Okon Bassey in Uyo
The Akwa Ibom State chapter of All Progressives Congress (APC) on Thursday raised the alarm that the romance between the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state and the state Independent Electoral Commission (AKISIEC) was a threat to a free and fair conduct of the forthcoming local government elections in the state.
The Chairman of APC local government campaign committee, Senator Aloysius Etok, raised the alarm at press briefing held in Uyo, the state capital.
According to him, â€œThe APC is getting increasingly perturbed and concerned following verifiable information of clandestine moves by the PDP in collusion with the AKISIEC to gain undue advantage in the December 2, local government election.
â€œRight from the issuance of notice for local government election by AKISIEC, we observed a clear pattern of absurdity and breach of rules of practice and procedure for the call-up to the election for which we approached the court for relevant interpretation.â€
Recently, he noted that the APC queried the state electoral umpire over suspicious of engaging in illegal/secret recruitment and training of ad-hoc staff for the council polls.
â€œWe queried and cautioned the recruitment exercise by AKISIEC which ought to be open and transparent but was fraught with irregularities and embellished in secrecy.
â€œOf late, APC has noticed with dismay an amended edition of the publication â€˜AKISIEC Manual for Election officials (2017), copies of which are restricted from circulation to the party.
â€œInformed sources say the essential provisions of the manual dealing with announcement of election results has been drastically altered and clearly negates the provisions of the Electoral Act 2010 as amended,â€ he stressed.
Senator Etok said the APC candidates in the council polls were equally aware of threats and intimidation by their PDP opponents who boastfully asserted that the election results will be written and announced from the state Government House.
Etok said the leadership of the APC in the state takes the assertion very seriously as it is the accustomed practice of the PDP to announce local government results from Government House contrary to the rules and procedure guiding announcement of election results.
â€œWe wish to alert the electorate, international election monitoring groups, civil liberty organisations, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and respective security agencies of the conspiracy and grand design by AKISIEC in collusion with the PDP to perfect the plot to rig the election in favour of the PDP.
â€œThe APC shall resist any attempt to manipulate the election and will reject the results of an election not founded on the rule of law,â€ he stated.
Meanwhile, the APC has concluded arrangements for the flag-off ceremony of the local government election campaign which is scheduled for November 18.