Governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike as has said there is nothing to celebrate as the nation marks its 61st Independence Anniversary on Friday, October 1.
The governor said already those in power are making moves to jeopardise the forthcoming 2023 general elections.
He made the allegation on Sunday during an interdenominational church service in commemoration of the nation’s Independence Anniversary at the Saint Paul’s Anglican Cathedral in Diobu, Port Harcourt.
“Other countries are talking about how their elections will be transparent, we are talking about how we will plot to rig an election in 2023,” the Governor said.
He also raised concerns over why Nigeria is yet to adopt the electronic mode of transmission of election results.
He believes Nigerians should have had a good reason to celebrate the country at 61 if the electoral system is made a little stronger by introducing electronic transmission of results.
“Transmit a result electronically to show the transparency, to show that really the person you are declaring won the election is the problem,” he said.
“I thought by now, we should be talking about how this country will be competing with other developed nations.”
The governor also lamented the societal ills in the country, blaming poor leadership for Nigeria’s challenges.
Wike, therefore, charged Nigerians to take personal responsibility to ensure that the values that will entrench better society are strengthened as the country marks 61 years of independence amid the socio-cultural problems and ethnoreligious intolerance.
According to him, it feels disappointing that Nigeria at 61 years is yet to have truly independent legislative and judicial arms that can check the excesses of the executive, especially in the management of finances.
Speaking further, he lamented that the legislature is not playing its role of holding the executive to account.
He took a swipe at the National Assembly for not checking the excesses of the Federal Government, especially with respect to excessive borrowings.
Wike added, “what are we celebrating about 61 years old? We have a congress (where) anything goes. Where is the legislature? A legislature that cannot speak, a legislature where anything they bring is right?
“A legislature that cannot say that Nigeria has gotten to the age of conducting a free and fair election, a legislature that will close your eye anytime they bring money, borrow you borrow.
“Where are the courts? The courts have been intimidated; the judges have abandoned their responsibilities out of fear of what will happen,” Wike said.