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MIKE IGINI AND HIS ONLY OFFENCE

Richard Peters,Uyo.

 

Elections that were conducted by INEC has come and gone, and some political parties have emerged winners, while others have conceded defeat. Those who felt aggrieved have approached the Tribunal to seek redress,  and all parties including the umpire that conducted the elections are conducting themselves in an orderly manner.

 

But in Akwa ibom State, the case is different. So much noise, truck load of lies,  cartons of propaganda and high profile blackmail.  All these are done by the APC in the State aimed at mudslinging the hard earned reputation of Mike Igini, the Resident Electoral Commissioner in Akwa Ibom State.

 

Often times, I asked myself why the APC in the state are still bent on attacking Igini. I searched and investigated to know his offences and I discovered that Igini’s offences are not far from his hard and essential stance  on justice, fairness and equity in the just concluded elections in the State.

 

For those who care to know, When Igini arrived the state, Akpabio then in PDP told the people that APC brought him to remove PDP and to correct that erroneous impression, Igini had to pay official courtesy call to stakeholders and openly told them  that he was not  interested in doing the bidding of anyone even though it was the normal practice. This he did just to correct such blackmail against him.

 

The former Senate minority leader, Senator Akpabio told the PDP then that with  Igini, PDP would have problem because Igini will not allow for the release of result sheets. He started unsuccessfully the move to get him out of the Akwa lbom since 2017 and by the time he moved into APC he brought with him the same idea of removing him to get a commissioner that would give him result sheets.

 

When their attempt to remove Igini from Akwa Ibom failed, they now stayed behind to sponsor some youths to protest, yet it failed. It was at this point that they resorted to bombing his car, causing some tension in the state in order for the election to be moved to a date of their choice. But it failed again. We heard it all in the audio clip of Nsima Ekere that leaked.

 

Akwa Ibom people were destined to be saved by God. In the audio clip that went viral before the governorship election, Nsima Ekere was heard contracting with militants on how they would invade Akwa Ibom State with Ak47 and bomb to kill and destroy lives, which up until date, the APC and Nsima Ekere are yet to react to the audio clip.

 

Now back to Igini’s only offence, in all this, Igini stood tall to conduct all the elections which by different assessments, the elections were not that easy but they were the freest, fairest and credible elections ever conducted in Akwa Ibom State. Perhaps, this is Igini’s offence: Providing an opportunity for Akwa Ibomites to exercise their civic responsibilities.

 

For the records, Mike Igini is not a baby in the task he was assigned by INEC. The man of valour had been the REC in Edo, Ebonyi and Cross River States where he delivered his tasks with all amounts of competence, dexterity and zest.

 

So laudable was his performances at his previous places of assignment that we never got to hear of his exploits until the murky waters of Akwa Ibom politics brought him into limelight.

Meanwhile, it would interest you to know that people generally, do not appreciate those who speak the naked truth. They’d rather dine and wine with those who tell them sugar-coated lies to rock their over-bloated egos and fill them up with some sorts of  fallacies up until they hit them at the mid-riff.

 

Soon after the elections, winners were declared, and the next line of news we heard from the APC media has it that Igini compromised with PDP to steal their mandate, of course this is so laughable. If we talk of compromise, it was  Nsima Ekere who recruited so many people to compromise Igini and no other party. If I’m lying, let Nsima Ekere tell Akwa Ibom people Who Maurice Ekpenyong is? And what he gave him 2 billion Naira? Nsima Ekere should tell Akwa Ibom people about those people who duped him under the name of trying to link him with INEC.To be sincere, PDP was so scared of Mike Igini and they went to work: reaching out to the people at the grassroot.

 

Given the strident insistence by Akwa-Ibom APC that the state INEC REC compromised against them; I have overtime asked them some salient questions and I still demand that kindly provide accurate answers to concerned Akwa Ibomites and Nigerians who are keenly following the whole case;

 

Were results written before the election day or on election day ?

If before or on election day  and they were in charge of security agencies, how many people did they arrest?

Did Igini hold any meeting with any of the candidates in person or through intermediaries to do any favour for anyone?

Is it even possible for one man who was never at the 2,980 polling units to determine the electoral outcome for a political party? And yet since the accusation of compromise or collusion no single evidence has been brought forward.

Did all political parties not participate  in the open distribution of sensitive  election materials  at CBN, Uyo and were  these materials not at all polling units?

Did people actually vote?

