The Akwa Ibom State chapter of All Progressive Congress (APC) has lambasted the Resident Electoral Commissioner of Independent National Electoral Commission in the state and the People Democratic Party (PDP) for the arrest of its staff with four card readers few months after the general election.
Addressing newsmen at the weekend in Uyo, the chairman of the All Progressive Congress in Akwa Ibom, Hon Ini Okopido said the arrest of the INEC staff with the card readers after the elections has vindicated his party of all its claims that the electoral umpire colluded with PDP to rig the elections.
” First, we wish to thank the police for their diligence and hard work in making this arrest which has undoubtedly brought to the fore dubious machinations of INEC under Mike Igini, the REC. We believe that the card readers found with Mr. Nwankwo were some of those pre-loaded card readers used in rigging the elections in favour of the PDP and Udom Emmanuel.”
Okopido said since the arrest of the INEC staff, the Commission has tried to give flimsy explanation on the illegal possession of these devices by their staff , saying that their excuses were not only laughable but ridiculous and full of lies.
He said one of the explanations of INEC on the matter was that the suspect Ejike Nwankwo used the card readers to train ad- hoc staffs before the election after which he( Nwankwo) fell sick and could not return the machines.
Okopido queried why the suspect did not call his colleagues in Information Technology Department of INEC to retrieve the equipment and wondered what he was doing with such sensitive election material in secret.
“The lies told by INEC are too glaring. We request Akwa Ibom people to discountenance these fabricated tissues of lies by INEC; and we request the police to get to the bottom of this stranger-than-fiction drama. ”
He accused PDP and Akwa Ibom State government of mounting pressure on the police to suppress the case.
Okopido listed other irregularities of the electoral umpire even before the 2019 general election to include recruitment of ad- hoc staff loyal to PDP, reckless and irresponsible comments from the resident commissioner, delay in granting assess for inspection of election materials as ordered by election tribunal, sharp response in defense of the resident electoral commissioner by chieftains of PDP among others.
He warned the chieftains of PDP to desist from insulting Senator Akpabio as many of them were beneficiaries of his ( Akpabio) generosity.
It would be recalled that the Akwa Ibom state police command last week paraded a staff of Independent National Electoral Commission Ejike Nwankwo for allegedly possessing four card readers in his car.
Since then, the APC and PDP has been engaging in war of words alleging that the card readers were used to rig the 2019 general election in the state.
But the Independent National Electoral Commission ( INEC) through the head of Public Relations Mr Dom Akpan in a press statement said the card readers were used to train ad- hoc staffs for the 2019 general election.