By Bernard Tolani Dada Uyo |
Some leadership of Political parties under the aegis of good governance in Akwa Ibom State, yesterday, submitted a protest letter to the Akwa Ibom State Independent Electoral Commission, to register their grievances over alleged disenfranchisement and charging of illegal fees by the agency.
The group demanded reinstatement of all members disenfranchised, and called on the electoral body to stop what it termed illegal fee collection, threatening to stage a state-wide protest after seven days, if their demands are not acceded to.
Speaking with our correspondent in Uyo, one of the aggrieved persons and chairman of the Accord Party in the state, Mr Joe Etiaba, lamented that the state electoral umpire has turned itself into a revenue collection agency.
According to him the agency is alleged to be illegally charging N100,000 for the position of councillorship and N250,000 for the chairmanship position, adding that it has also disenfranchised members who have been duly screened.
“What we have done is that we have submitted a letter, and have given the agency seven days. If they fail to reply our letter, we are going to stage a state-wide protest because they are charging our candidates illegal fee of N100,000 for councillorship and N250,000 for the chairmanship position, which is clearly not the duty of AKISIEC to do so.
“AKISIEC has also disenfranchised a lot of our candidates including a disabled, for not paying the fee they charged. They have also removed the names of candidates who were screened and certified qualified for the election” he said.
Also speaking, the 2019 governorship candidate of the Abundant Nigeria Renewal Party, Mr Iboro Otu, said they were out to tell the whole world that there is no democracy in Akwa Ibom State.
According to him the chairmen of different political parties came out to resist the arbitrary laws by AKISIEC and political repression where the voice of the people is no longer heard
Reacting, the state chairman of AKISIEC, Elder Aniedi-Abasi Ikoiwak, explained that the nomination fee they are complaining about is not a new thing, adding that it is source of revenue to the government.
“The nomination fee was published the time the guidelines came out, which was even in Akwa Ibom State Budget 2020. It’s not a new thing; it is a source of revenue to the government, and one kobo does not go to AKISIEC.”
On the issue of disqualification AKISIEC chairman said most of them did not follow the guidelines stipulated in the Electoral Act, 2010, and were disqualified.”