Rivers State governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike has called on the international community to focus on the forthcoming general elections to stop the planned manipulation by the All Progressives Congress (APC)-led federal government.
This is as a group, the Nigeria Vote Count Campaigners (NVCC) said it would on February 11, 2019, began awareness and sensitisation campaign for the forthcoming general elections.
Wike, who spoke yesterday at Government House, Port Harcourt when he granted audience to the British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Catriona Laing, said it is incumbent on the international community, especially the United Kingdom, United States of America and the European Union to repeat the 2015 feat when they monitored all the processes.
The governor said: “We appeal to the international community to focus on the forthcoming general elections. This is not the first time the international community will be doing this. In 2015, the United Kingdom, European Union and the United States actively monitored the elections.”
He stated that the APC -led federal government was foisted on the country by the western powers.
While declaring that the government and people of Rivers State are committed to peaceful polls, Wike charged the United Kingdom to prevail on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and security agencies not to manipulate the elections.
The governor said: “Talk to INEC and the police to allow Nigerians to vote freely and for their votes to count. Any attempt to manipulate the elections, will make the issue to be out of control of the people.”
He stated that the plot by the APC-led federal government to shutdown internet and communication access would make it impossible for the international community and stakeholders to monitor the elections.
Earlier, British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Catriona Laing, said the British government expects the 2019 general elections to be peaceful, free and fair and urged all stakeholders to work towards peaceful and credible polls.
Laing said Rivers State is important to the country, pointing out that peaceful polls in the state would have positive multiplier effect, adding that she was also in the state to acquaint herself with the environmental challenges facing the state.
Meanwhile, the Nigeria Vote Count Campaigners (NVCC) has declared that it is important for every eligible electorate in the country to be properly informed on the need to actively participate in the voting exercise and at the same time be abreast with the election procedures.
NVCC president, Emmanuel Nkweke, who disclosed this while briefing newsmen in Port Harcourt yesterday, said: “In fact, the citizen awareness during the election period should be given the desired attention since it is known to be key towards having a successful free and fair credible election, devoid of voter apathy.”
“Honestly, as a civil unbiased group that knows the importance of awareness and sensitisation of people, it is therefore one of our responsibility and mandate to campaign for a credible and transparent election in Nigeria,” he added.
He therefore enjoined all eligible voters to come out on February 11, 2019 to speak on the forthcoming presidential election billed for February 16 and governorship election slated for March 2, 2019.
The NVCC boss called on politicians to play the game according to the rules and refrain from using inciting words or comments that could heat up the polity and cause chaos among the electorate.