By Ofonime Honesty

Candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) for the Abak-Etim Ekpo-Ika Federal Constituency race in Akwa Ibom State, Clement Jimbo has blown open a purported plot hatched by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to rig the forthcoming supplementary in the area.

Addressing newsmen in Uyo on Wednesday, Jimbo, who leads the incumbent Reps member and PDP candidate, Hon. Aniekan Umanah, with a margin of 2,962 votes, said the electoral commission erred by declining to declare him (Jimbo) as winner of the election and also by failing to give reasons why election was declared inconclusive at some of the 25 polling units where the supplementary election is to hold on April 15, 2023.

He explained, “the power of the Commission to declare election inconclusive or hold a supplementary election, is as provided for in Section 24 (3) of the Electoral Act 2022 which states as follows: where a date has been appointed for the holding of an election, and there is reason to believe that there is or has been substantial disruption of election in a polling unit or constituency or it is impossible to continue with the election occasioned by threat to
peace and security of electoral officials and materials, the Commission shall suspend the election and appoint
another date for the continuation of the election or the process.”

READ:  Senate Presidency: Akpabio's camp opens up on 'stepping down'

The candidate who appeared at the briefing alongside his Counsel, Inibehe Effiong Esq. and Samuel Udoh Esq. alarmed that “the plan to hold supplementary election in polling units where election took place or where the
process was concluded or where no reason has been given for supplementary
elections in Abak/Etim Ekpo/Ika Federal Constituency, is not only sinister and
illegal, but part of a well-orchestrated scheme by compromised officials within
the Commission to manipulate the election in favour of the PDP.”

He announced that his campaign organization having undertaken a rigorous verification and investigation of the listed 25 polling units for supplementary election, discovered “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, signed by agents of various political parties and even transmitted to the INEC Result
Viewing Portal (IReV).”

“For example, polling unit results (Form EC8A(II) for Abak/ Etim Ekpo/ Ika
Federal Constituency held on February 25, 2023 in 4 out of the 25 polling units
which have been listed by the Commission for the April 15, 2023 supplementary election, were uploaded on the IReV. The 4 units in question are as follows: 1) Abak LGA- Abak Urban III, Primary School, Oku Abak; 2) Ika LGA – Odoro 1, Village Square, Ikot Onono; 3) Ika LGA – Odoro 1, Nto Ukpong Ntia; 4) Etim Ekpo LGA – Etim Ekpo V, Primary School, Nto Edet. Out of the 25 listed polling units, Form EC40G (Record of Election not held/Cancelled at Polling Unit Level) was filled and uploaded on the IRev in only 14 polling units documenting the reasons why election did not take place or was cancelled in the said 14 units (elections disrupted).

READ:  A’Ibom Speaker Sues For Cooperation As Govt Moves To Reclaim Nung Ikono Ufok- Ishiet Road

“In 4 polling units, results were not uploaded and no reason whatsoever has
been offered in respect of the 4 units. Neither Form EC8A (II) nor EC40G were
uploaded on the IReV in these units, namely: 1. Etim Ekpo LGA – Etim Ekpo III, Secondary School, Etok Uruk Eshiet;

  1. Etim Ekpo LGA – Etim Ekpo III, Village Hall, Etok Uruk Eshiet; 3. Etim Ekpo LGA – Etim Ekpo III. Village Hall, Ikot Nkim, Utu Clan; 4. Etim Ekpo VII – Primary School, Obio Nung Achat,” the press statement explained.

He also raised alarmed over an alleged plan to “compromise the integrity of the
Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) across the poling units where the
Supplementary election is to take place” by preloading BVAS machines in at least three polling units with higher number of registered voters to aid in the rigging of
the election, bribe INEC officials as well as militarize the supplementary election though heavy deployment of political thugs and fake policemen and fake soldiers.

READ:  Pastor Umo Eno and the Ibom Deep Seaport

Jimbo called for a review of the polling units where the supplementary election is expected to take place, removal and replacement of the Electoral Officer
(EO) of Etim Ekpo Local Government Area, Mr Edet Eyo Effiong following
“troubling indications that the neutrality of the said EO has been undermined”, examination of all BVAS machines intended to be used to ensure that the
integrity and default components of the BVAS have not been compromised, uploading and transmitting of the results on the IReV in real time, and guarantee of the safety of voters and officials of INEC.

Thanking his supporters for keeping faith in his aspiration, he appealed to them to remain resolute in voting and defending their votes again on April 15.

Meanwhile, Barr Inibehe Effiong, Counsel to Mr Jimbo divulged that he has submitted a petition to INEC in Akwa Ibom State and Abuja.

Effiong said all concerns raised by his client were very cogent, and called on INEC and security agencies to purge themselves of all forms of malpractices before, during and after the election.

He added that the supplementary election is a self-redemption opportunity for INEC.