July 16, 2024

House of Reps candidate decries plans to scuttle supplementary elections

House of Reps candidate decries plans to scuttle supplementary elections

Ini Billie, Uyo

The All Progressives Congress (APC) House of Representatives candidate for Abak/Etim Ekpo/ Ika Federal Constituency in Akwa Ibom State, Mr Clement Jimbo has decried plans to scuttle the supplementary elections scheduled for April 25.

Jimbo who questioned the rationale for the supplementary elections in 25 polling units out of the 386 polling units in the constituency, alleged that some Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) workers were planning to scuttle the supplementary elections in favour of his main contender, People’s Democratic Party (PDP) candidate, Mr Aniekan Umanah.

Speaking on Wednesday in Uyo during a press conference, the APC candidate said he scored the majority of the lawful votes cast with a margin lead of 2,962 votes after the February 25, 2023, House of Representatives elections, and wondered why INEC declared the constituency election inconclusive as a result of election cancellation in some polling units.

Jumbo stated that alongside his lawyer, Mr Inibehe Effiong, he has petitioned the INEC Chairman to investigate into the allegations and stop the plans to scuttle the supplementary elections.

“We are minded to alert the public of ongoing devious efforts by compromised elements within the Commission, acting in collaboration with some corrupt leaders and interested persons within the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Akwa Ibom State, to engage in dubious, sinister and illegal efforts and actions which are geared towards manipulating the forthcoming supplementary election in our federal constituency, with the singular agenda of concocting inflated, fraudulent and fictional figures and votes in order to suppress, surpass and 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 Commission, acting in concert with their sponsors in the PDP, to illegally increase the number of polling units where a supplementary election is to hold in the federal constituency.

“This fraudulent scheme has now been substantiated by a worrisome publication on the Commission’s website to the effect that April 15, 2023, supplementary election for Abak/Etim Ekpo/Ika Federal Constituency will be held in 25 polling units.

“We have undertaken a rigorous verification and investigation of the listed 25 polling units published by the Commission. We found to our chagrin, that the Commission has not offered cogent and verifiable reasons, on the basis for isolating the said 25 polling units for supplementary election.

“Our fears have been further confirmed by the fact that some of the polling units listed in the publication were added arbitrarily, despite that election took place in the units and votes were scored, counted, recorded, declared, and signed by agents of various political parties and even transmitted to the INEC Result Viewing Portal (IReV),” he stated.

The APC candidate called on the INEC Chairman and the Resident Electoral Commissioner in Akwa Ibom State to initiate measures to scuttle plans to truncate the supplementary elections.

He urged that in line with the dictates of Section 24 of the Electoral Act 2022, polling units where elections had taken place and results already uploaded on IReV should be excluded from the supplementary exercise.

He also demanded the removal and replacement of the Electoral Officer (EO) of Etim Expo Local Government Area, Mr Edet Eyo Effiong, saying the neutrality of the EO has been undermined.

Reacting to the issues raised, INEC’S Public Relations Officer, Mr Odaro Aisien said, “This particular issue you are referring to is being examined by the commission. In other words, there are specific polling units and wards where the supplementary polls will be conducted.

“INEC national headquarters, Abuja, and the commission office in Akwa Ibom are both working on the matter. So, because the matter is being considered, we cannot make any concrete statement now”.

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