Akwa Ibom State Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Mike Igini, has described allegations by the All Progressives Congress (APC) that he is giving undue advantage to the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in the state as baseless and untrue.
Igini told to Daily Sun, yesterday, that as a public servant, he is mindful of the burdens of his task as an electoral manager, that in a very adverse contest, where political groups seek asymmetrical advantages over others, they might be tempted to descend to some unethical conduct.
“However, it is generally accepted that they ought to restrain themselves from such conduct and be guided by the provisions of the Electoral Act,” he said.
He alleged that some individuals refused to be restrained by the law and, instead, resort to persistent attacks at the electoral body, using misrepresentation of facts as their weapons.
“To correct these misrepresentations for the benefit of the public, I, therefore, wish to state that INEC is not a contestant, but an umpire in this election, and will make every effort to ensure it remains neutral, irrespective of any provocation or misrepresentations.
“It is the responsibility of INEC, not political groups, to determine who is recruited as ad hoc staff. The process of recruiting, training and deploying ad hoc staff is made transparently clear to all stakeholders, and their sources are well known to all Nigerians. They are from the National Youths Service Corps, federal ministries, departments and agencies, and federal universities.
“How the Ad-hoc staff were selected and trained was shared with all parties in Akwa Ibom state because INEC invited all parties and gave them the list to examine and state any objections they have. After that was done, no party raised any objection in the presence of over 30 media organisations,” he said.
Reacting to allegation that he was holding private meetings with some people in the state, he said it was also totally incorrect, because since he resumed duty in Akwa Ibom, he has never stepped his feet into the home of any resident of the state, just to avoid any kind of accusation.