Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, has described the nomination of President Muhammadu Buhari’s aide, Lauretta Onochie, as an INEC Commissioner, as a sign of desperation by the president and the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) to impose her on Nigerians.
Wike who spoke on Monday at the presentation of the sixth year scorecard of his second tenure in office at the Obi Wali International Conference Centre in Port Harcourt, added that if the APC-controlled National Assembly goes ahead to confirm Onochie’s nomination, it would mean a bad omen for the nation’s democracy.
Wike noted that Onochie, whose nomination has received a barrage of criticism, is a strong APC faithful, alleging that appointing her INEC’s national commissioner would be to rig the 2023 general election.
“For goodness sake, the nomination and desperation of President Buhari and the All Progressives Congress (APC)-controlled National Assembly to foist an invalid Ms. Lauretta Onoche on Nigerians as INEC’s national Commissioner is a bad omen for our democracy.
“By any standards, the most fundamental consideration against the appointment of an electoral umpire in a democracy is the likelihood of bias, which in this case, is heavily weighted against Ms. Onochie, as a notorious and repulsively partisan dye-in-the-wool member of the APC.
“Despite the flood of protests against her nomination and the general lack of trust in our 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,” the governor said.
He also called on Buhari to withdraw Onochie’s nomination for posterity to avoid creating more credibility problems for INEC.
“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.”