No Regret on Decisions Taken over Electoral Matters, Says Ex-A’Ibom REC

Okon Bassey in Uyo

The retired Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) for Akwa Ibom State, Mr Mike Igini, has said he does not have any regret about the decisions taken while overseeing activities of the commission in the state.

He revealed that 35 court cases were instituted against the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in the state in 2019 and the commission recorded a 99 per cent victory.

Igini who addressed journalists in Uyo, the state capital, as part of the events to mark his retirement, stressed that INEC in Akwa Ibom State under his watch was very clear on the conduct of the election as directed by INEC at the national level and “we are poised to deal with historical challenges as it concerns electoral matters.”

He noted that in 2019 some illegal polling units were identified in the homes of politicians in the state and he directed that such polling units be relocated to open places where people can conveniently vote.

“For now Akwa Ibom State has 4,354 polling units that will be used in the 2023 election.”

Despite his exit, he said INEC in the state would continue to serve the people even at the risk of their lives because they are doing the right thing.

 “Democracy will have no meaning if the rule of law is not totally embraced.

“All elements, who acted contrary to the rule of electoral law in 2019 were duly punished, including INEC Staff.

 “INEC has built electoral fire world in Akwa Ibom State so that electoral template can be maintained,” he added.

 He noted that the people of the state have really embraced the Voter Registration exercise, saying that by the 2023 elections, voters’ turnout will be impressive.

 “Party primaries are over and the final list will be published by September 2022.”

 Igini, who disclosed that there are 18 political parties in the state, said APC is the only party with challenges because of internal crisis.

“The authentic Chairman for APC who won at the party congress was Mr Austin Ekanem and INEC in the state stands by that.

“Every procedure that brought Mr Stephen Ntukekpo as substantive chairman of the party was fake as the original result that produced Ekanem was mutilated.

 “Mr Austin Ekanem has the Certificate of Return while Ntukekpo has the court judgment slip.

 “INEC as an umpire is occupying a position of trust for the people.

 “Sheergrace Arena remains the authentic venue for APC activities and that status quo ante bulum simply meant that Mr Austin Ekanem should continue in office.

 “Mr Akan Udofia’s emergence as APC guber candidate is illegal because it was not monitored by INEC and it was untimely just as the one that produced Godswill Akpabio as a candidate for Ikot Ekpene Senatorial District.

 “DIG Udom Ekpoudom remains the authentic APC senatorial candidate for Ikot Ekpene senatorial district.

 “Resident Electoral Commissioners do not have the power to change reports submitted by INEC supervisors

 “It’s really shameful that democracy is no longer based on the rule of law, those aspirants who did not go through primaries now want to have their names in the ballot papers,” Igini explained.

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