By Simeon Nwaka
Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike has called on the United States Government to mount pressure on the Federal Government against using the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and security agencies to manipulate the 2019 elections.
“Our fear is that we don’t have confidence that the Federal Government through INEC would want to conduct free and fair elections”, he said.
Addressing journalists after a meeting with the United States Consul-General to Nigeria, Mr John Gray at the Government House Port Harcourt on Tuesday, the Rivers State Governor said that the actions of President Muhammadu Buhari and the Federal Government indicate that they are not interested in credible polls.
He said: “We are preaching for free and fair elections and violence-free elections. I let them know that we stand for free and fair elections. We stand for violence-free elections.
“Our fear is that we don’t have confidence that the Federal Government through INEC would want to conduct free and fair elections.
“You know that the security agencies are partial. Even the refusal of the President to assent to the amended Electoral Act gives us the impression that they are not interested in free and fair elections.”
The governor added: “Not having free and fair elections portend doom and danger for this country.”
Governor Wike called on President Muhammadu Buhari to rescind his decision and follow the path of honour to sign the amended Electoral Act.
He said: “We believe that Mr President would rescind that decision and assent to the amended Electoral Act so that Nigerians will have confidence in the Electoral process.
“The International Community has every role to play to impress on the President, security agencies particularly the police and INEC to be impartial during the elections.”
The governor said that the unnecessary changes in the nation’s security architecture show that the Federal Government is working against credible polls.
“Look at the changes in the security architecture in the country. Commissioners of Police are moved right, left and centre. In two days, some states have gotten four commissioners of Police. All these indicate that things may not be well in 2019”, he said.
In his remarks; United States Consul General, Mr John Gray noted that the United States Government is committed to ensuring credible elections where the will of the people will prevail.
He said : “What we are talking about today is that all we are looking for as we enter the election season is free, fair, credible and peaceful elections.
“The United States Government does not support any candidate. United States Government supports a clean, fair process in which the choices of the Nigerian citizens come through “.
*Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike (r) and United States Consul General, Mr. John Gray, after a meeting at the Government House, Port Harcourt… on Tuesday