Joe Effiong, Uyo
All Progressives Congress (APC) has asked for the redeployment of the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) in Akwa Ibom State, Mike Igini, as the commission prepares to conduct a senatorial election re-run in Akwa Ibom North West.
The Appeal Court, sitting in Calabar, had ordered a re-run in one of the 10 local government areas of Ikot Ekpene Senatorial District between Chris Ekpenyong of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Godswill Akpabio of APC.
APC, through its forum of APC aspirants, however, addressed a press conference last Saturday, re-echoing the party’s initial call for the redeployment of the REC as a condition to be part of the re-run.
The forum Coordinator, Chris Enoch and Political Advisor, Emaeyak Ukpong, while addressing newsmen said Igini should be redeployed before the conduct of the rerun election “to pave way for a free and fair poll.”
The forum claimed that undue romance by the REC with PDP candidates during the 2019 general election was reason for the demand
“The outcome of the general election in Akwa Ibom, largely acclaimed as far below international standard, has created deep suspicion and loss of faith in the electoral body to conduct the re-run under Igini as resident electoral commissioner,” the forum said
It also alleged preferential treatment of the PDP and its stakeholders by the electoral body under Igini, which, according to the forum, was manifestly demonstrated during the pre-2019 general election enlightenment and interaction meeting at Ibom Hall and the state INEC’s commissioner public outburst and media war against APC as part of reasons for the call.
The group said Igini’s post-election utterances clearly demonstrated the inert hatred and disgust he nursed against APC as a party and some of its principal actors.
‘’It is worthy of note that on the heel of the Appeal Court judgment on the case of Akpabio, APC candidate in the 2019 elections for the Akwa Ibom North West Senatorial District against the judgment of the tribunal in which Akpabio got a favourable ruling, INEC spokesperson issued a statement in which Akpabio was vilified and frontally accused of having sponsored thuggery during the election, a claim the electoral body has not and cannot substantiate.
“Such wild allegations are capable of poisoning the minds of the electorate against Akpabio in his local government area of Essien Udim where the re-run has been ordered by the appellate court which is very crucial and strategic to Akpabio’s victory.
“In any electoral contest as witness in advanced- democracies, gallant losers and magnanimous victors are bound to emerge at the end of the exercise, but this is only possible in a seamless, rancour-free contest impartially supervised by an unbiased and uncompromising umpire passionately guided by the rules of the game and personal morals and ethics.
“On the basis of the forgoing, the confidence and trust in which electorate in the state held the REC has been completely eroded and was mere gratuitous given the acclaimed integrity of INEC at the national level; we members of APC Aspirant Forum hereby call for the immediate redeployment of Igini and a new one that would inspire confidence in the electorate preparatory to the conduct of free, fair credible and acceptable re-run election be posted to the state,” the forum said.