Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, has urged United Nations and other world bodies to ensure that President Muhammadu Buhari to conduct free and fair elections in 2023.
Wike made this call during a Working visit by the United Nations Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator, Edward Kallon, at the Government House in Port Harcourt.
Wike, who spoke through his Deputy, Ipalibo Harry-Banigo, said Rivers State believes that strengthening democratic Institutions was the way to go as he urged the international organisation to advocate for a free, fair and transparent electoral process in Nigeria.
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.”
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 process. And if the electoral process continues to be insincere and continues to be non-transparent, there cannot be any peace.”
In his remarks, the United Nations Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Nigeria, Edward Kallon, said his visit to Rivers State was to reinforce the partnership between the United Nations and the Rivers State Government.
He said such partnership, at present, will address the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and accelerate the 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.