The Resident Electoral Commissioner in Akwa Ibom State, Mr Mike Igini, said the All Progressives Congress in the State currently has no governorship candidate for the 2023 governorship election.
Mr Igini disclosed this on TVC’s Breakfast show on Friday while reacting to the controversy around the conduct of APC primaries and allegation that the commission under his watch is meddling in party internal affairs.
“It is very clear, the rule of law is preferable to the rule of individual no matter who you are. With respect to guber, there’s no guber candidate for APC in Akwa Ibom state. And I must make it very clear, With respect to guber, no guber primary was conducted.”
The APC Youth Wing in Akwa Ibom State had on Wednesday barricaded the office of Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC o along Udo Udoma Street to protest against the alleged high-handedness of the State INEC REC Mr. Mike Igini and calling for his redeployment from the state for for peace and fair-play in the forthcoming general elections.
At a peaceful protest staged in the early hours of today, the APC Youth Wing wielded protest posters which read “Mike Igini must go; Mike Igini is the new Anini in Nigeria; Mike Igini is highly compromised”,
But reacting to the development, Mr Igini said INEC’s basic responsibility is just monitoring of the conduct of party’s primary and nothing more.
“Let make one thing very clear, under the 1999 constitution (as amended) section 223 states that political parties are expected to manage their parties through the democratic process of electing their members. And INEC as a regulator by virtue of section 160 is to monitor the operations and organisation.
“Under section 84(1) of the electoral act, political parties intending to field candidates shall conduct primaries, shall be monitored by the INEC.”
Addressing the claims by APC some groups that INEC officials monitored their factional primary, Mr Igini said the electoral commission remains one and there are standard procedure for deploying its personnel for party primaries.
“Procedurally, INEC is one and remains one. Party primaries are conducted at the state level. The commission 9at the national elvel) would send some junior staff to come to the state, ones you are posted to the state, you must present the letter of posting to the REC and ones that is done, I will endorse it.
“For governorship primary, REC will lead the team, for Presidential primary, INEC chairman leads the team or he can delegate. As of this moment I have challenged them to mention INEC staff that monitored their primary but they are yet to come out. Akwa Ibom is one of the states they don’t do election before, they write results.”
Mr Igini who decried the state of manipulation in Nigeria’s political system said, “it is shameful for our country, We are ridiculing this nation, we ridicule our system, we are telling the world that indeed that our country is a permissive society. We are discussing forgery and we are doing as if we are licking sweet, like honey, what kind of a country. A permissive society. How can you say that an event that was concluded on 27 of May and report written of a senatorial primary, and we woke on the 10th of June to what is called a breaking news that a certain person had won a primary last night. The thing came to me as a surprise. Let me say that you can buy some people, you cannot buy everybody.”
Speaking on the way forward on the forgery allegation, the INEC REC said the Nigeria Police is already involved and he’s aware that investigations have been concluded. “As I speak to you, the Police are on the matter and I am aware the matter has been concluded. The result they forged belong to the party. It is their affair all we needed was just to be there.”
Reacting to the frequency of court’s intervention in electoral process in Nigeria and his personal safety, Mr Igini said: “It is the failure of polity that makes court to interfere in political matters. Courts are not meant to answer political questions. First and foremost, we must take responsibility for personally safety but the state has responsibility to protect those who want the best for the country”
Mr Igini said categorically that the judgment of the Federal High Court, authenticating the Stephen Ntokepo-led APC of the State was obtained fraudulently.