Wife of the President, Mrs. Patience Jonathan, on Friday said there was no truth in the allegation that she was pressuring the Independent National Electoral Commission and security agencies to rig the governorship election in Rivers State in favour of the Peoples Democratic Party.
The state governor, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi, had during a stakeholders’ meeting on Thursday alleged that Mrs. Jonathan was in her hometown, Okrika, to supervise electoral malpractices during the elections.
But the President’s wife, in a statement by the Director of Information in her office, Ihuoma Priscilla, said as an apostle of peace, she could not be involved in act that would hinder peaceful conduct of elections in any part of the country.
The statement read, “The First Lady, Dame Patience Jonathan has dismissed the allegation that she was pressurising the Independent National Electoral Commission (and the Security Agencies to rig April 11 (today’s) elections in Rivers State.
“As an apostle of peace and non-violent elections, the First Lady distances herself from any alleged actions that could hinder successful elections in Nigeria, especially in her home state, Rivers State.
“She countered the insinuations that she was in her hometown, Okrika for the purpose of the governorship election, pointing out that she registered in her husband, President Jonathan’s village, Otuoke in Ogbia Local Government Area of Bayelsa State.
“The First Lady, a highly respected indigene of Okrika in Rivers State visited her hometown on Wednesday, April 8, 2015 to a tumultuous welcome by her kinsmen and women who thronged the streets to welcome and appreciate her wonderful support to her husband, the President and for bringing development to Okrikaland.”
Amaechi had claimed that Mrs. Jonathan was working hard to impose a governor on the state and ensure that the people’s votes do not count.
The governor had said, “The reason for this meeting is to let you know that what happened on the 28th of March, 2015 may or may not repeat itself. Few days ago, I said it would not repeat itself. But as at this morning, there are enormous pressures on the security operatives by the wife of the President.
“There is also enormous pressure on INEC by the wife of the President. I hope that they will not repeat the hijacking of results that we witnessed on March 28. In most of the local government areas, if not all, there were no result sheets. This time around, I hope they will bring the result sheets to the different units. I hope they will not forget the result sheets at the collation centre.
“For me as the governor of Rivers State, what is material to me is that we want to see the result sheets. We want to ensure that as we vote, our votes will count. Most of you have been asking this question; who will take over from me? I told you that we don’t want anybody to force a candidate on us.
“We don’t want people to be made governor because they want to share our resources. That is not what we want. We want to be allowed to vote and let our votes be counted. Let the wife of the President stay in her house. She should not force a candidate on us.
“They should tell her that security agencies have assured us that they will allow votes to count. I assure you that the security agencies will not be biased and I hope that the security agencies will keep to that. I hope that the woman posted here as the Resident Electoral Commission would know that her responsibility is not to allow anybody to see the result sheets.”