Nyesom Wike, the governor of Rivers State, has urged the United Nations and other international organizations to put pressure on President Muhammadu Buhari (retd.) to hold free and fair elections in 2023.
Wike asked UN agencies, in particular, to continue to fight for Nigeria’s electoral process to be free, fair, and transparent.
Wike made the remarks during a working visit to Government House in Port Harcourt by the United Nations Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator, Edward Kallon.
Rivers State feels that strengthening democratic institutions is the way to go, according to Wike, who stated through his deputy, Ipalibo Harry-Banigo.
He stated, “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.”
The Governor 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.
Wike added, “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.”
Governor Wike, who emphasized that his administration was committed to the socio-economic development of Rivers residents, praised the State Government’s and UN’s collaboration.
He expressed gratitude to the UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator, as well as his team, for their dedicated service in the State.
Edward Kallon, the United Nations Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Nigeria, said her visit to Rivers State aimed to strengthen the relationship between the UN and the state government.
He stated that such a partnership will currently address the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, accelerate the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals to help the country recover, and continue to develop long-term economic transformation solutions in Rivers State, noting that several UN agencies have ongoing programs in the state.
The UN ambassador praised the Governor and his administration for their dedication to improving the lives of the Rivers people.