Ekere, Akpabio, Etiebet accuse INEC of complicity, call for cancellation
The All Progressive Congress (APC) governorship candidate in last Saturday’s elections in Akwa Ibom State, Obong Nsima Ekere, has accused Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) of conniving with its staffers and the Peoples Democratic Party’s government in the state to deny him and his party victory. He made these allegations while addressing journalists in his home in Uyo yesterday.
Ekere alleged that the Resident Electoral Commissioner for the state, Mr. Mike Igini, in partnership with PDP, cheated APC at the collation centres, saying that results from the party’s field agents showed that he won in 26 out of 31 council areas of the state.
The former NDDC Managing Director further alleged that his party had, before the elections, called on the national chairman of INEC to redeploy the state’s REC but all to no avail, stressing that such had not been the practice of the commission since 1999.
He said the results released by his party’s agents showed they won at the units, but were denied victory at the collation centres, promising to explore all necessary means to ensure that the mandate the people of Akwa Ibom gave to APC was recovered at the appropriate time.
According to him, “From the reports we got from the field during the elections, we were speaking with our agents at the 2,809 polling units of Akwa Ibom, and the report we got showed that Akwa Ibom people have embraced change, as they wanted. The result showed that APC won in 26 out of the 31 local government areas of the state. We have results from our agents from the units already to confirm this. What we don’t understand is how Mr. Mike Igini, the state Resident Electoral Commissioner and staffers of INEC, manage the kind of results we are now seeing to come out of the collation centers.
“We noticed with dismay and total disappointment that against the provision of the Electoral Act and the guidelines by INEC, there was no collation in the ward centres. This is against the guidelines of INEC and I will like the commission to explain to Akwa Ibom people and the whole country why he chose to make his own guidelines for the election different from the guidelines release by INEC.
“Interestingly, months before the election, the APC family in Akwa Ibom had expressed a lot of reservations about the character of the state’s REC; we were hoping that INEC chairman and the authority that be had listened and changed the REC, but find it difficult to understand why it was difficult for them to make that change.”
He said the situation was so frustrating for his party, and said that he had no option than to follow his party’s call for the cancellation and rejection of the whole exercise of March 9, 2019.
“I can tell you just as my party had said, we do not accept this,” he stated. “We reject it in its entirety the results that have been announced by Mr. Igini, the Returning Officer for Akwa Ibom people.”
However, Ekere thanked the people of the state for the show of support for his party and himself during the election, assuring that he would reclaim their mandate at the appointed time.
While corroborating the views of Obong Nsima Ekere on the governorship result, Senator Godswill Akpabio and Atuekong Don Etiebet described the governorship and the state assembly elections held last Saturday in the state as sham. They all said that they had endorsed the party’s stand regarding a cancellation and rejection of the results as announced by INEC, but added that at the appropriate time they would explore all legal means to retrieve the party’s mandate as given by Akwa Ibom people.
It would be recalled that in the governorship and state house of assembly results released in the state, PDP won in 25 out of the 26 seats in the House of Assembly, while the incumbent governor Udom Emmanuel defeated APC’s candidate Obong Nsima Ekere by 519, 712 votes as against Ekere’s 171, 978 votes. APC won only in the Essien Udim State Constituency.
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