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Voters shun A’Ibom LG election as APC, other parties boycott exercise

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Bassey Anthony, Uyo

The local government election which held across the 31 council areas in Akwa Ibom state on Saturday was devoid of the usual boisterous and competitive atmosphere.

Major political parties especially the opposition party, the All Progressives Congress(APC) did not participate in the council poll thereby making the exercise purely a Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) affair.

The APC had accused the Akwa Ibom State Independent Electoral Commission(AKISIEC) of aligning with the ruling PDP, declaring its lack of confidence in the electoral body to conduct a credible, free and fair election.

The opposition party had also kicked against the creation of additional 39 wards, saying it was unconstitutional and a ploy by the AKISIEC to rig the council election in favour of the PDP

As a result, the APC had declared its intention to boycott the local government poll in a press statement signed by its state publicity secretary, Nkereuwem Enyongekere.

Therefore, Saturday’s council election witnessed a massive voter apathy across most units and wards in the state.

In Eket local government area, for instance, some units did not receive voting materials on time even as distribution of materials were very slow when they finally arrived.

Materials arrived Eket central 3, Afia Nist at about 10.42am, only the electoral officers and security agents were available.

In Uyo urban ward 1, 2, 3 and 4, no voter was seen around the polling units even though electoral officers were on ground and ready for the elections by 9am.

But the exercise was generally peaceful as no case of ballot snatching, reckless driving and violent was reported from the units visited as at time of filling this report.

However, Governor Udom Emmanuel has commended the AKISIEC for working to ensure a transparent and smooth Local Government election in the state.

READ ALSO: A’Ibom rerun: Police arrest suspects who allegedly hijacked election materials

He has also applauded the electorate for conducting themselves peacefully and orderly during the exercise .

Emmanuel gave the commendation on Saturday at his polling unit, Awa ward 1 after carrying out a simultaneous accreditation and voting at 10am.

“I think this is one of the peaceful elections we have ever had. I drove from Uyo down here trying to monitor the elections. I like the quietness and orderliness of the elections and I am also surprised at the preparedness of AKISIEC, the quality of materials; it is of a very high standard.

“The transparency of the processes is commendable. They have done a good work but it is unfortunate that people will still be complaining even when we score the process 99 percent. I would only encourage them to do more.”

Asked whether he still has confident in the Local government system, Emmanuel says “I have confidence in the system. If I didn’t have confidence, why should I waste my time coming here? I have confidence much more than ever before. This is the most peaceful elected to elected elections, grace pass grace,” he said

The Presiding Officer of the ward, Destiny Bob who also spoke with reporters said accreditation and elections were done simultaneously, adding that despite the poor turn out of voters, the elections would end by 2pm.

His words “elections started by 8am but it’s now 10am, we are still waiting for voters. No party agents are here but I believe they will come.”

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