APC, PDP, INEC In Mudslinging Battle As Akwa Ibom Election Tribunal Heats Up - |Ads4naira Blog|

APC, PDP, INEC In Mudslinging Battle As Akwa Ibom Election Tribunal Heats Up

As the Election Petition Tribunal in Akwa Ibom
State enters the final stage, the All Progressive
Congress (APC), Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)
and the Independent National Electoral
Commission (INEC) have engaged themselves in
trading claims and counter-claims in an apparent
bid to sway the tribunal and public opinion, as
they throw everything into the ring to come out
victorious. Notably among the cases attracting so
much attention and mudslinging are the ones by
Senator Godswill Akpabio of APC instituted
against Senator Chris Ekpenyong, PDP and INEC.
Then there is another by the governorship
candidate of APC, Obong Nsima Ekere against
Governor Udom Emmanuel, PDP and INEC.
Also, accusations and counter accusation from all
sides have thickened as the matters progress.In a
statement signed by its state’s Publicity
Secretary, Nkereuwem Enyongekere , APC said,
“We have received credible intelligence and
classified information that the PDP and other
respondents in the ongoing Governorship Election
Petition trial are making desperate attempts to
tamper with the avalanche of the exhibits and
documented evidence tendered by our great party,
APC, and its governorship Candidate, Ekere, at the
tribunal. The PDP and Governor Udom Emmanuel,
we understand, have been embarrassed and
flummoxed by these exhibits which show clearly
what we have been saying even before the
elections: that the PDP and INEC were working
together to perpetrate one of the worst electoral
frauds in the state. Our evidence and the exhibits
have shown clearly that there was no
accreditation at most of the polling units during
the Governorship Election. This is why INEC
allowed PDP supporters to engage in multiple
voting using unclaimed PVCs.
“It is therefore no surprise that given their
proclivity for fraudulent practices, the respondents
in the case may want to extend their stock in
trade to the court premises. It was in anticipation
of these nefarious and fraudulent tendencies on
their part that necessitated our earlier call for the
tribunal to sit in Abuja. But our suggestion was
vehemently opposed by the PDP. We now know
why.
“We are calling on our security agencies to be on
the lookout for these unscrupulous politicians who
have no restraint in executing any unconscionable
action to achieve their evil purposes. The tribunal
secretariat staffers are hereby warned not to be
induced into criminal activities by the promise of
huge financial payments, a familiar practice of the
PDP. To be forewarned is to be forearmed”.
Two weeks ago there were publications in some
national dailies alleging that the Returning Officer
for Essien Udim in the 2019 National Assembly
Elections, Dr. William Olosunde, had cancelled
Akpabio’s vote at the instance of the INEC
Resident Electoral Commissioner, Mr. Mike Igini.
That Olosunde had said the results which had
already been collated at the local government and
senatorial district offices of INEC which showed
that Akpabio had won convincingly were cancelled
on the orders of Igini in his office in Uyo. But
Olosunde at the tribunal debunked the allegation,
saying it was the absence of results from the
polling units that caused the cancellation of
Akpabio’s votes and the results.
Just last week, an audio and video in the social
media was said to have been released by
Akpabio’s team and the APC alleging a
conversation between Olosunde and a lady. In the
alleged audio conversation, Olosunde was heard
to have said that the original 61,000 votes
allocated to Akpabio were done without card
reader and not evidenced on the register of voters
because when the card reader was checked or
queried by him and that the only valid legal
accredited votes contained were 5,000 but INEC
had said, “our record shows that the officer so
claimed in the video was not posted to that ward
he claimed he worked”.
The former Vice President of Nigerian Bar
Association (NBA), Ikeja Branch, Mr. Monday
Ubani, was reported to have allegedly boasted
that he would use his connections with some
renowned lawyers and judges in Abuja to secure
Akpabio’s triumph in the ongoing tribunal against
his opponent, Sen. Ekpenyong and incite the
public against Igini.
While rising in defense of Igini and INEC, the
Convener Countryfirst Movement, Mr. Chris
Mustapha Nwaokobia Jnr, said the attempt of the
legal team of Senator Akpabio to blackmail and
rubbish the person of Igini “will not stand, for
truth will always prevail over falsehood”.
He said, “The truth about the integrity of Citizen
Mike Igini is profound. As INEC REC Mike Igini
has remained a non-conformist and a believer in
due process; his records in Cross River and Edo
States are halcyon; so, the media and legal
teams of Akpabio should be told to focus on the
case in court and spare us the social media
theatrics and effort to blackmail and rubbish the
person of Mike Igini. No, the blackmail won’t
stand; it won’t. We know Mike Igini.
“I’m compelled to challenge my friend and
brother, Barrister Monday Onyekachi Ubani, to
prevail on his colleagues in the Akpabio legal, and
media team to face the matters before the court,
as the doctored tape on social media alleging
that Mike Igini ordered the Electoral Officer (EO)
who superintended over the Senatorial contest
between Akpabio and Ekpeyong ditto to cancel
some votes that were pro-Akpabio is not only
spurious, but demonic, and is not before the
court. The tape presently on social media was
clearly manufactured and procured with the
impish and impious motive to destroy one of our
own, and present him in bad light. But the evil
motive will, shall and must fail. Mike Igini is the
untainted gift of the civil society to INEC. The
