We’re ready for council polls Saturday, says AKISIEC
• A’Ibom indigenes doubt viability of coconut refinery
• Militant group urges gov to stop tampering with council funds
The Akwa Ibom State Independent Electoral Commission (AKISIEC) has reiterated its readiness to conduct a credible local election in the state on Saturday.
The AKISIEC, which urged eligible voters to come out and vote and refuse to sell their conscience through vote-selling and vote-buying, said that eight political parties were ready to participate in the election.
Its Chairman, Elder Aniedi Ikoiwak, who spoke with The Guardian, stressed that there would be no issues of “he who pays the piper, dictates the tune.”
He said that the expectation of the commission was to conduct free and fair elections, urging eligible voters to come out and vote for candidates/political parties of their choice.
Ikoiwak, who disclosed that the commission did not disqualify any political party and neither did any party withdraw from the election, said that some political parties disqualified themselves by not providing their running mates according to the law within stipulated time.
MEANWHILE, indigenes of Akwa Ibom State have expressed doubt over the viability of the coconut refinery project initiated by the Governor Udom Emmanuel-led administration.
Some experts, who spoke with The Guardian on the condition of anonymity, said the government did not carry out a proper soil analysis to ascertain the suitability of the soil for coconut growth and survival.
They also berated the government for not engaging relevant government agencies and promoters of the project to undertake adequate supervision of the plantation.
IN another development, a militant group, Niger Delta Liberation Force (NDLF), has asked Governor Emmanuel to desist from tampering with funds allocated to the 31 local councils of Akwa Ibom State.
It also advised the governor to steer clear of the management of the 13 per cent oil derivation fund, and demanded immediate establishment of Akwa Ibom State Oil Producing Development Commission to manage the fund.
The NDLF asked paramount rulers and other categories of traditional rulers not to dabble into matters relating to oil firms and compensation to host communities in the state.
The Akwa Ibom State Commander of the NDLF, Captain Victor Eyoh, in a statement in Uyo, at the weekend, said the demands of the group were in the best interest of the state.
But the state government, through the Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Iniobong Ememobong, said the governor had never interfered with local council funds.
Ememobong said that the 13 per cent oil derivation fund was part of the funds, which accrued to oil producing states and constitutionally managed by state governors.
He urged the NDLF to rather press for resource control, including solid minerals.