A’Ibom Election Tribunal: APC should Stop using INEC to Get Sympathy

Latest Opinion Politics

Richard Peters

I had thought that elections are over, and that all forms of politically motivated propaganda, blackmails and lies will seize, not knowing that political gladiators are still in the business of sponsored blackmails, propaganda and lies, the most annoying part of it is that all these are coming from chieftains of Akwa Ibom State APC who should be role models to younger generation.

The many lies peddled by them against an electoral umpire who has excellently conducted the most freest, fairest and credible elections in the State is becoming so alarming and doesn’t speak well of them.

Their lies is what I came across on the social media spread by media agents of the APC captioned; “Ekere’s legal team raises alarm, ‘INEC playing PDP script, delaying APC access to inspect election materials'”

Ordinarily, I wouldn’t have bothered commenting to this cheap lies and propaganda because I know that when a man who was so desperate over something fails to get that thing, he will do anything to justify his failure, therefore I’m not surprised at this recent one. What did they not say or do before and during elections?

Despite calls for unity and peace from bodies, individuals and entities, to aggrieved parties in the March 2019 polls, a number of petitions still filed the table of the Akwa Ibom State election Petition tribunal, with their claimants seeking what they termed as a ‘justice’ for their ‘stolen mandate’.

Meanwhile, the supposed stolen mandate seekers had threatened fire and brimstone, federal might intervention and war-saw in the build-up to the election. One therefore wonders why they cower at the election petition tribunal for cover or perhaps, self-defense.

Akwa Ibom people cannot forget in a hurry the tension caused by these ‘justice-seekers’ in the build-up to the election; how they intimidated members and supporters of the PDP, sponsored protests and petitioned the PDP to the then Inspector General of Police (IGP) Idris; called for the redeployment of the state INEC REC, Mike Igini and threatened to bomb his vehicle; the sponsoring of miscreants to burn the Ibesikpo Asutan INEC office and other mischief.

But against all odds, the elections came and went. Igini resisted their financial inducement, threat to his life and ensured that the votes of Akwa Ibomites counted, against what was the norm, which he was even heard saying “I came to count votes and not money”.

Following the elections, the All Progressives Congress (APC) (‘justice-seekers’) arose to reject and counter the outcome of the elections, saying it was rigged in the favour of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) by the Independent National Electoral Commission’s (INEC) Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC).

Soon as the election petition tribunal began looking into petitions filed by aggrieved parties, they obliged the request of the APC’s gubernatorial candidate, Nsima Ekere to inspect materials used for the election. But this was stalled by the State REC.
Ekere’s legal team, led by the former Attorney General of Akwa Ibom State, Chief Victor Iyanam, then accused the INEC REC of acting the script of the PDP by deliberately denying APC access to inspect election materials following the order of the Election Tribunal which granted Ekere’s request to inspect same.

One would expect a legal team to follow legal procedures and exercise patience while it lasts but this is not so with the APC who first noted that the INEC was denying them access to the materials. They later excused that the process of granting them access was taking longer than necessary, and now, they are positing that INEC is acting the script of the PDP – how funny!

Akwa Ibom knows this game too well. People who fail tend to blame their woes on others, rather than seeing their mistakes and taking correction. In this case, the APC is trying to blame its woes on the INEC and at the same time, trying to elicit sympathy from the ‘federal brethren’.

“What they want is appointment for Nsima Ekere and other candidates who failed in contest, and the available name they feel can help them is INEC, since the PDP is not giving them that attention”, a Party Stakeholder noted.

“Whoever believes in that ridiculous story is as foolish as those who peddled it, for God’s sake, INEC under the watch of Igini is unbiased, transparent and strict in complying with the laid down legal procedure”, the Stakeholder said.

The APC legal team should be reminded that one cannot go to the INEC and demand an inspection of materials without possessing the requirements and following the processes involved to do so.

Meanwhile, the “accused” INEC REC has been out of the State on official duty and has not even had the chance of interacting with the external solicitors of the Commission. But his standing order that officers of the Commission must cooperate with the legal teams in the election petitions, especially with regard to obeying every order of the Election Petition Tribunal has been followed.

For the records, Barr. Igini, had at every forum of election stakeholders and in the media stressed the Commission’s responsibility to give explanations to all that transpired in the course of the elections.
It is therefore a spoken error to imply that a Commission which is ready to discharge its functions creditably would deny anyone access to materials used in the conduct of elections.

The APC should therefore take their pity party off INEC to a place where they will be consoled.
Igini remains in his honour.