Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike of Rivers State at the International Conference held at Obi Wali International Conference, Port Harcourt, on Thursday, with the theme: “Deepening Democratic Culture and Institutions for Sustainable Development and Security in Nigeria,” noted that defeated contestants in elections hardly believe they lost fairly, and therefore engage in litigation up to the highest court.
The governor stated: “in a democracy, periodic elections are the only legitimate means for the peaceful transfer of power from one party to another.”
He noted that since 1999, Nigeria has had six general election circles, but none was considered substantially clean and fair.”
Wike highlighted: “The outcome of the 2003 general elections was rejected at different levels by the opposition and the losers and litigated up to the Supreme Court. The outcome of the 2007 elections led to protests, riots, the loss of several lives, and the destruction of property in particular sections of the country.”
The governor pointed out President Musa Ya’ardua in 2007 admitted that the process that brought him to power was flawed, and promised undertake electoral reforms.
Wike further noted that the 2011 general election was also a similar experience, that the opposition litigated to the Supreme Court.
The governor had declared “none of the defeated contestants believed they lost fairly and blamed the umpire, the security agencies, and politicians for undermining our democracy with brazen electoral fraud.”
Wike added that the 2015 general election ha marginal improvement with the use of the smart card reader and the emergence of opposition candidates as the winners of the presidential, but was also considered rigged. He further said that the 2019 general election was also “problematic and rejected as highly compromised by the opposition and litigated up to the Supreme Court.”
The governor, thereafter, declared: “In Rivers State, we battled the military in the 2016 and 2019 re-run and general elections with pure courage and determination to secure our victory and retain our mandate with the sweat and blood of innocent citizens.”
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo delivered the keynote address at the conference where he expressed disapproval of policy discontinuity by successors in government.