APC group accuses Akwa Ibom INEC of partiality, seeks officials’ redeployment
Akwa Ibom State chapter of the Forum of Aspirants of All Progressives Congress (APCAF) has accused officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) of partiality and urged its national headquarters to redeploy them before conducting any rerun elections in the state.
Speaking in Uyo yesterday, state Coordinator of the group and APC aspirant for Etinan/Nsit Ubium/Nsit Ibom Federal constituency seat in the 2019 election, Dr. Chris Enoch said their position stemmed from an alleged preferential treatment the state’s Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Mike Igini was according the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state.
He, therefore, expressed lack of confidence in the electoral umpire under Igini to conduct the re-run elections without bias.
He also alleged that Igini’s post-election comments demonstrated his aversion for APC and its chieftains, particularly Godswill Akpabio, who was the party’s candidate in the 2019 Akwa Ibom North-West Senatorial District election.
“It is noteworthy that on the heels of the Appeal Court judgement in the case of Akpabio, in which he (Akpabio) got a favourable ruling, INEC’s spokesman in the state issued a statement in which Akpabio was vilified and accused of having sponsored thuggery during the election on Igini’s directive.
“Such accusation smacks of an agenda to poison the minds of the electorate against Akpabio in his Essien Udim Council Area in which the rerun has been ordered by the appellate court and which is strategic to Akpabio’s victory and his final emergence as the Senator.
“INEC’s strategy in that press statement was simply pre-emptive and to spoil Akpabio’s chances. This further buttressed the belief that INEC in Akwa Ibom State holds Akpabio in utter disdain,” the statement reads.
Enoch added that INEC’s statement was also a prelude to a biased conduct of the rerun election in favour of Akpabio’s opponent.
He insisted that in advanced democracies gallant losers and magnanimous victors emerge at the end of electoral contest only in a seamless, rancour-free contest impartially supervised by an unbiased and uncompromised umpire guided by the rules of the game, personal morals and ethics.
“No sane institution would allow Igini and his officials at the Akwa Ibom State INEC to conduct further elections in Akwa Ibom, particularly if APC candidates are involved in the contest.
“We are saying that if these same people are allowed to conduct the rerun election, we cannot expect any positive outcome from that exercise. We, therefore, recommend that INEC should take commensurate action to inculcate some sense of patriotism and transparency in Igini,” the statement added.