Rivers State governor, Chief Nyesome has come under severe attack from several election monitoring and civil society groups, following his insisting allegations that the 2019 election will not be free and fair.
The groups in separate statements made available to journalists accused the governor of making wild allegation without any evidence to back his claims.
In a statement, the National Coordinator,Network of Police Reforms In Nigeria (NOPRIN), Okechukwu Nwanguma said that Nigerians will not be deceived by the governor’s “diversionary antics”.
Nwanguma reminded the governor that INEC under its current leadership has made giant gains towards a credible 2019 elections. He said such gains have been attested to even by Professor Attahiru Jega who was widely reported to have said 2019 elections will be better than that of 2015.
In its statement, a civil society group, Citizens Centre for Democratic Governance also urged governor Wike to concentrate on the governance of his state and allow the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) focus on its task of ensuring a free and credible 2019 elections
The statement signed by the National Coordinator of the group, Anthony Osagbemi, stated that the Rivers governor might be setting the stage for another round of violence, recalling that “it was this same tactics he deployed in the court ordered re-run election in Rivers State, which led to his orchestration of brutal violence that led to the death of an INEC ad-hoc staff and the maiming of another.
According to Osagbemi, the statement by the INEC chairman that only votes will count in any election conducted by INEC under his watch continues to bear fruit, as evidence has indeed shown that elections are consistently getting better in all the states where they have so far been conducted.
He said the era where politicians bribe INEC officuals to rig elections is far gone, as the Commission under this current leadership is very determined to improve the electoral process.
He said, “Governor Wike must understand now that his crude mannerism will not deter this INEC chairman from sustaining the ongoing reforms of the electoral process. Perhaps he is afraid that he might not be able to use the Resident Electoral Commissioner to his advantage as usual.”
In the same vein, the National Democracy Vanguard, insisted that the conduct and statements credited to Governor Nyesome Wike are unbecoming of a governor and more importantly a legal practitioner.
The Executive Director, Segun Adisa ,challenged Governor Nyesome Wike to come out with verifiable facts to buttress his allegations that INEC intends to rig the 2019 General elections.
He said, “In a build up to the court ordered re-run elections in Rivers State in 2016, the Governor made a lot of allegations and based on these allegations came out to say that they were going to resist any attempt to rig elections. This was the state of affairs before the re-run elections which resulted in an atmosphere that was not conducive for the conduct of elections.
“As a result of the tensed atmosphere that pervaded Rivers State before the re-run elections, Rivers State experienced one of the most violent and brutal elections in the history of Rivers state and Nigeria. At the end of the day, an INEC ad-hoc staff was beheaded and another maimed. We hope the current noise by the Governor is not a repeat performance.”