Gov Nyesom Wike has won many elections in the past as a member of the federal ruling party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). Now, being in the opposition for once, he has pointed to where observers should watch closely, the electoral umpire and security agencies. He did not ask them to watch the state governments that control the thugs and mobilize security operatives that often do the bidding of the governors.
Wike on Friday, February 8, 2019, called on Civil Society and Non-governmental organisations to monitor the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC ) to ensure they conduct elections in line with the Electoral Act .
The governor also called on them to also monitor the activities of security agencies during the elections. Speaking during an interactive session with Civil Society and Non-Governmental Organisations in Port Harcourt on Friday, Governor Wike said the groups have a critical role to play in the conduct of credible elections.
He said: “You have to monitor INEC and security agencies to ensure that they work in line with the Electoral Act and the constitution during the elections “.The governor said with the shocking activities of INEC, civil society organisations should step up their monitoring functions around them.
Governor Wike urged the National Assembly to amend the Electoral Act to give civil society organisations more powers during and after elections. He said such powers will reduce electoral manipulation.
He urged the Civil Society Organisations to work with other Nigerians to ensure that Atiku Abubakar wins at the Federal level because a second term for Buhari would lead to national disaster. “Thank God that PDP has found its bearing and it is preparing to take over. This country will not survive another four years of Buhari’s directionless and dictatorial governance”, he said .
The governor said that this is the time for all Nigerians to exercise their civic rights. He said if Nigerians fail to come out enmasse to vote, the nation will suffer the consequences.
He noted that if security agencies see the mass participation of Nigerians during the elections, it would be difficult for them to act funny.
Governor Wike said that Rivers State has no reason to vote Buhari because he has not executed a single project in the state.
In his address, Chairman of Rivers State Civil Society Organisations, Sotonye George, called for peaceful and credible polls. He charged INEC to avoid partisanship so that the votes of the people can count. He also called on security agencies to be professional in the discharge of the duties during the elections.
George stated that the State needs Neighbourhood Safety Corps Agency for the protection of lives and property. They urged the Rivers State Government to operationalise the agency, despite the attempt by the Nigerian Army to frustrate the scheme.
Meshac Uyi of the Integrity Group commended the Rivers State Governor for his achievements in the area infrastructural development and urged him to tackle certain environmental challenges.
Rivers State Commissioner for Budget and Economic Planning, Isaac Kamalu said that the interactive session was convened for the governor and the Civil Society Organisations to chart a new direction for the sustained development of Rivers State.
Highpoint of the occasion was the presentation of an award to Governor Wike for his outstanding developmental strides by the Civil Society Organisations.