Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State has declared that with the type of fraud allegedly being perpetrated by the present leadership of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Nigerians should brace up for the theft of electoral mandates in 2019.
He said this while addressing the National Executive Council of the Ijaw National Congress (INC) who paid him a courtesy visit at the Government House, Port Harcourt, on Thursday.
The governor, in a statement issued by his media aide, Simeon Nwakaudu, further said INEC had been manipulating the electoral process in Rivers State because it had been directed to favour a politician (whose name he did not disclose) who allegedly diverted the state funds and used same to sponsor a particular political party.
“If INEC goes on with this type of electoral fraud, then Nigeria is in trouble in 2019. What type of country are we living in when there is open electoral stealing? They want to allocate seats to a man who took our money to sponsor their party. They said they don’t want to embarrass him for giving them our money,” he said.
The governor berated INEC for allegedly attempting to smuggle in a concocted result of Tai Local Government Area, which was one of the eight local government areas where the legislative rerun election was suspended on March 19, 2016.
“It is shocking and embarrassing that, several months after INEC suspended election in eight local government areas, it has come up to concoct fake results for Tai Local Government Area,” he added.
The governor declared that the state would never succumb to the alleged intimidation and blackmail of political authorities who planned to use INEC to impose legislators on the state, adding, “I don’t believe in violence, but nobody should trample upon our rights.”
Speaking on the amnesty programme of his administration, Governor Wike said though repentant cultists and kidnappers would not be offered cash, they would be rehabilitated and reintegrated into the society.
In his remarks, President of the Ijaw National Congress, Alatubo Piriye Harry, commended the governor for his developmental strides, assuring him of the support of Ijaws in the discharge of his mandate to the people.