7 July 2021
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Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, has said only compromised academics, willing to submit names of politically exposed lecturers as returning officers to rig elections for the ruling party, are being appointed as Vice Chancellors of Federal universities.
Wike warned vice chancellors and lecturers to be wary of attempts by some unscrupulous politicians to use them to manipulate elections.
He vowed that those contemplating to rig elections in Rivers State would be treated as a coup plotter.
The Governor stated this during the foundation laying ceremony for the construction of 9,200 capacity ultramodern convocation arena of the University of Port Harcourt, sponsored by the Rivers State Government on Tuesday.
Wike’s warning was contained in a statement issued by his Special Assistant on Media, Kelvin Ebiri titled ‘ ‘Vice chancellors now appointed to rig elections for APC’ and made available to mews men in Port Harcourt.
The statement quoted Governor Wike as saying, “Let me warn, not one person will dare to rig election in Rivers State. Not one person will dare it. I have told people, allow university community to produce those who will be leaders of this country.
“Don’t turn university community to be where you will have politicians who manipulate and change the mandate of the people. Anybody who does that, you know it is a coup and you know the punishment for coup plotters,” the statement said.
The governor insisted that the reason there was so much tussle these days on who becomes vice chancellor of federal universities, was because of political interference by extraneous forces.
He said, “These days, you see a lecturer, a PhD holder, a professor ready to soil his name, to allow himself to be kidnapped and taken somewhere to sign result and to declare somebody who did not win election winner.
“If you want to play politics with us, I will rub you mud. If you want to join us (politicians), openly come and join us. But if you want to hide under the university.”
“INEC knows that they have to be prepared in 2023. And that is why we will resist any attempt for anybody to manipulate the amendment of the Electoral Act, to say that election results will not be transmitted electronically. That will not happen. If you want the vote of the people to count, the result must be transmitted electronically,” Wike added.
The Acting Vice Chancellor of University of Port Harcourt, Professor Stephen Okodudu commended Governor Wike for consistently identifying with the ideals and aspiration of the university.
However, APC spokesman for Rivers State, Ogbonna Nwuke dismissed the governor’s allegations.
In a statement sent to our correspondent, Nwuke said, “It is amazing that a man who ought to be responsible, rational and disciplined would utter these uncouth words.
“It is not the APC which was caught bribing a handful of electoral officials with N360, 000, 000 in order to win an election.
“It is not the APC which has been gifting some of the judges in Rivers State in order to pervert their minds and aide his shameless reliance on technicalities to earn victory.”
“The APC is not aware that Vice Chancellors manipulate elections that they did not conduct.
“Wike has just revealed that he has been in the habit of doctoring lists from friendly VCs in the past in order to win elections.
“In that case, he needs to be treated as a coupist for stealing the mandate of Rivers people just as a police investigation has proved.”