Except the international community takes a decisive action to ensure a free and fair polls in Nigeria in 2023, opposition leaders do not appear to have confidence in President Muhammadu Buhari conducting a credible election in the country.
President Buhari has been promising free and fair elections. But, one of the front line Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) chieftains, Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State is skeptical about any promise from the All Progressives Congress (APC) administration.
As a result, he has started to persuade the United Nations and other world bodies to take serious interest in the next elections cycle in Nigeria by exerting intense diplomatic pressure on President Buhari to conduct a free and fair elections in 2023.
Governor Wike took advantage of a working visit by UN’s Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator, Edward Kallon, at the Government House in Port Harcourt, to urge agencies of the global body to continue to advocate for a free, fair and transparent electoral process in Nigeria.
Speaking through his deputy, Ipalibo Harry-Banigo, Governor Wike said Rivers believes that strengthening democratic Institutions was the way to go, adding, “in all our activities, we always operate democratically. In the last two Local Government elections we have had, we had inclusiveness of women not only as Vice Chairmen, but also councillors.
“We believe strongly that we have to support democratic institutions in Nigeria, and demonstrate it here in Rivers State, where we have the opportunity to do it, and also to develop strong institutions in education, health, infrastructure and in human capital development.”
He, however, expressed regrets that at a time when the country was moving on digital form, she could not pass an electronic transmission of results, which, according to him, would curb insecurity in the country.
“Like you have rightly said, this country has a good role to play in the West African scene. We are condemning what is happening in Guinea. We spoke against what is happening in Mali so we have to demonstrate it here. We cannot allow this country to go into 2023 elections, without the electronic voting passed as a Bill; we cannot.
“Please, use whatever advocacy level you can use. I think this is the time to speak loud and clear, because the stability of a democratic nation all over the world is based on its electoral proces. And if the electoral process continues to be insincere and continues to be non-transparent, there cannot be any peace”, the Rivers governor said.
Continuing, he said his PDP administration was interested in the socio-economic development of Rivers people, and accordingly expressed delight for the partnership between the state government and the UN.
He commended the UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator and his team for their selfless service in the state. In his remarks Kallon said his visit to Rivers was to reinforce the partnership between the world body and the Rivers state Government.
According to him, such partnership will address the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and accelerate implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals to build back better; and continue to create durable solutions for economic transformation in the State, adding that several UN agencies have on-going programmes in Rivers State.
The UN envoy also commended Governor Wike for his administration’s commitment to better the lots of the Rivers people.