Rivers State governor Nyesom Wike has alleged that Nigeria president Muhammadu Buhari is not committed to free, fair and credible elections.
Wike said the president intends to use the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and police to rig the 2019 general election.
“It is INEC and security that don’t want us to have peaceful elections in Rivers State,” Wike said in a statement.
“The failure of President Muhammadu Buhari to sign the amended Electoral Act is a sign that the President is not committed to credible polls.”
Buhari declined to assent to the Electoral (Amendment) Bill in December 2018 after rejecting the bill on three previous occasions.
However, the president, at different times, assured Nigerians on free, fair and credible polls in the 2019 general elections, saying the elections are not a ‘do or die’ affair.
But Wike believes Buhari was not truthful to his words for rejecting the electoral act amendment bill.
“He said he wants to leave a legacy of free and fair elections, but he refused to sign the Electoral Act that will facilitate the process,” Wike said.
“If Mr President had signed the Electoral Act, it would have made it difficult to manipulate. But he refused to sign the law.”
He stated that the 2019 general election would have been credible if Buhari signed.
But, Buhari had said the time of his fourth review on the bill was too close to the February 2019 general election.
“I am declining assent to the Bill principally because I am concerned that passing a new Electoral Act his far into the electoral process for the 2019 general election which commenced under the 2015 Electoral Act could create some uncertainty about the applicable legislation to govern the process.”
“Any real or apparent change to the rules this close to the election may provide an opportunity for disruption and confusion in respect of which law governs the electoral process,” Buhari said in a letter to the National Assembly.
Opposition parties and candidates have criticised Buhari’s decline to assent the bill, saying his claims were untrue.
Presidential candidate of the Allied Congress Party of Nigeria (ACPN) Obiageli Ezekwesili said the rejection of the Electoral Act Amendment Bill shows Buhari is against the tenets of democracy.
Also, a former President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) and a chairman of the Coalition of United Political Parties, Olisa Agbakoba (SAN), had also said Buhari lied about his reason for declining assent to the amended electoral bill.