Rivers Governor Nyesom Wike has kicked against the ongoing attempt to make Ms. Lauretta Onoche a Commissioner of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), describing it as a bad omen for Nigeria’s democracy.
The Governor spoke on Monday at Obi Wali International Conference Centre, Port Harcourt, where he rendered an account of his stewardship in six years.
Wike said the most fundamental consideration in the appointment of a candidate as an electoral umpire, in a democracy, was the elimination of bias.
The Governor observed that there was a heavyweight of bias against Onoche because she remained a “notorious and repulsively partisan dye-in-the-wool member of the All progressives Congress (APC)”.
He 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 to, for the sake of his legacy, withdraw Ms. Onoche’s nomination to avoid creating more credibility problems for his 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.”
Speaking on the proposed amendments to the Electoral Act, Wike said everyone who means well for democracy knows that electronic voting and simultaneous transmission of results have the potential to prevent the large-scale rigging of elections.
Wike said that with a commitment to purpose and prudent management of available resources, his administration in the past six years had drastically changed the developmental trajectory of the state for the better.
The Governor said the newly commissioned Rivers Cassava Processing Company by his administration and the cassava value chain would be used to create wealth, income and jobs for Rivers’ teaming youths willing to take to the business of agriculture.
He explained that since 2015, his administration had delivered over 1000 kilometres of Trunk-A roads; embarked on construction of phase one of the trans-Kalabari road, simultaneous construction of ten arterial flyovers, with three already commissioned and connected the ancient coastal community of Opobo to the rest of the State and the country by a tarred road.
The administration, according to him, also transformed not less than 18 major single lane roads to dual carriage ways with streetlights, pedestrian walkways and covered drains while the dualization of, Ahoada – Omoku and Egbema Omoku roads was also underway.
The Governor said his government reclaimed vast swathes of sand-filled land for some of the coastal communities, including Abalama, Bakana and Kula to advance their development and also started the sand filling of 55 and 42 hectares of reclaimed land for Abonnema/Obonnoma and Okrika communities respectively.
Credit: The Nation