the PDP if he had, at any time, stood up for rigging elections.
The Nigeria Governors Forum Chairman noted that as a governor, he had always insisted that the people’s mandate remained sacrosanct, even as he urged eligible voters to endeavor to collect their permanent voter cards so that their votes can count in the forthcoming elections.
His words: “People have confronted me in different fora that all these things that you have done, how are we sure that they can be sustained and I said the only way you can sustain them is to make sure that you vote for somebody that comes from the party that I come from because that party will run the same programmes as I have ran.
“An example is that all of you who have followed me will know that I am quite different from the normal PDP person. When I was in the PDP, they saw me as a different person all together because I never stood with them on a lot of issues, including rigging.
“You can ask them; you can ask the PDP if I supported rigging. Before you wake up and go to the place (election venue), I have finished. As a people’s governor, we insist that the people’s mandate is critical and it is important. I don’t know what the PDP does when it comes to voting; I don’t participate; I don’t know what they do. But I assure you that this time, our votes must count.
“Even those who are in PDP too; it is important for all of us to go and collect our voter cards. And for those who have not registered, there are some wards or units that their names were either omitted or wrongly written, they should also get registered afresh”.
Gov. Amaechi, however, expressed the need for INEC to ensure that the 2015 poll was conducted in a credible manner.
He argued that it would not be necessary to adjudge any election as free and fair until the results were announced and candidates accepted the outcome of the exercise.
“INEC said they are conducting continuous registration and collation of the permanent voter cards in seven out of the 23 local government areas in the state due to technical problem. We sympathise with INEC and we join them to pray that they will quickly find solutions to their problems.
“In my unit in Ubima, the names of some of those who had earlier registered were not seen in the voter’s register. We expect INEC to register them again. We look forward to a fresh registration anywhere such problems are noticed”, Amaechi said.