- Wants Guber, State Assembly Polls Postponed
Bassey Inyang in Calabar
A coalition of concerned members of the All Progressives Congress, APC, in Cross River State have called on the chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, to redeployed its Resident Electoral Commissioner, REC, from the state, Mr. Frankland Briyai, before the conduct of the March 9, governorship and state House of Assembly elections.
The group, the Coalition of APC Support Groups in Cross River State who made the call on Tuesday at a press conference at the campaign secretariat of the party’s governorship candidate, Senator John Owan-Enoh, said from information available to them, the REC was working hands-in-gloves with the state governor, Professor Ben Ayade, and the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Pastor Usani Uguru Usani, who was suspended recently by the party for antiparty activities, to work against the interest of the party in the state.
State Chairman of the coalition, Comrade Iso Bassey Edim, who addressed journalist on behalf of the group read from a prepared text jointly signed by the state secretary, Hon. Edo Owan, and the state publicity secretary, Mr. Bassey Duke.
From the 13-point petition, addressed to the Chairman, INEC, dated March 9, the coalition alleged that the REC attends nocturnal meetings with the ruling PDP party in the state.
“He had also shown outright bias and complicity with the ruling class in the PDP in the state and he had announced the removal of all APC candidates few hours to the last Presidential and National Assembly elections, claiming that APC Cross River state never had candidates for the elections only for him to allocate votes to the same people he claimed were not part of the elections.
“Even with his illegal removal of APC candidates few hours to the election, the REC suspended elections in Etung local government area, wards and polling units in Boki, Obubra and Ikom local government areas and still went ahead to announce winners of elections in the aforementioned areas.
“In the Northern Senatorial district of the state, the Resident Electoral Commissioner allegedly gave sensitive materials like ballot booklets to PDP’s candidates in connivance with NYSC and other INEC officials to thumbprint massively for PDP candidates and the video clips are there.
“Regrettably, the REC in Cross River state suspended, postponed and cancelled elections in Etung local government area, wards and polling units in Boki, Obubra and Ikom local government areas on the 23rd of February,2019, only for him to come on air on the 4th March, 2019 to announce that there is not going to b a re-run elections in any part of Cross River state”, Edim said.
The coalition called for the total cancellation of the what it described as massively rigged National Assembly elections in the state, saying “a new date be fixed for a new election where names of APC candidates would be in INEC list and the electorates would consciously turn out to vote for their preferred candidates to correct the blunder caused by the REC himself.”
Continuing, the coalition said, “We have lost total confidence in INEC’s REC and as a support group of APC in the state with more than 500,000 members, we cannot participate in any election that is super intended by a biased REC.
“A postponment of the Cross River State governahip and States House of Assembly elections would really be appreciated to reduce the tension and also minimize the corrupt activities of the current Resident Electoral Commissioner, it added”.
They urged the INEC National Chairman to urgently treat the petition with all the speed it deserves.
At the APC party Secretariat where the coalition who numbered more than 5,000 members marched to, to delivered the petition for it to be transmitted to the INEC, the Vice chairman, Southern Senatorial district of the APC Mr. Effiom Olori, said the party’s state exco appreciates the position of the coalition group and promised that its protests will be forwarded to the appropriate quarters for due consideration.
Olori lauded the commitment of the group towards ensuring that the right INEC conducts a free and fair elections.