The Governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike claims that if the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) maintains its current system of conducting free and fair elections, his party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) will take over the much-coveted presidential seat from the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in 2023.
Wike, who stated this at the commissioning of several projects in Rivers State, said he was equally using the occasion to celebrate his 58th birthday,
Currently, the PDP controls 13 states, while the All Progressives Grand Alliance has one with the APC controlling the other 22 states.
In recent months, opposition politicians and civil society organizations have praised INEC for adopting methods like the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System, which is used to certify voters during elections.
The electoral umpire has also been praised for resisting pressure from the ruling APC government at the national level to sway the results of the governorship elections in Edo (September 2020) and Anambra (November 2021), which were won by the PDP and APGA, respectively, despite the presence of APC candidates in both elections.
Wike praised INEC, which is led by Prof Mahmood Yakubu, for standing up to electoral fraud and political intimidation.
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The Rivers governor said, “By the grace of God, PDP will take over (in) 2023…I pray that INEC will continue with the system they have introduced where everybody will go and campaign and people’s votes will count, because when people’s votes count political office holders will now be accountable. When your votes don’t count, political office holders will not be accountable to the people”.
Wike said though the APC in the state “would have the courage to campaign, they still believe that somehow there would be room to manipulate but with the way we are seeing INEC now, I think INEC is very serious and I want to commend them to still be firm and courageous. It is not easy but let them continue to be courageous and give Nigeria the best”.
The governor also stated that after his eight-year term ends in 2023, he will begin the process of selecting his successor, emphasizing that he will not impose any candidate on the people of the state.
He also urged appointees who want to run for governor of Rivers in the next election to resign immediately and not cause a diversion to his administration in the months before his term ends in May 2023.