The Akwa Ibom state Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) Mr. Mike Igini, has described the conduct of local government election in the country as a sham.
Igini, who was a guest speaker at this year 2019 World Press Freedom Day in Akwa Ibom State held weekend at the Nigerian Union of Journalist (NUJ) press centre, Information Drive in Uyo, lamented how state governors have hijacked the local government elections, imposing people at will.
“Only 36 persons hijacked 774 local governments in Nigeria, just 36 people.
There’s no democracy in that area. Local government areas are now conquered areas by the thirty-six people’’ he stated.
Igini reputed for being thorough, frank and bold wherever he served as REC explained that during the last gubernatorial elections in Akwa Ibom all the election materials alongside the electoral officers were tracked by him to their destination, including when some of the actors were seen on tracking devices snatching ballot boxes. “We tracked all those who hijacked materials.
‘’I picked my phone and called some of them to let them know we have seeing them.
They were shocked. We have their pictures and they are all documented. So when they are talking about us rigging election, they should be careful”, he noted.
The REC who said that the commission under his watch did not assist any politician to secure electoral victory explained that the elections were won and lost by the votes of the electorate
He stated that he has not visited any politician or called any of them since he was sent to the state.
“I’m not saying two or three but just one and if just one person can come out to say I have visited or call him, since I resume duty here I will resign”, he stated.
He maintained that the commission had no sympathy for any political party but did its utmost to give equal opportunity and equal chance by creating a level playing field for political competition.
On the allegation that INEC delivered PVCs to a political group, he explained that at no point did INEC in Akwa Ibom state “offer, provide or deliver PVCs to any political group for political advantage.
“As a matter of fact when the PVCs of some voters were carted away by hoodlums at Okobo LGA, we made extra effort to ensure that they were reproduced and delivered to the rightful owners as individual voters not ato any group”.
Igini, who denied holding any secret meeting with individuals or any political group since on the 5th of September 2017 when he resumed duty to provide asymmetrical advantages in the election, urged the media to use freedom of expression effectively to guide and protect society adding that as public protector or guardian angel for society’s sanity and survival, they should keep in check by monitoring the exercise of power by those in authority holding public offices in trust.
“The media must expose acts of misinformation and the motivations for such acts in order to protect and preserve the benefits that democracy and good governance offer “he stated.