The legal team of Mr. Nsima Ekere, the APC governorship candidate in the March 9 gubernatorial election in Akwa Ibom State has accused INEC of frustrating the party on the inspection of election materials as ordered by the tribunal.
The lead counsel, Chief Victor Iyanam, who stated this in a press conference held in Uyo on Tuesday said the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) was playing the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) script by deliberately delaying the party from inspecting the election materials.
He said that the tribunal order issued since April 15, mandating INEC to allow APC legal team to carry out the inspection has not been obeyed by INEC until today.
According to him, “INEC has continued to give the party flimsy excuses to delay the inspection and frustrate the party from achieving its objectives.”
Iyanam said that INEC as an umpire should not be seen as playing the script of PDP to cause unnecessary delay since the tribunal has a time frame to conclude its assignment.
His words, “We are, however, distressed by the delay, refusal and unwholesome excuses given by your office for non-compliance.
“Some of the excuses include, non-availability of the materials as a result of transport challenges in bringing materials from Local Government Areas.
“Inadequate staff to carry out those duties and the fact that the INEC staff are busy with Sen. Godswill Akpabio’s inspection.
“The excuses have variously continued to be untenable in the light of the short period of time to prove our case at the Election Petition Tribunal.
“INEC supposed to be unbiased. We wonder why INEC is playing ‘hide and seek’, giving flimsy excuses to deny us access to inspect materials.”
The lead counsel urged INEC in the state led by Resident Electoral Commissioner, Mr Mike Igini, to expedite action to enable the APC pursue and fulfil the order of the tribunal without any further delay.
Iyanam expressed the readiness of Ekere’s legal team to press for contempt against INEC and the Resident Electoral Commissioner in the state should there be any further delay.
He said that the chances of Ekere winning at the tribunal was very bright, stressing that the APC has strong evidence to prove its case, adding that the inspection would concretize their evidence.