The Centre for Conflict Investigation and Dialogue has indicted Nyesom Wike, governor of Rivers State, of attempting to compromise the 2019 polls.
In a report, the group accused Wike of utter desperation for power, saying his thirst for power came to the fore during the last elections.
“Mr Wike allegedly deployed foreign diplomats, splashing millions of dollars to undermine the military and the successes recorded during the entire exercise,” Timi Johnson, executive director of the group, said while presenting the report.
“It was gathered that the governor could not stomach the rejection of his overtures and consequently launched a character assassination campaign against the Major General.
“For this reason, the Centre for Conflict Investigation and Dialogue carried out a fact-finding report that was devoid of government interference.
Johnson said his group conducted research into the disagreement between the Nigerian army and the Rivers state government during the 2019 elections.
He said findings showed that the governor approached Jamil Sarham, commander of the 6 division of the Nigerian army, but the general “didn’t hesitate to shun his overtures for the greater good of the nation”.
“It was reliably gathered by our team of researchers from sources in Rives state government house that after the elections, the Governor vowed to pay the Army Commander in his coin for having the audacity not to work for his plan as the governor of the state,” Johnson said.
After concluding the investigation, the Centre made some recommendations, chiefly among them that:
“The governor consequently launched several campaigns of calumny against the army commander. Sources added that several millions of naira had been earmarked for the execution of the project. Part of the ploy is that the governor would grant media briefings both in print and radio to continue to discredit the Army commander before the eyes of unsuspecting members of the public.
“After a careful analysis of the events the characterized the elections in Rivers state, this report was able to identify that the crux of the disagreement between the Nigerian Army and the Rivers state government was centred principally on the insistence of the Nigerian Army to be neutral and fair to all during the elections in line with the mandate given to it by the Army hierarchy.
“The Rivers State government attempted to pitch the population against the Nigerian Army by propounding that the Nigerian Army was carrying out the scrip of a former governor in the state and said to be against the interest of the state. All of these indeed made the operations of the Nigerian Army in Rivers state during the elections an extremely difficult one.
“It is therefore highly recommended that the Nigerian Human Rights Commission should investigate the state-sponsored violence during the elections in River state and those found guilty are brought to book and compensation paid to families of those that lost their lives.
“The infiltration of arms in Rivers state is also alarming, and it is consequently advised that the police be mandated to begin the process of mopping up these arms from the possession of the political thugs in the state.”