Governor Nyesom Wike says President Muhammadu Buhari’s nomination as INEC national commissioner is part of APC’s grand plans to rig the 2023 elections.
The Rivers governor, who spoke at an event to commemorate his six years in office held in Port Harcourt on Monday, said Mr Buhari and his APC cohorts’ refusal to withdraw Ms Onochie’s nomination was ominous.
“Despite the floods of protest against her nomination and the general lack of trust in her capacity to remain impartial, it seems the APC-led Senate is determined to confirm her appointment as part of their grand design to rig the 2023 general elections well ahead of time,” Mr Wike claimed.
He also warned that appointing Ms Onochie, a former APC member, would worsen INEC’s credibility crisis. She was nominated as INEC commissioner last October.
“As a governor and concerned Nigerian who wants this country so much and wants our democracy to survive,” said Mr Wike, “I wish to appeal to Mr President for the sake of legacy withdraw Miss Onochie’s nomination to avoid creating more credibility problems for INEC and restore confidence in our electoral system.”
Appearing before the Senate committee on INEC on Thursday, Ms Onochie denied being an APC member.
“Since Buhari was elected as president for the second term, I have removed myself from everything about politics. Since 2019, I don’t have anything to do with politics. As I am sitting down here, I am not a member of any political party in this country,” she told the committee.
On Sunday, ex-INEC chairman Attahiru Jega advised Mr Buhari to find another woman to replace Lauretta Onochie because she lacks credibility.
“From some of the documents I have been privileged to see, both her British citizenship and also her belonging to a political party until 2019, if we believe she had disengaged from the party since 2019, you will try to avoid appointing such people into electoral commission because it can create controversy,” Mr Jega stated.
He added, “To be honest, the president can just withdraw her nomination. After all, there are so many other women with credibility, capacity, and competence in Delta state and Cross River state.”