Nyesom Wike, governor of Rivers state, has alleged that the delay in the passage of the electoral act amendment bill is a ploy by the All Progressives Congress (APC) to manipulate the 2023 elections.

 

Speaking in an interview on Channels Television on Tuesday, Wike said the delay in the passage of the bill is a strategy of the ruling party to influence future elections.

 

The electoral act amendment bill was initially introduced in the eighth national assembly under the leadership of Bukola Saraki, but President Muhammadu Buhari declined assent three consecutive times.

 

In the ninth senate, the bill was reintroduced but has witnessed a series of postponements.

 

Earlier this month, Kabiru Gaya, chairman of the senate committee on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), said the electoral act amendment bill will be passed by the national assembly in the second quarter of 2021.

 

On Tuesday, a coalition of civil society organisations asked the national assembly to ensure the speedy passage of the electoral bill ahead of the 2021 Democracy Day celebrations.

 

Reacting to the development, Wike said he is surprised that Buhari has not shown interest in the passage of the bill by the national assembly.

 

The Rivers governor said the electoral bill will ensure that there are credible elections in 2023, adding that the APC is scared of credible and fair polls.

 

“This government does not want to give Nigeria credible elections in 2023. Why will they want to give Nigeria a credible election in 2023? They know very clearly that with the way things stand today, Nigerians have lost confidence in this government,” he said.

 

“No reasonable Nigerian will say I want this APC government to come back in 2023. And therefore, what we do to make sure there is no credible election is to make sure we do not allow this amendment of the electoral act that ought to give us a credible, free and fair election.

 

“So that they will be able to manipulate the 2023 elections. It is very clear. I’m surprised Mr President will not even champion it to say ‘look I promised Nigeria that one thing I must leave in office even before anything’; ‘I must give Nigeria, free and credible elections’.

 

 “You see, national assembly, they say one thing here today, one thing here tomorrow. All these things are strategies of the ruling party to deny Nigerians in 2023 of having a free, fair and credible election.”