INEC Can’t Be Trusted To Conduct Credible Elections

Leadership Newspaper

Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike has declared that Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) cannot be trusted to conduct credible polls in 2019 because of the inconsistent actions of the commission.

Wike, who disclosed this during a special appearance on a national television, which was monitored in Port Harcourt, said though Rivers people are peace-loving, they will resist any attempt to rig the 2019 elections in the state.

The governor said: “INEC has different interpretations of judgments depending on where it is coming from. When the court nullified the Rivers APC primaries, a lawyer of one of the factions wrote to INEC not to recognize any candidate because of the judgment.

“INEC wrote to APC notifying them of outcome of that judgment. INEC merely said they were in receipt of the letter requesting that INEC should obey. In the case of PDP, INEC wrote to PDP in Ogun State, where Buruji dragged the party to court, telling them they will comply.

“When there is a judgment against PDP, there is immediate enforcement. When it concerns APC, INEC says they are studying the judgment. In the case of Ogun State PDP, INEC quickly obeyed the judgment”.

He stated that INEC should work as an unbiased umpire, ensuring that the Electoral Act is respected at all times and due process followed in the conduct of elections.

Wike noted that INEC has been involved in several under-the-table actions in Rivers State since 2010, pointing out that during the rerun elections, INEC connived with the Police to deny the people of Rivers East senatorial district their rightful mandate.

The governor stated that INEC and security agencies should commit themselves working towards credible polls, noting that INEC and security agencies should sign a pact to respect the tenets of the Electoral Act.

He said: “The Peace Accord is a ceremony. It is a mere public display. The Peace Accord cannot work because they are not sincere. INEC and Security should sign Peace Accord because they are ones who create circumstances for electoral violence. They try to manipulate the process against the will of the people.”

Wike, who noted that security agencies have played negative roles in over-heating the polity in Rivers State, said: “It is INEC and Security that don’t want us to have peaceful elections in Rivers State.

“Why do they want to capitalize on the claim that politicians are the ones that compel them to act illegally. Rivers people are peaceful, the only time we have crisis is when we see the electoral umpire being biased and security agencies working against due process in elections. We will continue to resist.

“Many people have come to me to have a deal with Federal Government, why will I do that. I will never do that. If not because of the way we resist, they would have overrun the state. It is coming to the point people where will say yes we love life, but what is life when we are not free to decide who leads us.”

The governor noted that the failure of President Muhammadu Buhari to sign the amended Electoral Act is a sign that the President is not committed to credible polls.

He said: “I was shocked that the President did not sign the Electoral Act. In my matter, the Supreme Court appreciated the Card Reader, but said it was not backed by law. They called for the Electoral Act to be amended for more credible polls.

“He said he wants to leave a legacy of free and fair elections, but he refused to sign the Electoral Act that will facilitate the process. If Mr. President had signed the Electoral Act,  it would have made it difficult to manipulate. But he refused to sign the law”.

On the termination of sale of valued state assets, Wike stated that the state government is only implementing the white paper of the Justice Omereji Commission of Inquiry.

The governor noted that there is no politics of bitterness in Rivers State, pointing out that the only problem is that somebody wants to create a dynasty.

He said: “INEC set up a committee and the committee indicted the SARS commander Akin Fakorede. What INEC should do is to act on the report.

“You have identified that officer who perpetrated the violence and we have another report by the police, signed by a deputy commissioner of police who indicted Akin Fakorede and asked that he be charged to court”.

He stated Rivers State APC does not exist in Rivers State, pointing out that Rivers APC relies on manipulation by the military and security agencies for relevance.

Wike said: “We don’t have any problem with APC. We have a problem with security agencies. APC does not exist in Rivers State, they only exist because of the presence of security agencies who aid them. We are not talking about candidates of APC, but the compliance with the law.

“APC has not complied with the provisions of the law, can they still participate in the election and a political party can challenge INEC on compliance with the provisions of the law.

“We are an interested party. We have complied with the law and  if you don’t comply, you will not participate with us. We went to court merely for the interpretation of the relevant sections of the electoral Act, whether APC is entitled to nominate candidates without having valid lawful primaries.

“The issues have gone beyond the internal affairs of the APC, because they have not complied with the Electoral Act”.

The governor stated that Rivers State is wholly controlled by the PDP, pointing out that no other political party can win elections in the state.

He said: “Rivers State is PDP. There is no way any party will win PDP in Rivers State. The only thing APC can do is for them to use of security to manipulate for them. There is no incentive for the people of Rivers State to support the APC.

“All of us know that APC does not want elections in Rivers State. They want to bring security to overrun the state like Ekiti. But we will resist them.”

Wike stated that he has no untoward relationship with Senator Magnus Abe as being alleged by APC leaders.

The governor said: “I have never spoken with Magnus Abe on Phone. The last time I met with him, was when the President commissioned the airport.

“Am I the one who told the Minister of Transportation to deny his members access to forms to contest ward congresses? I have no business with Abe”.

He stated that the President by his actions condone illegality by APC leaders in Rivers State, saying: “I watched an APC rally, the president of the country stood on the platform with Ojukaye who has a bench warrant hanging over his head for multiple murder  trial.

“But Ojukaye went there with police and military escorts, when there was a bench warrant on him. It is worrisome that today they are giving  politicians platoons of soldiers to move around. Assuming without conceding,  if things were done wrong in the past, should you continue with them”.