Were their votes counted and result entered into the original result sheets at every polling unit?

Were party agents given duplicate copies of the result sheets entered in the presence of all?

Did Akwa Ibom APC attempt to bribe Igini but failed?

When they wailed that Igini deployed PDP members as ad-hoc staff and Igini called leaders of all the political parties to look at the list of ad-hoc staff so as to point out any PDP members on the list, did they spot anyone?

Is it a fact that unlike 2015 when the current APC political warlords in Akwa-Ibom  were in PDP, they only allocated Buhari 5% of votes in the Presidential  election, but in 2019 when the Akwa-Ibom  people genuinely  voted for Buhari he got over 36% of votes above the minimum  required constitutional  25% threshold and performing better than some of the warlords locally?

Does relocation  of 22 polling units from private homes and bushes to public accessible  places for voters amount to compromise?

How do the APC political  warlords in Akwa-Ibom  state explain fielding a  Gubernatorial  candidate  who cannot win in his own Ward, LGA, Fed.constituency, Senatorial  zone in both first and second phase elections  and yet expect to win?

Does Akwa lbom APC think that Nigerians and the Presidency can be deceived by their antics and move the federal government against an innocent public spirited and committed REC who has verifiable records of integrity?

How then was INEC in Akwa Ibom compromised?

 

What I sensed to be one of the problems of Akwa Ibom APC is the arrogance of their relationship with the center. They believed that they are controlling the center. They feel that they can intimidate anybody. They thought they can do anything, that was why they redeployed 7 commissioners of Police in a period of 3 weeks.

 

Even the most disciplined agency Dss was not spared by Senator Akpabio who blackmailed the then director to the presidency to control it’s leadership in the state but he failed. Nevertheless, he ensured that his former chief details was made Head of operations of the Dss in the state. When that could not change the situation, Akpabio ensured the removal of the state Director in less than 24hrs to the election. Again, the new Director Ganga never carried out the bidding of any politician but demonstrated  professionalism . The question we should ask is, If INEC Recs were to be removed at will based on the desire of Senator Godswill Akpabio, Nsima Ekere and Akwa Ibom APC as they did with the removal of all security heads in Akwa lbom state, a total of 7 commissioners of police just before the election, who will then have confidence in the the electoral process?

 

Ever since their selfish moves to rubbish Igini was exposed, they have been running from pillar to post, to cover their nakedness. But too late for them. The general public who were hitherto oblivious of their frivolities are now aware and abreast of their sinister moves.

They lied that Igini refused to allow them inspect materials, when INEC had always complied by the directives of the tribunal by releasing a schedule for inspection. Note that while they are claiming falsely that they were denied access, the order granted them was on 15th April but they  came to lNEC on 25th and were asked to return for commencement on 26th and they never returned till 30th April, yet in between this period they granted various press conferences lying to Nigerians that they were denied access to inspect election materials.

 

Again for the Eket federal constituency, after the initial periods granted by the tribunal elapsed, another two working days were again granted last Monday to  APC lawyers for the sake of justice  to inspect election materials (Tuesday and Thursday), and again they never turned up whereas other respondents were there and they signed the election materials and inspected the register.

 

INEC staff all waited all day but the APC legal team never turned up.

 

At the resume hearing next week they will lie again to the tribunal. We hope lNEC will tender the attendance register to the tribunal and shame these blackmailers who are basically making noise in Akwa lbom just to be remembered by BUHARI for appointment.

 

Section 137, paragraph 3 of the electoral act 2010 says that “if the petitioner complains of the conduct of an electoral officer, a presiding officer, or returning officer, it shall not be necessary to join such officer or person notwithstanding the nature of the complaint and the commission shall, in this instance, ve- (a) made a respondent”

 

If an electoral act could be this clear on who to join in a petition, Why joining Igini as respondent. This was why the Governorship Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Uyo, May 30, 2019 struck out the name of Mr Mike Igini, as one of the parties in the suit filed by Obong Nsima Ekere.

 

I wonder whether Nsima Ekere’s lawyers even know what they are doing?

I can now see why Nsima Ekere lawyer’s apologized to the tribunal.

 

We have now seen Igini’s offence-  Standing for truth, justice, equity and honesty.

 

Whether APC like it or not, Igini did what others couldn’t do by standing for justice, equity and fairness. And these are rare virtues that the US, the UK and other world powers are looking for in their Public Office holders. But here, such virtues are considered evil. How did we get here?

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