records are there, and no conspiracy of falsehood
will prevail over truth.
“Since the INEC’s EO who superintended the
Senatorial election in dispute has unequivocally
said in and out of court that at no point was he
asked by Mike Igini to cancel any result or
figures. I implore Monday Ubani and the entire
Akpabio legal and media team to withdraw the
false, spurious and wicked tape seeking to
demean one of our own. Everyone has the right to
keep the friends and clients of their choice;
Monday Ubani has chosen to do so with Akpabio,
but I’m unable to believe that he will do so at the
detriment of one of our own. I also doubt that he
will support efforts to rubbish one of the leading
lights of the civil society. However, Monday
Ubani’s rebuttal of the allegation that he has
chosen to rubbish Mike Igini for Akpabio to win
the case in court appears weak, and he knows
that.
“At this point in our nation’s history, we must
support and defend the few visible lights of truth,
decency and decorum we have, and repudiate
every tendency to rubbish the brightest for lucre.
We must reevaluate our collective values and etch
profound mores on our collective canvass. I
cannot therefore watch unaddressed the
calculated effort to rubbish one of the best of the
progressive left. No, I can’t. Akpabio and his
team should face the matter in court and spare
us their dance macabre and shenanigans. For
light will constantly overcome darkness, and truth
will continuously prevail over falsehood. Leave
Mike Igini alone, the darts won’t stick”.
According to a political analyst in the state, Dr.
Bassey Edet, “This is the smear campaign to dent
the image of lgini. If Akpabio knows that this
doctored and edited audio conversation has
massive evidential value to his case why did his
legal team not tender it to the tribunal like the
cooked, discredited one he brought showing
Akpabio on long sleeve walking to a voting centre,
but under cross examination to show
accreditation, he was wearing short sleeve? Why
is this audiotape that “indicts” lgini found useful
only on social media and not at the tribunal to
prove his case where he has closed his case?
“A society, a country and government that will not
encourage, promote and protect men and women
of honesty and integrity but allows corrupt people
who plan to bomb official vehicle of an electoral
commissioner to walk free and still continue to
carry out smear campaign against such a man of
proven integrity is an unviable country that does
not deserve the loyalty of citizens”.
Equally commenting is another political activist in
the state, Mr. Imaikop Udosen, who said, “I didn’t
expect anything less because Ubani has lost
public trust, relevance and significance. But crying
will not save his face and Nigerian should note
his antics as new deceitful tactics.
“It’s a shocker and it beats my imagination to
hear that even those that should be the
custodians of truth, these self-styled activists
have transmogrified themselves to oracles of
falsehood, lies and deceit. They have been
dignified as inventors of evil and deceit. It shows
how decayed our society and those who on a
daily basis deceive Nigerians that they are
defending their interests on radio and television”.
Udosen said it was deceitful for anyone to say
anything negative against Igini because “this is a
man who made it possible for all the Akwa lbom
people to see ballot papers for the first time after
1999, who our people see as our liberator from
the manipulators of our state and their devious
group all these years”.
However, INEC has put a lie to APC and its
chieftains’ claims, saying it never robbed Senator
Akpabio and APC of victory in the February 23
and March 9 general elections. Rather, the
commission said the APC and its faithful are busy
fabricating stories to sway the tribunal and the
public.
INEC, in a reaction captioned, “Media Campaign
Against Igini as a Strategy for Winning at the
Tribunal”, dated July 29 and signed by its Public
Affairs Officer, Mr. Don Etukudo, said, “Conscious
of its status as an umpire, INEC is only interested
in the justice of the matters before the tribunal
and it’s only there to explain how it conducted
the elections in the state.
“In spite of this resolve not to join issues with
anyone, the commission wishes to note that the
Akwa Ibom State chapter of the APC and Senator
Akpabio had since identified Igini as the man they
must demonise if they are to win their cases at
the tribunal. Just as they saw his removal from
the state as the only way they could win the
2019 elections, their current thinking seems to be
that if Igini is abused, maligned, vilified and
scandalised enough, the tribunal will award them
their ‘their mandate’, no matter the strength or
weakness of their petitions. So media mercenaries
are hired to pick snippets from tribunal
proceedings, twist and convulse the narrative to
portray Igini as a villain and plant the retches
online and pliable media houses.
“First, it was that INEC was withholding election
materials ordered to be released to them by the
tribunal. Now it is that Igini instructed the
Collation Officer to cancel their votes in Essien
Udim. Media spaces are bought, spurious audio
and video recordings are procured, doctored and
splashed on social media to promote these
falsehood.
“Perhaps, they need to be assured that no one in
the commission is by any means fazed by their
shenanigans. The commission has a clear
conscience, convinced that it did its best to give
the Akwa Ibom people the opportunity to elect
their leaders according to the law. If they are
capable of reasoning, we would advise that rather
than dissipate their energies in whining and
waging a futile media campaign against Igini, they
should invest their exertions at the tribunal where



  
they can reclaim ‘their mandate.”

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