Akwa Ibom State chapter of All Progressives Congress, APC, and the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, are still locked in accusations of malpractice over the conduct of the 2019 polls in the state.
Ahead of the tribunal, which is expected to be inaugurated tomorrow, APC accused INEC of tampering with electoral materials, especially its Administrative Secretary, Anthony Patta, who the part said sent a text message which ordered staff to report for duty on Sunday for the purpose of ‘’cleaning up” the materials.
APC spokesman, Eyongekere Nkereuwem, said: “In the months leading to the elections, many notable Akwa Ibom people including APC itself had written to INEC Chairman, Prof Mahmud Yakubu, requesting the redeployment of Mike Igini, the REC in the state allegedly because he is a deeply compromised electoral officer.
“The letter cited several cases of Igini’s actions and statements which gave him away as being sympathetic and partial to Governor Udom Emmanuel and the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.
“However, the request was not granted. The bias of Igini in favour of PDP was evident through his conduct of the election as evidenced in the collusion and connivance of INEC staff and ad hoc staff with the PDP. Why is INEC staff being asked to work on elections materials weeks after the results were declared and days after a petition against the results have been filed?”
However, INEC dismissed the claims as baseless and a campaign aimed at casting aspersion on the person of the Administrative Secretary, who has never been found wanting in the discharge of duty and that he works under a “strict, responsible and knowledgeable Resident Electoral Commissioner whose public records are known nationwide.”
INEC in a statement said: “The allegations are baseless and outright falsehood from the pit of hell. The objective of these lies and their sponsors is to dent the image of the commission and cast aspersion on my person and office as the Administrative Secretary, by their cheap campaign of calumny.
“It will be recalled that the same lies were concocted when the commission’s vehicle carrying out a nationally authorised reverse logistics duty was involved in an accident on Oku-Abak Highway.
“These lie spinners had alleged in a paid advert that they ‘’interviewed,” INEC drivers involved in the said accident who were critically ill and unconscious in the hospital, who never spoke to anyone and the said drivers ‘’confessed to tampering with ballot papers of a particular party in the state. These were also a pack of lies.
“I wish to state unequivocally again that these allegations are false and should be disregarded as the materials of the commission have never been tampered with and are open for inspection if and when authorised by a competent authority.”