Kano State governor and chairman of the All Progressive Congress (APC) Rivers State rerun election campaign committee, Abdulahi Ganduje on Friday declared that it was not normal to have free and fair election in the South-South.
But he said that was about to change with the planned National Assembly rerun election in state scheduled for December 10 in Rivers.
Speaking to State House correspondents in Abuja after a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday, he described the Rivers State governor as a stubborn person who gave no room for people to genuinely exercise their franchise.
He said this time around, they would not be allowed to sit down and write election results as everything would be done to allow people to vote.
Asked about the preparations for the Rivers rerun election, Ganduje said, “We are prepared. We just came out of the Ondo elections. We have fresh ideas even though both environments are different but we have our own strategies.
“Like in Ondo State, we must ensure we have free and fair elections.
“You know, in that part of the country, having a free and fair election is not normal and we have to make it normal this time.
“We must ensure that there is security so that people will come out and vote. That’s our main preoccupation at the moment.
“We are making wider consultations with stakeholders and we believe we will succeed.”
But in a swift reaction, Governor Wike said Rivers people were waiting for Ganduje to come and repeat “Kano magic” in the state, a reference to the numbers polled by APC in the last general election which did not return a single void vote.
He told State House reporters on phone from his campaign trail that Ganduje’s statement was unfortunate, noting that elections have been normal in his part of the country.
Wike wondered whether the Kano governor spoke on behalf of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), pointing out that when APC won the recent gubernatorial election in Edo State which is in the South-South, Ganduje was silent.
Wike said: “It is unfortunate if he said so. As far as I am concerned, elections have been normal in my part of the country. All we are asking for is free and fair election.
“Is Governor Ganduje speaking on behalf of INEC? Is he the one conducting the elections now?
“I have a respect for him as an elderly person, but his statement is unfortunate.
“When his friend (Rotimi Amaechi) won the governorship election in Rivers State, the election was normal. The election was also normal in Edo State when his party won.
“We are waiting for him to come and perform the magic he did in Kano State.”
Ganduje had said that he was at the State House to see Buhari over the renewed threat of Boko Haram to the North-western states.
“I came to visit the President on the security situation in Kano, especially the fallout from the north-western part of the country in which some of the Boko Haram and kidnappers will like to dominate and come back from Sambisa forest so that they can be operating from another part of the north west of the country,” he said.