Governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike, says amendment of the Electoral Act by the National Assembly will be a mere charade if card reader is not to be used to determine the validity of every vote cast.
The governor observed that several attempts to achieve a credible electoral reform had been mired by overriding personal ambition of persons with vested political interest within and outside the National Assembly.
Governor Wike, who made this assertion during an interview on Channels Television in Port Harcourt, said because most National Assembly members were often preoccupied about the next election, they tended to skew the electoral amendment Act to benefit their interest and that of their political party.
“Why didn’t the president sign the last amendment Electoral Act, why? Because APC as a party had informed the president that if you sign this electoral amendment, you are likely to lose the election. Therefore, don’t sign it. And of course, the president did not sign the electoral amendment Act.
“I am not carried away by the antics of the National Assembly. They all know what will make the country to move forward. One, make the election to be transparent by ensuring that all votes are counted. You can achieve that by allowing the card reader to function so that the figures recorded on the card reader should tally with the transmitted figures.”
On the appointment of new Service Chiefs, the governor advised them to shun politics and concentrate on strategy that will enable them to expeditiously end insurgency in the country .
Governor Wike noted that many Nigerians had lost confidence in the former Service Chiefs, thus, the clamour for President Muhammadu Buhari to sack them.
Governor Wike who applauded the president for eventually listening to the cry of the citizens, advised the new Service Chiefs to preoccupy themselves by mapping out strategy that improve the security architecture of the country.
“They must understand that challenges are enormous and so they have a lot of work to do. They should not concern themselves with politics. Part of the problem we had with former Service Chiefs was that they were involved in politics. Instead of concentrating on the security of the nation, they were very much involved in politics. Nobody can deny that fact. The moment you politicise security, then you are bound to have problems.”
Governor Wike accused former Chief of Army Staff, General Tukur Yusuf Buratai of political bias.
To buttress this, he cited the arrest and detention of recruits of the Rivers State Neighbourhood Watch Safety Corps who were undergoing training at the National Youth Service Corp orientation camp at Norwan in Rivers State by the Nigerian Army on the directive of the then Chief of Army Staff.
“So many states were setting up their own security outfit, the Chief of Army Staff, (General Buratai) allowed it. He never for one day said look we cannot allow this. But, he allowed it. When Rivers State by law set Neighbourhood Watch to give intelligence to security agencies, the former Chief of Staff, General Buratai came into politics. Even when we wrote to the Army, we wrote to the Police. The police and Department of States Services were the one training the people.”
He urged the new Service Chiefs to bear in mind that though they were appointed by the president, their oath of office and oath of allegiance was to obey the Constitution of Nigeria.
The governor described as erroneous President Buhari’s claim that the security situation in the country had improved far beyond what the situation was when he assumed office in 2015.
“Things have gone very bad. Everybody knows that insecurity has reached the level where everybody was saying change the service chiefs. If it was good, nobody will call for their sack. Even in his party, the APC said the insecurity has gotten to a level we cannot bear again.”
Governor Wike pointed out that despite the withdrawal of $1 billion, estimated to be above N450 billion from the Excess Crude Account to procure armament to fight the insurgents, security had continued to deteriorate.