By Ernest Chinwo in Port Harcourt
The Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike has accused the Independent National Electoral Commission ( INEC)Â and the police of being responsible for electoral fraud in the country.
He said if the two agencies play by the electoral rules, elections would be credible and peaceful.
Wike spoke at the Government House, Port HarcourtÂ TuesdayÂ when the new INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) for the state, Mr Obo Effanga, paid him a courtesy visit.
While urging INEC to conduct credible polls in 2019, the governor said conflicts arise from elections when INEC fails to do the right thing and bow to the pressure of politicians from the ruling party.
He charged the REC to resist any attempt by leaders of the All Progressives Congress (APC)-led federal government to prevail on him to rig the elections on their behalf.
He said: “If you resist it and conduct free and fair elections, every elected officer will have no choice but to perform.Â If the person does not perform, the person knows that re-election will be difficult.
“You should use this opportunity to avert electoral crisis in Rivers StateÂ by conducting credible elections.Â We are heightening projects delivery because we want to build the confidence of the people that their mandate is not taken for granted.Â If we are relying on INEC, we will not work for the people.”
He said the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Rivers State would not bring any pressure on INEC because of the high performance of his administration.
“We don’t have any pressure to bring to you. We have no business to pressurise you. Our business is on the field.Â To work for the people.
“Those who are doing nothing, but who believe they are in power and they must rig elections are those that will bring pressure to you. Resist that pressure and conduct credible polls,” he toldÂ Effanga.
Wike alleged that the former Rivers INEC REC Aniedi Ikiowak was used by the APC federal government to steal the people’s mandate and print fake electoral materials.
“If you rig elections here, anywhere you go, you will not find peace in your life.Â If you do the right thing, peace will be abundant in your life,” he said.
The governor said that Rivers people, Christians and traditional worshippers are praying fervently against election riggers ahead of the 2019 elections.
He regretted the deceitful nature of INEC and its refusal to place sanctions on Akin Fakorede, despite indictingÂ him for electoral fraud.
Earlier, the new Rivers INEC REC, Effanga, assured the governor that the commission would conduct credible polls in the state.
He urged politicians and other stakeholders to play by the rules and support the process for credible polls.
“We are 248 days to the 2019. INEC is committed to credible polls.Â But credible elections depend on so many factors including the stakeholders.Â We expect the stakeholders to play by the rules,” he said.
Effanga said that the state has more than three million registered voters, while 2,172, 467 voters have collected their permanent voters cards.