The Akwa Ibom Integrity Alliance has joined in the call for security agencies and the Independent National Electoral Commission to probe reports of thuggery, vote buying, rigging and voter intimidation in Ikot Ekpene Senatorial district during the February 25, 2023, Presidential and National Assembly elections.
The Civil Society Group claimed that from evidence gathered during the polls, the presidential candidate of the Labour Party, Peter Obi garnered the most votes cast in all the local governments across the senatorial district but unfortunately, the votes were given to Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the APC candidate
Briefing journalists in Uyo on Monday, the Chairman of the group Stephen Abia wondered what went wrong after agents and observers on the field in Ikot Ekpene reported a widespread victory for Obi in the senatorial district, only for the votes to be dramatically upturned in favour of Tinubu.
He called on voters to avail security agents of information on the perpetrators of these illegalities in the interest of the democratic process in the state.
Abia maintained that such an act could result in the loss of confidence in the process by the electorates and could lead to general apathy in the next phase of the election coming up this weekend.
The group said it was impossible for Obi to lose the election everywhere in Ikot Ekpene senatorial district but won in several localities in Uyo and Eket respectively.
“How did Peter Obi win in several localities in Uyo and Eket, only to lose everywhere in Ikot Ekpene. That is obviously impossible”.
The statement read:
The group observed that beyond vote buying and monetary inducements, allegations of intimidation of voters and use of fake security agents to perpetrate illegalities were prevalent during the presidential polls in that senatorial district notable in Ikot Ekpene, Abak, and Etim Ekpo local government areas and urged relevant security agencies to ensure that such will not be repeated at the governorship polls of March 11.
The group also noted that if perpetrators are fished out and brought to book it will serve as a deterrent to others nursing such a course of actions in the next election even as it called on the people to remain calm and law-abiding as they come out en-mass to vote.