A human rights lawyer, Inibehe Effiong has petitioned the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, (INEC), Professor Yakubu Mahmood over alleged move by suspected officials of the commission in Akwa Ibom State in collusion with some persons in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to rig the April 15 House of Representatives supplementary elections in Abak/Etim Ekpo/ Ika federal Constituency in the State.
He added that the petition was also copied to the state Resident Electoral Commissioner, Cyril Omoregbe to take appropriate action.
Effiong disclosed this on Wednesday in Uyo during a joint press conference with his client, Mr Clement Jimbo, who is the House of Representative Candidate for the said federal constituency on the platform of the All Progressives Congress, APC in the state.
It could be recalled that INEC declared the February 25 House of Reps elections of Abak/Etim Ekpo/ Ika federal Constituency inconclusive and scheduled a supplementary election for April 15.
It was gathered that from the results obtained from 386 polling units across the federal Constituency, the candidate of APC was leading with 2962 votes.
INEC, however, in its portal on Friday, March 31 listed 25 polling units where the election would be rerun.
Effiong, who wondered why INEC refused to declare his client, Jimbo the winner of the elections said the Commission should clearly and openly explain why it opted for a supplementary election.
According to him, “I have submitted a petition to INEC chairman in Abuja and the REC in Akwa Ibom to put them on notice that the criminality will not be tolerated, that you want to hold supplementary election because the margin of winning by the APC candidate is 2,962 and less than the total number of registered voters in the polling units the elections were held?
“So how come we have polling units like in Ika Odoro Ikpe, APC scored 83 votes, PDP 70, YPP, 11, Labour 12 and three agents signed the result sheet and the result transmitted to IReV, the INEC turned around to say that supplementary election would be conducted there? All these were in attempt to undermine the margin of lead by my client.”
He, therefore noted that Nigeria is already agitated following the just concluded elections and urged the INEC Chairman and the REC to use the opportunity of the rerun to rewrite every wrong by ensuring equity and fairness.
Speaking earlier, the APC candidate, Clement Jimbo disclosed that they undertook a rigorous verification and investigation of the listed 25 polling units as published by the Commission and found out that the Commission failed to offer cogent and verifiable reasons on the basis for isolating the said 25 polling units for supplementary election.
He said, “From the provisions of the Electoral Act, it is clear 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.”