Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike has declared that the major
challenges that characterised the 2019 General Elections would have been
averted if President Muhammadu Buhari had assented to the amended
Speaking during a Courtesy Visit by the Political Team from the British
High Commission at the Government House Port Harcourt on Tuesday,
Governor Wike said that the amended Electoral Act will legitimise the
card reader and strengthen the process of result Collation.
He said: “If the President had assented to the amended Electoral Act,
we wouldn’t have had the kind of problem we had.
“That means that there must be card reader in the Electoral Process. In
that case, it makes it difficult for security agencies who want to
commit electoral fraud to succeed “.
The Governor said that with the card reader given legal teeth, it would
play a key role in the results that would emerge and discourage
“With the card reader, results that don’t tally with accredited figures
in the device will not be accepted. Since the card reader is not in the
law, it creates the loopholes for them to manipulate.
“They created the room where some security agencies tried to force
Returning Officers to sign result sheets. Remember in Rivers State,
the Army took over the INEC Headquarters. The essence of that was to
see that the Returning Officers were hijacked for fraudulent purposes.
“But if the card reader was legitimised in the Electoral Act, it would
not have been possible, because the only acceptable result would be the
one that tallies with the Card Reader. I have always said to Mr
President that in the interest of the country, let us do the right
thing. Let us not politicise everything “, he said
While saying that the amended Electoral Act when signed into law will
restore confidence in the Electoral System, Governor Wike called for
the de-militarization of the nation’s democracy.
He said: “We should reduce the militarisation during elections. It is
unfortunate that instead of Police, the Army takes over our elections,
with flimsy excuses.
“What happened in Rivers State is an eye-opener. Bringing in the Army
every time is not the solution. The police should be allowed to do
their job. INEC should be truly independent.
“In the case of Rivers State, we must commend INEC for being assertive.
If they were not assertive, I don’t know where we would have been”.
Governor Wike urged the Independent National Electoral Commission to be
truly Independent, adding that the appointment of INEC leadership
should not completely be in the hands of the Federal Government as
suggested by the Uwais report.
The Governor said that the issues of security should not be politicised
as is the case. He noted that politicisation of security has led to
insecurity in all states of the Federation.
He said that Rivers State has suffered the politicisation of security
as the Nigerian Army clamped down on the State Neighbourhood Safety
Corps Agency at its training site at the NYSC Camp, even though the
Agency was modeled after that of Lagos State. He noted that the Rivers
State Government will go ahead with the Neighbourhood Safety Corps
Agency and urged the British Government to provide technical support.
Governor Wike stated that State Police is key to tackling insecurity
across the country.
“But before the implementation of State Police, the revenue sharing
formula of the country must be reviewed. The Federal Government should
have less resources because they have lesser responsibilities “, he
Governor Wike reiterated that oil bunkering is fueled by the connivance
and participation of security agencies.
“Security agencies are involved in oil bunkering. That is why you see
so many security agents struggling to be posted to the Niger Delta. Oil
bunkering has negatively affected our security and environment”, he
In his remarks, the Deputy Head of Political Section/First Secretary,
British High Commission, Stuart Gardner congratulated Governor Wike on
his well deserved victory, noting that the British Government was
interested in his views on the 2019 General Elections.
He regretted that the last elections were marred by violence and said
that steps must be taken to stem the tide of violence during the 2023