…says Federal Government appoints VCs to rig elections


Five days after the appointment of Prof GEORGEWILL OWUNARY as the Vice Chancellor of the University of Port Harcourt, Governor NYESOM WIKE has opened up on what he thinks about the appointment and those of others VCs across federal universities in the country.

The Rivers State governor accused the Federal Government of appointing compromised academics as federal university VCs, who could be willing to submit names of politically exposed lecturers as returning officers with the aim of rigging elections for the ruling party.

Governor WIKE spoke today, Tuesday July 6, during the ground breaking ceremony for the construction of 9,200 capacity ultramodern convocation arena for the University of Port Harcourt, being constructed by the Rivers State Government.

WIKE, however, warned VCs and lecturers to be wary of attempts by some unscrupulous politicians to use them to manipulate elections.

He declared that those contemplating to rig elections in Rivers would be treated as coup plotters.

He said: “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 governor said the reason for jostling to become VCs of federal universities was because of political interference by outside forces.

He described as heartrending a situation whereby lecturers, who were supposed to be revered in society, willfully compromised their integrity, just to become VCs to manipulate elections.

“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”.

He advised desperate politicians in the ruling party not to dent the integrity of the university system because of their inordinate ambition.

Wike warned that any VC that allowed himself to be used to rig election in Rivers State, should be prepared for the consequences of such an act.

According to the governor: “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, I will rob you mud.”

The governor declared that 2023 general election would be completely different from the 2019 election, insisting that attempts to prevent transmission of election results electronically would be resisted.

“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”.

Chairman of the Governing Council of the university, Senator Andrew Uchendu applauded Wike for laying the foundation for what would be the best, iconic convocation arena in West Africa.

Performing the inauguration of the new convocation arena, the immediate past Vice Chancellor of the University, Prof. NDOWA LALE said WIKE’s decision to construct the new convocation arena was a further demonstration that he had a heart to add value to the institution.

He declared that history would be kind to Wike because he had deliberately worked conscientiously for public good.

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