BY CHUKWUMA NNAM
Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State has warned President Muhammadu Buhari not to instal his former aide, Ms Lauretta Onochie as INEC commissioner, adding that her emergence would spell doom for Nigeria’s democracy.
He urged him to withdraw her nomination as national commissioner of the Independent National Electoral Commission.
Governor Wike stated this during the presentation of a six years progress report to mark the second year of his second tenure as governor.
It was held at the Obi Wali Internation Conference Center in Port Harcourt on Monday.
He said: “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 Onochie 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.
“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 Onochie’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”