Joe Effiong, Uyo,
The former Minister for Petroleum Resources, Chief Don Etiebet, has said that he is still in shock how the former deputy governor of Akwa Ibom State, Dr Christopher Ekpenyong, could beat Senator Godswill Akpabio in Ikot Ekpene senatorial district election.
He has however attributed the woeful outing of the All Progressives Congress (APC), especially the failure of Senator Akpabio to return to the Senate to rigging.
Speaking with our correspondent on, Etiebet who claimed he never lost an election in Akwa Ibom State since 1978, expressed surprise how Akpabio could have lost in Essien Udim Local Government Area after all he did for his people by transforming the hitherto rural area to a modern community when he was governor.
He specifically fingered the leadership of INEC for the former governor’s woes.
“Could you imagine Christopher Ekpenyong winning the election in Ikot Ekpene senatorial district against Godswill Akpabio? Could you imagine that? Did he go for a campaign? Did anybody know him? In fact, even in the days of carry-go by the leaders of PDP, I have never seen this kind of thing,” Etiebet said.
Reminded that PDP has always been winning in Akwa Ibom, the APC chieftain said: “But I have been complaining against their winning. The only election that was properly conducted in Akwa Ibom was the one I conducted for Victor Attah in 1999. Since then, I have been complaining about the conduct of the election in Akwa Ibom State.
“The point I am making is that election in Akwa Ibom State was choreographed, structured, predetermined with the connivance of INEC in the state. Every person in INEC right from the cleaner up is a PDP sympathiser.
But responding to Etiebet’s allegations, Ikoiwak told our correspondent that he is neither from Onna nor has the REC in the state Mike Igini ever visited him in any of his residences and wondered whether retired RECs all over the country were influencing elections in their states of origin.
“Since I left the commission, I have never stepped into any place in INEC either at the headquarters or in the state here not because I have done anything but because I know that this is election period and since nobody could influence me while I was in office, I will expect that no REC should be disturbed in the course of his official function.”
He wondered how he could have influenced the election when there were rules and guidelines of conducting the election, including the personnel to be engaged.
“I have left INEC; I don’t work for INEC anymore; I don’t consult for Akwa Ibom State. I’m on my own. So they should allow me to be. I have a record in INEC that I have conducted elections in this country more than any other person working or out of the commission. In my 10 years in INEC, I have conducted nine governorship elections and neither has been upturned by the court.
“I conducted the election in tougher places. In Rivers State today, people cannot harvest results; but I was sent there, elections were conducted and I harvested the results. The problem with politicians is that they have forgotten that election has been reduced to the people. So when they think they can use the army, the police, and thugs to rig election for them, they fail,” Ikoiwak said.