Fred Itua, Abuja
Ahead of Saturday’s governorship and House of Assembly polls, the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) in Akwa Ibom State, Mr. Mike Igini, has revealed that politicians in the state are mounting pressure on him to do their bidding.
He, however, vowed not to cave in and promised that every vote must count during the elections. Describing himself as an unbiased umpire, who is not expected to take sides with any political actor, Igini assured the electorate that their votes would count. Igini made the remarks in a telephone interview with newsmen, in Abuja, yesterday.
The REC, while calling on security agents to provide adequate protection to electoral officials, promised to provide a level playing field for every actor.
“Those looking for compromise in the process are the ones who are also calling for my removal. Why would you remove a man who says he wants to give everybody equal opportunity, and there is no evidence, so far, of any compromise of any kind because I carry everybody along.
“Here, in Akwa Ibom State, the will of the people, expressed through the ballot, honestly counted at the polling units and declared at the last point of collation, is what will be announced at the last leg of the election.
“If I had compromised, I wouldn’t have had any problem today. I can now confirm to you that in my experience in the Nigerian public, integrity is very difficult to maintain. You are endangered if you are talking about integrity. What kind of country are we? We are supposed to be going for a civil exercise, and that is about election. Why is it as if we are going to war?
“Look at the number of people who were killed in other parts of the country during last Saturday’s election? Have we lost our sense of humanity? We are grateful to God that nobody died here in Akwa Ibom, but, the fact that people were killed in other places is worrisome.”
He maintained that he had never stepped into the home of anyone since he was deployed in the state. The electoral officer also insisted that he was yet to have any private meetings with politicians in the state.
“I arrived at this state on September 5, 2017, and from that day till now that I’m speaking to you from my official residence, I have never stepped into the home of the son or daughter of Akwa Ibom State. I’ve never stepped into the house of any human being since I came to this state.
“When adult and supposedly respected people, who have held public offices before could tell lies from the pit of hell that the son of man had been having meetings with people that he doesn’t even know, it is most unfortunate,” he said.