Nigeria: INEC Disappointed With 'Electoral Banditry' in Akwa Ibom Rerun

(file photo)
27 January 2020

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has condemned the violence and election banditry that rocked the rerun elections held in Essien Udim LGA Akwa Ibom State over the weekend.

PREMIUM TIMES on Sunday reported how the candidates of the Peoples Democratic Party, (PDP) won the rerun elections for the Senate, state and federal constituencies in the state.

For the Akwa Ibom North-West Senatorial District election, Chris Ekpenyong scored 134,717 votes to beat a former senator, Godswill Akpabio (APC), who had 83,820 votes.

For the Essien Udim State Constituency, the PDP candidate, Esse Umoh, scored 18,999 votes, while the APC candidate, Nse Ntuen scored 7,108 votes.

Mr Akpabio, the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, is from the ward. Mr Akpabio challenged Mr Ekpenyong, who was eventually declared the winner.

Mr Akpabio had earlier announced his withdrawal from the election but INEC rejected it saying he remained the candidate of the APC.

PREMIUM TIMES had reported INEC officials in the state being held hostage inside a public secondary school in Essien Udim, Akwa Ibom.

The Akwa Ibom State Police Command also confirmed the arrest of some persons in connection with electoral violence.

'Concerned INEC'

Meanwhile, the Commission said the poll was accomplished despite the harrasment, intimidation and abduction of electoral officials.

A statement, signed by the state Resident Electoral Commissioner REC, Mike Igini, on Monday, announced that disruptions took place in Ukana West (Ward 11), Units 5, 8, and 9 as well as Ikpe Annang (Ward 5), Unit 12 in Essien Udim LGA's

He commended the police and other 'electoral stakeholders' for the "satisfactory and professional act in securing the collation processes and centres".

"The Commission once again, notes with concern and disappointment the various acts of violence and electoral banditry on full display in 2019 election which were again repeated by key actors in Essien Udim in the early hours of the rerun elections.

"This was clearly exemplified by the disruptions that took place in Ukana West (Ward 11), Units 5, 8, and 9 as well as Ikpe Annang (Ward 5), Unit 12 in Essien Udim Local Government Area as documented by the Commission and the Nigeria Police," the official said.

Read full press statement:

AKWA IBOM RE-RUN ELECTIONS CONCLUDED

The Independent National Electoral Commission INEC, in Akwa Ibom State, hereby announces the conclusion of the court- ordered Senatorial/Federal and State constituencies rerun elections scheduled for Saturday 25th January 2020.

The elections were scheduled by the Commission as part of the nationwide rerun elections that arose from post-election disputes emanating from the last general elections in 2019.

The successful conduct of these elections marks the conclusion of the 2019 elections in Akwa lbom State, following a hitch-free collation of results at all stages of the process and final Returns declared by the Returning Officers for the three elections.

This was accomplished despite the extremely difficult situation and untold harrasment, intimidation and abduction of poll officials by hired political thugs, many of whom were arrested and are in custody of the Nigeria Police in Uyo.

The Commission once again, notes with concern and disappointment the various acts of violence and electoral banditry on full display in 2019 election which were again repeated by key actors in Essien Udim in the early hours of the rerun elections.

This was clearly exemplified by the disruptions that took place in Ukana West (Ward 11), Units 5, 8, and 9 as well as Ikpe Annang (Ward 5), Unit 12 in Essien Udim Local Government Area as documented by the Commission and the Nigeria Police.

The security agencies, despite the initial challenges did a commendable job with satisfactory professionalism, particularly in the full implementation of the designed model for securing the collation processes and centres.

This ensured that polling unit results were not compromised or swapped with pre-written results to supplant the will of the people. These commendable efforts were led by the Commissioner of Police, Imohimi Edgal with all members of Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES).

Above all, the Commission wishes to thank all stakeholders, particularly the people of Essien Udim, who were undeterred by these occasional disruptions and came out to vote in the rerun elections.

The State Office commends all staff of the Commission as well as Youth Corps members deployed for these elections for their exemplary conduct and integrity in adhering to and implementing fully, fairly and impartially, laid down rules and regulations for the conduct of elections.

Mike Igini, Esq Resident Electoral Commissioner

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