Akwa Ibom elections: APC seeks relocation of election tribunals to Abuja

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The All Progressives Congress (APC) in Akwa Ibom has asked the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice to relocate all election tribunals from the state to Abuja.

In a letter by the State chairman of the party, Obong Ini Okopido to the AGF, the APC said the move became necessary in view of plots by the Resident Electoral Commission (REC), Mr. Mike Igini, the state government and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to perpetrate electoral fraud.

Okopido specifically alleged Igini, the state government and the PDP are planning to destroy electoral materials needed to substantiate the election petition of the APC.

”We observe with deep regrets that since Mr. Mike Igini superintended over the worst general elections ever conducted in Akwa Ibom State, that was fraught with manifest irregularities and wide spread electoral infractions, the REC is now unveiling a grand scheme to thwart and create a chaotic environment to pave way for the pervasion of justice.

”We have been reliably informed that the REC is now intimidating electoral officers who participated in the just concluded general elections in the State, particularly, Collation Officers, Supervisory Presiding Officers (SPOs), Presiding Officers (POs) and Assistant Presiding Officers (APOs), handing over their phone numbers to hired assassins and PDP killer squad to forcefully coerce them to concoct and fabricate false reports of violence, ballot paper snatching, all in a bid to justify the clandestine activities of Mr. Mike Igini days after the purported declaration of results, seeing that unit results will expressly show that candidates of the All Progressives Congress clearly won the elections by the votes directly delivered at the polling units across the state.

“This latest action by the leadership of INEC in Akwa Ibom State has vindicated our stand expressed in various fora before the general elections that Mr. Mike Igini is a biased umpire, heavily compromised by the Akwa Ibom State Government to truncate the smooth conduct of free and fair elections.

“We therefore reiterate in unambiguous terms, that INEC under Mr. Mike Igini cannot guarantee credibility and the ethos of fair play as demonstrated with this plot hatched to frustrate the electoral process.”

The Akwa Ibom State APC said the immediate relocation of the elections tribunal to the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja would forestall breakdown of law and order.

The party also reiterated the call for the immediate redeployment of Mr. Mike Igini to pave way for a level-playing field for all parties that partook in the elections.

It also called on security agencies to provide adequate security to all ad-hoc staffs of INEC in the state and properly investigate and bring to book, thugs allegedly paid by the PDP to intimidate or coerce non-yielding election officials.

Reacting to the allegation that he was destroying ballot papers, the Igini said: ”On the allegation that the commission is destroying ballot papers needed to substantiate election petition at the tribunal I challenge anyone to come forth with proof to show where and when such thing happened”.

The REC said it was ridiculous for anyone to link him with electoral fraud, adding he was just an unbiased umpire in the elections and did not play any role in determining who Akwa Ibom voters choose.

”Mike Igini was not in any of the 298 polling units of Akwa Ibom state where elections took place.

“I was not in any of the local government collation centres where the results were collated and announced.

”The people of Akwa Ibom openly expressed their will on whom to govern them through the ballot paper and that was what happened during the elections the people have spoken. My job was only to supervise the elections,” he said.

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