By Omeiza Ajayi
Ahead of the September 19 Governorship election in Edo state, the Resident Electoral Commissioner, REC, of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, in Akwa Ibom State, Barr Mike Igini has denied working with the Peoples Democratic Party PDP in Edo to rig the polls.
Igini was reacting to a statement by John Mayaki and Col. David Imuse of the APC to the effect that he received bribe from the PDP to swing the polls in its favour.
The statement reads; “For the second time within a week, my name has been needlessly and maliciously dragged into a political group’s statement on the Edo election. The statement falsely and erroneously claimed that I was in Benin on Thursday 27th August 2020.
“Contrary to that misleading claim, on the said date. I was in Lagos State, hence I find it very mischievous that those who made this cruel allegation now attribute the spiritual ability to be in two locations at the same time to my person.
“Secondly, let me state without any shadow of doubt to those characters, who made these atrocious allegation that I had meetings with political actors were anti-democratic schemes were discussed. I have not met Gov. Obaseki since he was sworn into office up until the moment of the press statement in contention. Given that I was not in Benin on the said day 27th August but in Lagos, the said meeting is unquestionably a mere figment of the imagination of those who made these allegations.
“Evidently, those who made up the concocted story do not know me. If they do, certainly they will never attribute these anti-democratic sacrileges to my person. For the avoidance of doubt and to disabuse the minds of respected Edo citizens and voters, I urge everyone to disregard these lies and innuendos I have never and will never be part of any scheme to rob voters of the right to choose their elected representatives.
“At a time when the journey of this country and the prospect of democracy was less certain, we fought and risked our lives for this democracy, where were the likes of these two unknown characters called John Mayaki and Retired Col Imuse?
“I have never been at the back but at the forefront of electoral reforms to ensure that citizens’ rights and access to ballots as the best means of the expression of the will of the people are strengthened and will never be part of any design to chase them.
“My entire public service has been an open book, I urge those who harbour any doubt to visit the public records and review the results of Elections conducted under my watch as Resident Electoral Commissioner in Edo. Cross River, Imo, Anambra and Akwa Ibom State.
“Under my stewardwardship, every vote counted and taken into account and every voters right was preserved. Rather than engaging in these campaigns of character assassination by stepping out of the boundaries of decency that has now landed these two characters in the pool of litigation for libel where they are swimming at the moment dangerously,
“I urge the political groups to concentrate on purveying policies that will endear them to the electorate and stop relying on how to undermine and discredit the institutional pillars of democracy upon which the legitimacy of the election will repose”, he stated.