..Head for Court over exorbitant charges
…Factional IPAC Chairmen Differs
A frontline pressure group and Non-Governmental Organisation, Alert Nigeria has vowed to fight against what it described as the anomalies and corrupt practices of the Akwa Ibom State Independent Electoral Commission (AKISIEC).
According to the group, the charges put up by the AKISIEC were much exorbitant for the affordability of other political parties in the State, making it impossible for them to be part of the election.
Founder of the group and 2019 Gubernatorial Candidate of the Abundant Nigerian Renewal Party (ANRP) in Akwa Ibom State, Mr. Iboro Otu who spoke to newsmen about the marginalization, said he was working to seek justice for the coalition of political parties including the Zenith Labour Party (ZLP) and Young Progressive Party (YPP) who have been disenfranchised by AKISIEC.
Speaking on Tuesday, October 27, at a Stakeholders meeting with AKISIEC at the Idongesit Nkanga Secretariat, Otu expressed:
“It is not about my Party alone but a coalition of Political Parties that we are working with and many of them are not allowed to contest by AKISIEC on grounds of illegal exorbitant charges in order to stop them from contesting against the ruling Party in the state, PDP”.
” With this kind of selection process by AKISIEC and levies, they block our candidates from participating in the election. Here in this so-called stakeholder meeting, many parties who have eligible candidates were not invited. I’m confident that we will win in the competent court of jurisdiction, with the present situations of things in the country.”
Similarly, State Chairman of the Young Progressive Party (YPP), Mr. Kelvin Umoh, said the unprecedented, uniform, and unconstitutional charges on candidates by AKISIEC has made it difficult for his party flag bearers to stand for the election coupled with the uniform substitutions of names and the short notice of the election time tables.
According to him, the agency is illegally charging N100,000 for the position of councillorship and N250,000 for the chairmanship position which he said has disenfranchised members who have been duly screened.
“AKISIEC has also disenfranchised a lot of our candidates including a disabled for not paying the fee they charged. They have also removed the names of candidates who were screened and certified qualified for the election” he said.
He described the Action of the election umpire as a calculated attempt to disenfranchise eligible candidates to pave ways for the candidates of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), while calling for the cancellation of the election date for other parties to be carried along.
On his part, the state chairman of AKISIEC, Elder. Aniedi-Abasi Ikoiwak explained that the nomination fee they are complaining about is not a new thing, adding that it is a source of revenue to the government.
“The nomination fee was published the time the guidelines came out which was even in Akwa Ibom State budget 2020. It’s not a new thing, it’s a source of revenue to the government and one kobo does not go to AKISIEC”, he explained.
On the issue of disqualification, the AKISIEC Chairman said most of them did not follow the guidelines stipulated in the Electoral Act, 2010, and were disqualified.
Meanwhile, the Interparty Advisory Council (IPAC) in Akwa Ibom State is in a state of crisis as the two factional chairmen are on daggers draw. Mr. Matthew Akpabio of the New Nigerian Party (NNP) has been accused by Mr. Duck Dick as an intruder imposed on the Interparty Advisory Council to support the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) against the struggle for inclusion by other parties.