By Benjamin Jimmy
The candidate of the All Progressives Congress for Abak/ Etim Ekpo/Ika Federal Constituency in the scheduled April 15 supplementary election in the constituency, Mr. Clement Jimbo, has raised an alarm over plot by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Akwa Ibom to increase the number of polling units for the supplementary election to 25 in favour of the PDP candidate, Hon. Aniekan Umanah.
The plot, according to Mr. Jimbo, during a press conference on Wednesday in Uyo, is to re-conduct election in some of the polling units where election had already been successfully conducted during the February 25th Presidential and National Assembly polls, results declared, signed by all party agents and transmitted to INEC Results Viewing Portal, IReV.
The APC candidate listed four units where he said INEC is plotting to use to manipulate the supplementary election in favour of Hon. Umanah of the PDP, despite that results from those polling units are already in INEC’s IReV as follows: Abak Urban 3, (primary school) Oku Abak; Odoro 1, (village square) Ikot Onono, Ika LGA; Odoro 1 (Nto Ukpong Ntia), Ika LGA and Etim Ekpo V ( primary school), Nto Edet, Etim Ekpo LGA.
Mr. Jimbo disclosed that out of the 25 listed polling units, form EC40G which usually indicates record of an election either not held or cancelled was filled by INEC adhoc staff and uploaded on the IReV in only 14 polling units, which implied that only in these 14 polling were records of either election cancellation or not having election at all, as declared by the INEC staff who were posted to those polling units.
The APC candidate further revealed that INEC itself has confirmed what he described as an illegal and manipulative addition of the four polling units, which brings the total polling units to 25, through a publication on its Website.
Mr. Jimbo therefore, wondered why some corrupt officials of INEC, in connivance with Hon. Aniekan Umanah and the PDP have chosen to take the path of dishonour by conducting supplementary election in 25 polling units to steal the mandate given to him by the people of the federal constituency.
“ We are minded to alert the public of ongoing devious efforts by compromised elements within INEC, acting in collaboration with some corrupt leaders within the PDP in Akwa Ibom to engage in dubious, sinister and illegal efforts and actions which are geared towards manipulating the forthcoming supplementary election in our federal constituency, with an agenda of concocting and inflating fraudulent figures and votes to undermine the existing wide margin of 2,962 in favour of the APC and give the PDP the leeway to steal the election.
“ As part of this fraudulent scheme, a plan has been hatched by some officials of the INEC to illegally increase the number of polling units where supplementary election is to hold in the federal constituency. This scheme has now been substantiated by a worrisome publication on the commission’s Website to the effect that the April 15 supplementary election for Abak/Etim Ekpo/Ika Federal Constituency will be held in 25 polling units”.
The House of Representatives hopeful told journalists that apart from the schematic increase in the number of polling units which the PDP sees as an advantage, reliable information revealed plots to preload the BVAS in some polling units with higher number of registered voters to aid in the rigging of the election.
He also revealed another plot to militarize the supplementary election through heavy deployment of thugs and fake security personnel, and described such acts as anti-people and anti-democratic.
“ We are aware of several high level meetings that have held by interested persons within the PDP to strategize on how to militarize the supplementary election through heavy deployment of political thugs and fake police and soldiers”.
Mr. Jimbo also made a call for the immediate removal of the Electoral Officer (EO) of Etim Ekpo, Mr. Edet Eyo Effiong over what he said “are troubling indications that his neutrality has been fully compromised”.
The House of Representatives hopeful however stated that for INEC to redeem its image now on line, the right procedures must be followed in the conduct of the supplementary election.
Also speaking at the press conference, Mr. Jimbo’ Attorney, Barr. Inibehe Effiong condemned the plot to subvert the will of the people of Abak/Etim Ekpo/ Ika Federal Constituency which he said first began when INEC declared the February 25th election inconclusive, without any reason given, and the recent scheme to increase the number of polling units.
He said all the plots are geared towards stealing the mandate the people of the federal constituency have given to Mr. Jimbo.
The Human Rights Activist however disclosed to journalists that he had submitted a petition to the INEC chairman and the REC in Akwa Ibom over the plot to manipulate the supplementary election in the federal constituency.
“ I have submitted a petition to INEC chairman in Abuja and the Akwa Ibom REC to put them on notice that this criminality will not be tolerated.
“ We have cited the provisions of the Electoral Act. Section 24 is very clear; that for the commission to declare an election inconclusive in a polling unit, there has to be a reason. That reason should not be myopic; should not be spiritual; should not be domiciled in the head of a human being. It should be factual; it should be empirical and verifiable”.
Barr. Effiong therefore, called on the people of the three local governments areas affected, Akwa Ibom people, the media, INEC and Nigerians to come together and halt the criminality he said is being orchestrated by some corrupt elements in the state.