Joe Effiong, Uyo
The Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) for Akwa Ibom State, Mr Mike Igini, has carpeted the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state for allegedly lying that they have been denied access to materials used for the last governorship election in the state.
The legal team of Nsima Ekere, the APC governorship candidate in Akwa Ibom State, had accused the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) of frustrating their case by denying them access to materials used in the election.
The leader of the team, Chief Victor Iyanam, had consequently written to the state Resident Electoral Commissioner, Igini, accusing him of disobeying tribunal orders and bias against Ekere in respect of electoral material inspection.
But Igini in his reaction told our correspondent in Uyo that the APC candidates in the state were only going to the tribunal to be constantly talked about in the press in order to be considered for federal appointments since they know that they have no sincere reasons to contest the results of the last general elections, which he said were free and fair.
The REC said the party’s legal team, after obtaining a court order had approached the commission to inspect the electoral material on April 25, and were asked to come back the next day, an appointment they failed to honour but resorted to issuing press releases and addressing press conferences that they were denied access.
“There are some reasons why people go to the tribunals; one of the reasons is that people who have genuine reason where return that was made should not have been made have reasons to go the tribunal; also contestants in an election that have lost out also go the tribunal first to rationalise defeat; they also go to the tribunal for the purpose of blackmailing those that have been returned with a view to having some form of settlement to defray their personal cost.
“They also go to the tribunal to remain in the media for a long time because by virtue of Section 285, you will need to spend about 180 days in the tribunal and 60 days each in the Court of Appeal and Supreme Court. So, if you still have an intension to contest another election, you remain in the public domain for a very long time.
“And finally, you know on the 29th on this month, there will be exchange of baton; new governors will be sworn in. The president also will have to be sworn in for the second time. There is going to be a cabinet constitution. So you need to make noise in any of your jurisdiction now so that they can hear you.
“In fact, currently, I can tell you, this is the one that is being applied in so many of the states right now. And in this state, I am aware that they are going to up their media engagement as from next week,” Igini said.
He alleged that those crying foul over the last election were the master rigger of elections in the state in the past but that because the commission under him had insisted on making sure votes were counted and they lost out.