Akwa Ibom State members of All Progressives Congress (APC) operating on the platform of Coalition of Opposition Political Parties in Akwa Ibom State have staged a protest asking the Independent National Electoral Commission(INEC) to remove Mr Mike Igini, as the state Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC).
But Igini has reacted that protest to remove him from office is not a new thing, as he had experienced it even when he was REC in Cross River State.
The group who blocked access to the Commission’s along Udo Udoma Avenue Uyo on Wednesday, alleged that Igini had deviated from being an unbiased umpire to partisanship resulting in the controversies rocking their party APC in the state.
Chanting “Mike Igini must go,” and blocking the INEC office entrance thus disallowing staff of the Commission from entering their offices, the APC members also displayed some placards with inscriptions like; “Igini is biased”, “Democracy is not for sale”, “INEC must act now”, “Akwa Ibom REC is compromised”.
Others also read; “Igini don’t kill Akwa Ibom political parties”, “Igini is partisan”, “Igini is a factional Chairman of a party”, among several others.
One the leaders of the group , Mr. Ubok-Obong Umoh said the “personal vendetta” of Igini against the main opposition party in the state should be probed.
“This protest is carried by all the youths in opposition political parties in Akwa Ibom State and APC is all prominent here because it is the main opposition party in the state.
“We are protesting clear partisanship demonstrated by a supposed umpire, the Resident Electoral Commissioner, Barr. Mike Igini.
“Between 2019 and now, Igini has demonstrated that he has no faith in Nigerian democracy and as a result, he is now playing the script of the Akwa Ibom State Government.” Umoh alleged.
He accused Igini of acting on the instructions of the state government, adding that nothing APC or any other opposition parties do that is acceptable to him.
He said the REC should be probed over the comments he made during an interview on one of the national television stations that “APC in the state will not have any candidate for 2023 elections”.
“His statement is unacceptable not just to members of APC but to the generality of the peace-loving people of Akwa Ibom State.
“Opposition is meant for checks and balances in government so if Barr. Mike Igini who supposed to be an umpire feels that the should be no opposition in Akwa Ibom State, he should pack his belongings and leave,” he added.
Also, the State APC Youth Leader, Dr. Awak Clement said Igini “is not the only REC that Nigeria has,” but queried why he should single himself out to fight APC in the state.
He alleged that Igini has openly declared war against APC even before the primaries, adding that for peace to reign in the state, the REC should either resign or be sack outright.
Igini in reaction however told our correspondent that he would continue to maintain the position of the commission as spelt out in the electoral act and the constitution.
He he insisted that the commission did not monitor the Akwa Ibom Norrh West (Ikot Ekpene) Senatorial District as well as the gubernatorial primaries of the APC in the state because it was not invited to do so as enshrined in the Electoral Act 2022. ENDS