Nyesom Wike, Rivers State governor, has alleged that the determination by the All Progressives Congress (APC)-led senate to confirm Lauretta Onochie as a national commissioner of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), is part of plan by the party to rig the 2023 elections.
Despite reactions against Onochie’s nomination by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), civil society organisations and other Nigerians over her membership of the All Progressives Congress (APC), the presidential aide was screened by the senate last week.
Speaking on Monday at the Obi Wali international conference centre in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital, where he gave account of his six years in office, Wike said Onochie’s appointment, if approved, will bring INEC’s credibility into question.
He asked President Muhammadu Buhari to withdraw her nomination for the sake of his legacy.
“Despite the flood of 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 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”, Wike said.
“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. Onochie’s nomination to avoid creating more credibility problems for 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 further said the proposed amendment to the electoral act which seeks to block the electronic transmission of results will encourage rigging.
“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,” Wike said, according to a statement by Kelvin Ebiri, his spokesman.
“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.”