Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, yesterday, decried the nomination of Lauretta Onochie as commissioner of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), describing it as a bad omen for the nation’s democracy.
He insisted that President Muhammadu Buhari and the All Progressives Congress (APC)-controlled National Assembly were desperate to foist Onochie on Nigerians as INEC national commissioner.
His words: “By any standards, the most fundamental consideration against the appointment of an electoral umpire in a democracy is the likelihood of bias, which in this case, heavily weighed against Onochie, as a partisan member of APC.
“Despite the protests against her nomination and the general lack of trust in her capacity to remain impartial, it seems the APC-led Senate is determined to confirm her appointment, as part of their design to rig the 2023 general elections ahead of time.
“They know Nigerians will overwhelmingly reject them in a free, fair and transparent election managed by a truly independent election management committee.”
As a governor and concerned Nigerian, who love Nigeria and wants its democracy to survive, he appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari to withdraw Onochie’s nomination to avoid creating more credibility problems for INEC and restore confidence in the electoral system.
“Where the President lacks the courage to so do, the National Assembly, which is responsible for defending the nation’s democracy should wake up on the right side of history by rejecting her nomination. A related issue is the proposed amendments to the Electoral Act before the National Assembly today,” he added.
But as protests trail Onochie’s recommendation as INEC commissioner, APC leaders and stakeholders in Delta North Senatorial District, yesterday, backed her recommendation and the Senate to screen and clear her without further delay.
Their position was contained in a communiqué after a meeting attended by Delta North chieftains of the party and signed by Cyprian Ashibuogu, Clement Ozegbe, Nkem Osu and Onyeisi Nwokolobia.
Wike, however, 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 electronically.
While rendering his six years account of his administration of Rivers State marks his second year anniversary at the Obi Wali Cultural Centre in Port Harcourt, he highlighted his achievements in road infrastructure, rural development, economic progress, education, healthcare, housing, administration of justice, security, agriculture, social welfare, sports, as well as culture and tourism,
He expressed gratitude to God for the grace to lead the state in the last six years and the strength, wisdom and enablement to deliver his vision of progress and transformation to Rivers people amid daunting challenges.
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