An independent group in Akwa Ibom State, has claimed that the conduct of INEC officials, and other security agencies in Saturday’s Presidential and National Assembly elections in many areas of Akwa Ibom state marred the polls.
The group, Akwa Ibom Progressives Coalition, described the elections in the state as, ”shambolic, disgraceful, and completely unbecoming of election umpires in the 21st century.”
In a release signed by its secretary-general, Akpan Udo Solomon, the group expresses their concerns about recent events in this state.
Part of the statement read: “From reports and independent observations, the malicious intention and activities of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in the conduct of the Presidential and National Assembly elections in Akwa Ibom on Saturday left a lot to be desired.
“It is safe to conclude that Nigeria has taken a huge step back in consolidating on progress made regarding elections in the last couple of years.
“It is sad to note that a body as revered as INEC will stoop low to get into cahoots with politicians and other parties in the state to embarrass itself and shamelessly become a tool in the hand of politicians to promote their selfish agenda.
“Akwa Ibom witnessed several incidents of voter intimidation, violence, and other untoward activities that marred elections in many polling units and areas that were seen to be loyal to the opposition across the length and breadth of the state, and these were either initiated or helped along by the INEC, the various state security apparatus, as well as other unscrupulous elements.”
“You will recall that the main opposition party in the State, the All Progressives Congress (APC), had earlier raised an alarm over the establishment of a parallel security agency by the State Government to prosecute its election-winning agenda.
“Some of the incidents that were reported by the press and other independent observers include massive cancellations of results from poling units in opposition party strongholds.
“Massive collaboration was also reported between the state government, police and INEC officials to disrupt the voting process in opposition strongholds and intimidate voters and supporters, whilst there were widespread reports of opposition supporters and agents being compelled at gunpoint to vote for the PDP.”
According to the group, there was brazen use of security forces to intimidate, forcefully coerce and threaten the electorate in many areas of Akwa Ibom state by the state government.
The group therefore urged the relevant authorities to issue a stern warnings to the PDP and other collaborators to desist from inciting violence or announcing or publishing fake, unverified results.