The Akwa Ibom State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has lampooned the Independent National Electoral Commission INEC) in the state for defending one Ejike Nwankwo, a staff of the commission, who was caught with card readers.
The party wondered why the electoral umpire will be quick to defend its staff if it has nothing to hide.
At a press briefing, in Uyo, the state capital, the party said: “We have read the press release issued by INEC in Uyo, desperately trying to explain the illegal possession of these devices by their staff.
“Their explanation is laughable, ridiculous and full of lies. INEC claims that Ejike Nwankwo used the card readers to train the ad hoc staffs before the election. INEC says that the said Mr. Nwakwo fell ill after the elections. So what were the card readers doing with him throughout the elections till he fell ill? Why did he not call his colleagues in the IT Department to meet him and retrieve these devices? And after he had recovered from the illness, what was he still doing with those card readers?
“The lies told by INEC are too glaring. We request Akwa Ibom people to discountenance these fabricated tissues of lies by INEC; and we request the police to get to the bottom of this stranger-than-fiction drama.”
The party queried: “Why are Akwa Ibom State government officials and PDP chieftains in the state piling pressure on the police to kill this matter?”.
Read the full Text of the press conference addressed by the Akwa Ibom State chapter of APC, Hon. Ini Okoido, on the arrest of INEC staff with card readers:
What will Mike Igini say this time?
You had noticed that our party in the state has been very quiet since after our candidates filed their petitions at the Election Petition Tribunals. We were busy on these petitions; and because certain matters are sub-judice, we had to refrain from commenting on them. However, we thank you all for your coverage of the proceedings at the tribunals so far.
This press conference is called to update you on the recent arrest by the police of an INEC staff for illegal possession of some card readers used in the last elections. As you are aware, earlier this week the Akwa Ibom State police command paraded a staff of INEC, Mr. Ejike Nwankwo, who was arrested with some card readers in the trunk of his car. These card readers, we understand, were some of those used during the last general elections. The police have announced that they are still investigating the matter. First, we wish to thank the police for their diligence and hard work in making this arrest which has undoubtedly brought to the fore dubious machinations of INEC under Mike Igini, the Residemt Electoral Commissioner (REC). We believe that the card readers found with Mr. Nwankwo were some of those pre-loaded card readers used in rigging the elections in favour of the PDP and Udom Emmanuel.
We have read the press release issued by INEC in Uyo, desperately trying to explain the illegal possession of these devices by their staff. Their explanation is laughable, ridiculous and full of lies. INEC claims that Ejike Nwankwo used the card readers to train the ad hoc staffs before the election. INEC says that the said Mr. Nwakwo fell ill after the elections. So what were the card readers doing with him throughout the elections till he fell ill? Why did he not call his colleagues in the IT Department to meet him and retrieve these devices? And after he had recovered from the illness, what was he still doing with those card readers?
The lies told by INEC are too glaring. We request Akwa Ibom people to discountenance these fabricated tissues of lies by INEC; and we request the police to get to the bottom of this stranger-than-fiction drama. Why are Akwa Ibom State government officials and PDP chieftains in the state piling pressure on the police to kill this matter?
Gentlemen of the Press, you will recall that some weeks before the elections, our party had chronicled the various acts of Mike Igini’s bias against our party, and requested for his redeployment from Akwa Ibom State. Both the State Chapter of our Party and some elders of Akwa Ibom under the aegis of Akwa Ibom Elders’ Forum, had written two different letters requesting for Igini’s movement out of the state because, as we had repeatedly said, this man has proved to be a compromised REC. But unfortunately, Igini was allowed to stay and conduct some of the most fraudulent elections ever known to mankind.
We will like to recall some of the complaints we made against Mike Igini:
1. Recruitment of ad hoc staff
All of the ad hoc staff recruited by INEC just before the last elections were either PDP members or their loyalists. In fact, in the presidential election, the Returning Officer for Ikot Abasi LGA was Dr Augustine Asukwo Umoh, who was a PDP local government chairmanship aspirant for the December 2017 local government elections in the state. This same Dr. Umoh was redeployed to serve as Returning Officer for Uyo LGA during the governorship election. Other ad hoc staffs were all recommended by PDP members in the state. The whole recruitment process for the ad hoc staffs was done with collusion with PDP members
2. Mike Igini’s numerous reckless and irresponsible statements
On several occasions before, during and after the elections, Mike Igini had made many uncomplimentary remarks against our party and President Buhari. Igini has been unrestrained in his derogatory remarks about our party, to put it mildly. These remarks are filled with bile, bitterness and bias against the APC. We had noted these down in the public statements we made before the elections. Even after the elections, you will recall Igini’s irresponsible statement that APC candidates are in the tribunals to seek publicity, curry favour and seek for appointments from the President.
3. Delay in granting access to inspections of materials
On April 15, the Governorship Election Petition Tribunal ordered INEC to allow our lawyers access to the materials used in the last election for inspections. For two weeks, Igini refused to obey the court order. It took a threat of a N2 million fine by the Tribunal for Igini to allow the inspections to proceed. Even then, our lawyers are being frustrated daily in the course of the inspection. We request the gentlemen of the press to find out from our lawyers on how these inspections are going and the frustrations they face.
4. The haste with which PDP officials rise up to defend Mike Igini
Gentlemen of the Press, have you noticed the speed with which PDP chieftains in the state and officials of Akwa Ibom State government rise to defend Mike Igini’s illegal actions? Isn’t it pretty curious that members of a political party that contested a disputed election have now turned themselves into INEC’s spokespersons? It simply means that PDP and INEC in Akwa Ibom are one and the same thing. They have fused together like husband and wife. Shame to them!
In their desperation to defend INEC, PDP officials like Iniobong Ememobong, its Publicity Secretary, usually go beyond the line of decency to heap insults on key leaders of the APC. Emeobong is notorious for his insolence and uncouth language he uses aginst Senator Godswill Akpabio. We do not understand why Ememobong is filled with so much bitterness against Senator Akpabio. This is beyond politics. Is Ememobong more pained by the senator’s defection than other PDP officials who have borne their disaffection with dignified silence? We note that whatever Ememobong is today, Senator Akpabio sowed the seed. The senator is the most benevolent benefactor to Ini Emembobong. Akpabio is also far older than him. So where is this bitterness from? We therefore ask Ini Ememobong to leave Akpabio alone and face his political future.
5. Igini’s penchant for self praise
Mike Igini’s penchant for self-praise is actually a psychological weakness associated with people who resort to this tactics as a cover for their dubiousness. It is a well known fact that any public official who indulges in self-glorification and self-promotion in the media as Igini does frequently does so to mask his inherent weaknesses. We in APC in Akwa Ibom state know that Igini is not as clean as he claims. We are sure that at the fullness of time, he will answer to his fraudulent actions.
In conclusion, we urge the media to continue to be vigilant for the price of our collective liberty is eternal vigilance. We salute the State Police Command for their uncommon courage in the face of difficult circumstances.