The Forum of Rivers State Governorship Candidates has called on Rivers people  to defend their votes during the forthcoming general elections in the state.

This is as Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike stated that the APC Federal Government is forcing INEC to prevail on Vice Chancellors of Universities to send APC members as ad-hoc staff for the purpose of rigging the polls.

The Forum also condemned  the threat to violence during the 2019 Polls in Rivers State by leaders of the APC. They urged Security Agencies to call the APC Rivers State leadership to order.

The position  of the Forum was contained in a communique after its meeting in Port Harcourt on Sunday. The meeting was attended by several governorship candidates including Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike of the PDP.

The communique was read by the Forum's Chairman, Pastor Samuel Ihunwo.

The group called on INEC to conduct free, fair and credible polls in Rivers State in line with the extant laws.

They also called on security agencies not to allow themselves  to be used by the APC Federal Government to manipulate  the elections in Rivers State.

While decrying the planned manipulation of the polls in Rivers State by the authorities, the Forum called for peaceful polls in the state.

The Forum condemned the removal  of the
Chief Justice of Nigeria by President Muhammadu Buhari.  They called on the President to reverse the illegal  decision.

In an address, Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike expressed shock that the APC Federal Government is ready to act in extreme ways just to rig Rivers State elections. He said the Federal Government will fail.

He said: "The ruling party is manipulating pliant vice chancellors  to submit  the names of APC members as INEC ad-hoc staff and returning officers.

"Will the elections be credible when the list of electoral officials are manipulated  at INEC headquarters in Abuja by the ruling party".

On the crisis in Rivers State APC, the Rivers State Governor said that the APC Federal Government is prepared to destroy the judiciary just to gain political advantage. He said the Rivers APC crisis was generated by the impunity of the APC leadership.

He stated that the security agencies and INEC are the purveyors of electoral violence because they work to illegally  sabotage the electoral process.

He said while Rivers people will support  violence free polls, they will not allow the manipulation of the process.

"The security agencies are under the obligation to ensure that the will of Rivers people prevails.

"If INEC wants elections to be peaceful and credible, it rests on them. They should conduct polls in line with extant laws and not work for any political party ", he said.

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