By Ernest Chinwo in Port Harcourt
Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, has declared that Nigeria would be heading for disaster if the Professor Mahmood Yakubu-led Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is allowed to conduct the 2019 general elections in the country.
He said the commission was working assiduously to create crisis in the country judging from its performance in the rerun elections it has handled in Rivers state and elsewhere in the country.
In an exclusive interview in Port Harcourt, Wike said the INEC as constituted had not shown any commitment to conducting any free and fair elections in the country.
He said the commission had shown that it wanted to cause crisis in the state by setting up a committee to review the elections it had cancelled in the March 19 rerun elections in the state.
His words: “You see, I don’t understand why people like to cause crisis. You can see that INEC deliberately wants to cause crisis in Rivers State. Whether people want to use INEC to cause crisis to achieve what they have failed to achieve in the election, I do not know. I ponder how a reasonable organisation can do what they are trying to do.
“On 19th March, 2016, around 1pm in the afternoon, INEC announced that it had cancelled eight local government areas results. Those, local governments are Andoni, Bonny, Gokana, Khana, Eleme, Tai, Asaritoru, and Etche Local Government areas. But those that were conclusive, they declared.
“Now after two months, INEC has set up a review committee to wthe cancellations that it had made and from the reports we got, we know where they are heading to and we cannot allow them. We want to stop INEC from causing crisis in the state. And I can tell you, the way this INEC is going, I don’t know what will happen to 2019 election in Nigeria.”
He declared that he had lost confidence in the commission as it has not shown any commitment to free and fair elections but is taking sides with the rival All Progressives Congress (APC).
He said, “This INEC, I have no faith in them. I have no confidence in them. They have not shown that they want to conduct a free and fair election in Nigeria.
We are not saying that they must be perfect, no election can be 100 per cent perfect but there are things you do that will make people believe you want to succeed.
“Look at; they (APC) went to the tribunal and this was what we were shouting, these people had result sheets. Look at them now bringing out different result sheets from what INEC had. The issue is who gave them these result sheets. That was why we resisted that those result sheets should not enter. Now we have been proved right: this INEC, with all due respect to them, have no focus.
“INEC wants to destabilise the country and we must be careful. If this INEC stays to conduct 2019 election, I am afraid, I am afraid, I am afraid if this INEC conducts 2019 election, then it will be to your tents o Israel. This INEC that has a history of inconclusive elections, I am afraid that Nigeria will be heading to something else with this INEC.”
He expressed worry that one year after general elections, Rivers State still did not have representatives in the Senate of the Federal Republic and said INEC was exacerbating the situation by not fixing a date for elections in the areas it cancelled elections.
He explained: “That is what we are talking about. We are worried. That is what we are saying: why can’t you (INEC) fix a date to conclude the elections? What INEC is doing is to manipulate; and I have said it: if you manipulate you manipulate yourself. We cannot continue like this. They say I threaten, who wants to cause crisis? Is it not INEC that wants to cause crisis by changing the mandate of the people.
“You have cancelled an election, is it not now for you to prepare and give us a date to go for an election? You are now trying to bring a new idea so that you will declare something that was cancelled and you want the people to fold their hands and allow you to do it? It is not possible.”