Governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike has stated that President Muhammadu Buhari is afraid of giving assent to the Electoral Act Amendment Bill because it will make his party, the All Progressives Congress to fail in the 2023 general elections.
This assertion was made by Wike at the inauguration of lecture halls, laboratories and offices of the Faculty of Basic Medical Sciences, Bayelsa Medical University in Yenagoa on Saturday.
The governor pointed to the inclusion of the compulsory transmission of electoral results electronically in the Electoral Act Amendment Bill as the APC’s greatest fear.
This was contained in a statement by the Special Assistant to the Governor on Media, Kelvin Ebiri, which was made available to journalists in Port Harcourt.
“They are afraid that if INEC in 2023 transmits election results electronically, that is their end, because they know they will fail,” the statement quoted Wike as stating.
The governor wondered why the APC controlled Federal Government was always seeking excuses to justify Buhari’s unwillingness to sign into law what would advance the country’s electoral process.
He explained that in 2019, the President declined assent, because the compulsory use of the card reader was included, which was seen as capable of dimming his party’s chances of winning the elections.
Wike said the President also recently declined assent to the Electoral Act Amendment Bill on the basis that the National Assembly included direct primaries and that a serving minister had to resign to qualify to contest for elections.
He stated, “Every time this government and this party find an excuse for not signing the Electoral Act. In 2018/2019 when they inserted the card reader in the Electoral Act Amendment Bill, Mr President said no, it is too early, he would not sign, because they knew that if they had used it (card reader) in the 2019 election, it would have been difficult for the APC to have won.
“Now, we are in 2022, going for 2023, the National Assembly in its wisdom said there must be direct primaries by all the parties, Mr President came and said no, put options. The National Assembly in its wisdom has amended the bill and agreed to what Mr President said.
“Now again, Mr President said I’m in a dilemma, I’m consulting. What is the consultation? There is a clause that says if a minister or a commissioner wants to run for election, they have to resign, that is why up till now Mr President cannot assent to the Electoral Act Amendment Bill.”
Wike said these were trivial excuses, because in 2015, he resigned as minister, contested and won the governorship of Rivers State, wondering the basis for the claim that the President was consulting or that he and his party were in a dilemma.
“After all, when I was a minister, I resigned to run for the governorship. I resigned and I won the primaries. So, what is this hullabaloo of not resigning and you keep Nigerians’ fate hanging? Every day, Nigerians are thinking, what is going to be in the future, where are we heading to?” he added.
The governor said it was regrettable that nobody was doing good things for the citizens and the country, adding that Nigeria did not have a National Assembly that had what it takes to do the right thing for the good of the country.
Wike commended the Bayelsa State Governor, Senator Douye Diri, for his development strides as was characteristic of governors elected on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party.
The Rivers governor donated N500m towards the completion of the Faculty of Basic Clinical Sciences building project at the Bayelsa Medical University, which is still at the damp proof course level.
He expressed delight at the courage of Diri in providing such a training institution for medical personnel and noted that in the Niger Delta, there was a need for mutual support while resisting attempts to create division among the states.
Diri said his administration had built on the vision of his predecessors in expanding the university and increasing the programmes of studies to make it one of the best in the country.
In his address, the Vice-Chancellor, Bayelsa Medical University, Yenagoa, Prof Ebitimitula Etebu, said the institution had eight academic programmes in the Faculty of Science and Basic Medical Sciences when it was established in 2018.
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