Wike under fire over comment on 2019 elections

The Rivers state governor, Nyesom Wike has been criticized for claiming that the 2019 general elections will not be free and fair.

Wike recently declared the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as an institution was fraught with tricky tendencies.

Reacting at the weekend, the National Coordinator, Network of Police Reforms In Nigeria (NOPRIN), Okechukwu Nwanguma said Nigerians will not be deceived by the governor’s “diversionary antics”.

Nwanguma reminded the governor that the electoral commission has made gains towards conducting a credible 2019 elections.

He stated that such gains have even been attested to by former INEC chairman, Prof. Attahiru Jega who was widely reported to have said that the 2019 elections will be better than that of 2015.

Similarly, the Citizens Centre for Democratic Governance, also urged Wike to concentrate on the governance of his state and allow INEC focus on its task of ensuring credible polls next year.

A statement signed by the National Coordinator of the group, Anthony Osagbemi, said: “The Rivers governor might be setting the stage for another round of violence.

“It was this same tactics he deployed when the court ordered re-run election in Rivers State. This led to orchestration of brutal violence that caused the death of an INEC ad-hoc staff and the maiming of another.

“The statement by the INEC chairman that only votes will count in any election conducted under his watch continues to bear fruit, as evidence has indeed shown that elections are consistently getting better in all the states.

“Governor Wike must understand now that his crude mannerism will not deter this INEC chairman from sustaining the ongoing reforms of the electoral process.”

In its reaction, the National Democracy Vanguard, insisted that the conduct and statements credited to Governor Nyesom Wike were “unbecoming of a legal practitioner”.

The Executive Director, Segun Adisa, challenged the governor to come out with verifiable facts to buttress his allegations that INEC intends to rig the 2019 general elections.

NAIJAXTREME, MD, USA

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