Monday, July 12, 2021 10:45 pm
Okafor Ofiebor/Port Harcourt
Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers has said attempt by the President Muhammadu Buhari led All Progressives Congress, APC administration to foist Ms. Lauretta Onoche on Nigerians as a national Commissioner of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) was part of the plot to rig the 2023 election.
The Governor who described Onoche as ‘a bad omen for Nigeria’s democracy,’ said this on Monday at the Obi Wali International Cultural Centre in Port Harcourt, while giving account of his stewardship for the six years of his administration
“Despite the flood of protests against her nomination and the general lack of trust in our capacity to remain impartial, it seems the APC-led Senate is determined to confirm her appointment as part of their grand design to rig the 2023 general elections well ahead of time, knowing Nigerians would overwhelmingly reject them in a free, fair and transparent contest managed by a strong and independent election management committee.
He noted that while the most fundamental consideration in the appointment of a candidate as an electoral umpire, in a democracy, is the elimination of bias, there is heavily weighted bias against Ms. Onoche because she is ‘a notorious and repulsively partisan dye-in-the-wool member of the APC.’
“As a Governor and concerned Nigerian who loves this country so much and wants our democracy to survive, I wish to appeal to Mr. President, for the sake of his legacy, withdraw Ms. Onoche’s nomination to avoid creating more credibility problems for his INEC and restore confidence in our electoral system.
“Where Mr. President lacks the courage to so do, then, the National Assembly, which has a responsibility to defend our democracy must endeavour to wake up on the right side of history by rejecting her nomination.”
Wike commended the House of Representatives for affirming and reassuring Nigerians on its positive provisions in the proposed bill on electronic voting and simultaneous transmission of unit results by electronic means.
“President Buhari readily attributes his victory in both the 2015 and 2019 polls to the introduction of the novel card reader device by President Goodluck Jonathan’s Administration; yet he has been overly reluctant on the need to midwife the birth of a new, transparent, efficient and trustworthy electoral system for the country.
“Let me therefore warn that we do not need a soothsayer to tell us that to allow the old ways of doing things and much vilified status quo to continue to prevail in our electoral system as recommended by the Senate’s version of the bill would be a complete disservice to the nation and a recipe for disaster for our country.”