AKWA IBOM ELDERS FORUM: INEC MUST BE ALLOWED TO CONDUCT FREE AND CREDIBLE ELECTIONS IN AKWA IBOM STATE
…DECRIES PLANS TO REMOVE RESIDENT ELECTORAL COMMISSIONER, MIKE IGINI
Culled from Vanguard Newspaper, Monday, February 4, 2019 (page39)
We have been reliably informed that there are plans to remove the Resident Electoral Commissioner in Akwa Ibom State, Mr. Mike Igini and replace him with another Commissioner whose brief would be to help the APC rig the elections in the State.
It is widely acknowledged that the current Commissioner is a man of integrity, of honesty and is dedicated to conducting a free, transparent and credible election in the State. The APC is fully aware of the fact that they don’t stand electoral chance in Akwa Ibom State, the State being decidedly PDP.
The Resident Electoral Commissioner, Mr. Igini, an a academic of no mean repute, a man whose reputation for conducting free and fair elections everywhere he has been the REC, has told the world that he will conduct a free and credible election in Akwa Ibom State and that there will be no undue influence from any quarter to tilt the outcome of the elections in favour of any party. He has addressed a cross- section of the political stakeholders in the State and the security agencies on his avowed determination to ensure the transparency of the process. The decision of this upright electoral umpire must have rankled the APC who in their determined efforts to rig the elections, are making plans to replace him with another who will do their biddings.
We wish to use this opportunity to state categorically that we will resist any plans by the APC led Federal Government to subvert the will of the people of this State which as it stands is expressly invested in the PDP. The APC has boasted that they will deploy violence and the Federal might to impose their candidate as the governor of this state against the wishes of the people. They have variously boasted that they have pocketed INEC and that when the election approaches, the Resident Electoral Commissioner, Mr. Igini will be replaced.
They have amassed an armada of thugs whom they have sown police and military uniforms for, to cause mayhem during the election to justify the postponement of the elections in the State or in some polling units in some parts of the State; they have boasted that this election will be a “do or die battle”. They have been employing military style metaphors to describe what they wish to do on election days-February 16 and March 2nd respectively.
We wish to state here that as Elders and major Stakeholders in this State, we stand ready to defend the right of our people to choose the leaders of their choice, leaders whom they trust to ensure peace, security, development. They also want to elect leaders who would have the collective interest of the people over the narrow interest of those who have a deep sense of entitlement to power, influence and wealth.
The key element of any democratic process is the conduct of credible elections where the will of the people will be expressed and where their votes must count. The Resident Electoral Commissioner in the State, Mr. Mike Igini is determined to do just that, and he must be allowed to perform this patriotic assignment.
The world is watching and Nigerians in particular are watching.
Senators Anietie Okon, Emmanuel Ibokessiien, Effiong Bob, Helen Esuene, Etang Umoyo, Chief (Dr.) Emmanuel Ukpong, Rt. Hon. Nduese Essien, Dr. (Barrister) Emmanuel Umanah, Professor Emmanuel Onwuduotkit, Hon. Ekpeyong Eyinna, Rt. Hon. Peter Linus, Chief Emmanuel Ibiok, Hon. Felicia Bassey, Dr. (Barrister) Effiong Osung