Thu. Feb 27th, 2020

A’Ibom Rerun: Akpabio Fingered In Essien Udim Crisis

Niger Delta minister, Senator Godswill Akpabio is being accused of causing crisis in his Essien Udim Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State, where the court ordered rerun took place on Saturday.
Although, the minister had long announced his intention to withdraw from the race, an action that was interpreted to mean a subtle way of avoiding defeat, especially because he had already secured a job as minister.
But against his public declaration, the minister was in his country home a few days to the election where he was said to have met with some leaders of the APC in his locality and discussed about the elections.
It was not clear what role he may have played in the crisis that greeted the rerun, but the INEC resident electoral commissioner in the state, Mike Igini is not happy about the spate of crisis during the election.
Many commentators on social media have also pilloried the minister for his alleged double standard on the election.
In a statement on Sunday, the INEC commissioner regretted that crisis that led to the abduction of some INEC officials, even as he said that some persons were already in police custody in connection with the crisis.
The statement said in part: “The Independent National Electoral Commission INEC, in Akwa Ibom State, hereby announces the conclusion of the court- ordered Senatorial/Federal and State constituencies rerun elections scheduled for Saturday 25th January 2020.The elections were scheduled by the Commission as part of the nationwide rerun elections that arose from post-election disputes emanating from the last general elections in 2019.
“The successful conduct of these elections marks the conclusion of the 2019 elections in Akwa lbom State, following a hitch-free collation of results at all stages of the process and final Returns declared by the Returning Officers for the three elections. This was accomplished despite the extremely difficult situation and untold harrasment, intimidation and abduction of poll officials by hired political thugs, many of whom were arrested and are in custody of the Nigeria Police in Uyo.
“The commission once again, notes with concern and disappointment the various acts of violence and electoral banditry on full display in 2019 election which were again repeated by key actors in Essien Udim in the early hours of the rerun elections. This was clearly exemplified by the disruptions that took place in Ukana West (Ward 11), Units 5, 8, and 9 as well as Ikpe Annang (Ward 5), Unit 12 in Essien Udim Local Government Area as documented by the Commission and the Nigeria Police. The security agencies, despite the initial challenges did a commendable job with satisfactory professionalism, particularly in the full implementation of the designed model for securing the collation processes and centres.
“This ensured that polling unit results were not compromised or swapped with pre-written results to supplant the will of the people. These commendable efforts were led by the Commissioner of Police, Imohimi Edgal with all members of Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES).
“Above all, the commission wishes to thank all stakeholders, particularly the people of Essien Udim, who were undeterred by these occasional disruptions and came out to vote in the rerun elections. The State Office commends all staff of the Commission as well as Youth Corps members deployed for these elections for their exemplary conduct and integrity in adhering to and implementing fully, fairly and impartially, laid down rules and regulations for the conduct of elections.”
The PDP won all the seats that were contested for during the rerun.

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