Governor Nyesom Wike on Tuesday said those who rig elections deserve more punishment than armed robbers because election riggers deny the people their mandate to earn good governance.
Wike, addressing Prof. Stephen Okodudu, Acting Vice-Chancellor (VC), University of Port Harcourt (UNIPORT) at Government House, Port Harcourt, Rivers state, also chided lecturers at UNIPORT for destroying the glory of the varsity by indulgence in mainstream politics.
He said, “Rigging of election is worse than armed robbery. It is better to punish such people more because they have denied the people their mandate and benefits of good governance.”
He told the newly appointed UNIPORT Acting VC that, “It is appalling that the appointment of a VC for the institution is also immersed in such political consideration. That is why there is impasse in the emergence of a substantive VC. Politics has penetrated the institution.
“The position of a VC used to be based on merit. The consideration now is different. Every VC wants to align with a politician or is appointed because of such affiliation. In turn, he recruits willing lecturers who will be used to manipulate the electoral process.
“Such trend is destroying the university system. It distracts from the core business of teaching. After manipulating the outcome of an election, you will turn around to say leaders are not doing anything.
“You make it possible for bad leaders to emerge and you bemoan their inefficiency in office. How can you exonerate yourselves from such leadership?”
He charged Okodudu to lead restoration of the glory of UNIPORT, recalling that the varsity used to be one of the best in academics, character moulding and leadership in the country.
“We want the glory of the school restored to what it used to be. My Commissioner for Commerce whose husband lectures in UNIPORT informed me about that bad section of the East-West Road. I quickly sent the State Road Maintenance Agency to fix it”, he said.
The Acting VC, appointed to serve for six months within which he is expected to restore peace, told Wike that machinery has already been set in motion to achieve the objective, thanking the Governor for doggedness in providing quality infrastructure to develop the state including several supports to UNIPORT.