The Governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike, has asked President Muhammadu Buhari to withdraw the disputed nomination of his aide Lauretta Onochie as commissioner of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
Lauretta Onochie’s nomination has drawn strong criticism from civil society organizations, that are demanding her candidacy be rejected due to her affiliation with the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC). Despite this concern, the Senate held a screening session in which the presidential aide participated following her nomination by Buhari.
Wike who was giving an account of his six years in office on Monday at the Obi Wali international conference centre in Port Harcourt, the Rivers capital, stated that if the Senate approves Lauretta Onochie’s appointment will bring INEC’s credibility into question.
“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.”
Speaking on the proposed amendment to the electoral act which seeks to block the electronic transmission of election results, Wike said such a move 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.”