By; PATRICK TITUS, Uyo
The former minority leader in the Senate, Senator Godswill Akpabio is apparently “smells rat” as both his kinsmen and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Akwa Ibom State are calling for his immediate arrest and prosecution following his involvement in electoral crimes that marred last Saturday’s polls in Essien Udim Local Government Area, his home town.
Akpabio, who was seeking a re-election into the hallow chambers of the senate on the platform of All Progressives Congress (APC) has been in the eyes of storm, besides conceding defeat to PDP candidate at the polls which was conducted by the Independent National Electoral Commission, (INEC).
Arising from crimes allegedly committed by Sen. Akpabio, elections were cancelled in nine out of the eleven wards that constitute Essien Udim local government area, thus making Senator Akpabio a “black sheep” in the area in one part and Akwa Ibom in general.
Addressing press conference today at NUJ press centre, Uyo, Senator Akpabio kinsmen made of stakeholders, leaders and executive members of PDP, Essien Udim chapter accused him of committing electoral violence, malpractice, snatching of electoral materials, assault and adoption of INEC officials and use of armed forces and the police.
The group, whose text of the press conference was read by Barr. Imo-owo Okpokpo states, “The Stakeholders, Leadership, Party Executives and Members of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Essien Udim Chapter, after a well attended Party meeting today, 13th March, 2019 have resolved to grant this Press Conference to put records straight and inform the Nigerian public on the militarization of Democracy, rigging of Elections and assault on INEC officials, Ad-hoc Staff and Civil voters by Senator Godswill O. Akpabio and his killer squad on Essien Udim Local Government Area during the Governorship and House of Assembly Elections of 9th March, 2019.
“That the Electoral Officer, EO and Returning Officer of INEC in Essien Udim at about 10.00pm on the Election Day, together with the Collation Officers in the Collation Room were seriously beaten up by Senator Godswill O. Akpabio and his killer squad of SUPOL Idorenyin Akpabio
And Nse Effiong Ntuen who was the APC candidate for the State House of Assembly. These INEC officials were held hostage under gun-point to change results of the Election of the Wards already collated that didn’t favour APC.”
“That before the Election, Hon. Nse Effiong Ntuen had been boasting openly that as far as APC is concerned, the elections will be “do or die”. We have a video clip to support this position”, his kinsmen added.
In the same development, the PDP in the state had early called for the address of Sen. Akpabio and Obong Nsima Ekere, the APC governorship at the election for several electoral crimes according to PDP were targeted at causing deaths and anarchy in the state.
At a press conference in Uyo on the title “When Losers Tell Lies”, the publicity Secretary PDP in the state, Mr. Ini Ememobong said the duo of Akpabio and Ekere must be arrested for their roles in different council areas especially in their domains which were characterized by various electoral crimes.
Ememobong said instead of them to surrender themselves for arrest they claimed that APC won in 26 council areas against the verdict of the electoral umpire that announced their failure.
“The entire world, we are sure, was shocked yesterday by the press statement issued by the State Chairman of the broom wielding party, Ini Okopido and the subsequent press conference hosted by the duo of Obong Nsima Ekere and Chief Godswill Akpabio alleging that they won in 26 local government areas of the state. This is surely the best example of living in fool’s paradise.”
He said the APC who depended so much on the much touted Federal might lost in all the 31 council areas of the state including the home local government areas of Ekere and Akpabio.
“For the avoidance of doubt, we must state that the APC lost in all the local government areas including Essien Udim and Ikot Abasi local Government areas.”
” In Essien Udim, materials in Ekpeyong ward were hijacked by APC agents at the voting units in independence high school, thugs and policemen sympathetic to Senator Akpabio mounted the gates and prevented PDP supporters from gaining access to the venue. The thugs further unleashed unmitigated physical attack on journalists and observers, Demola, the TVC correspondent who was there to cover the elections was severely beaten up and chased away.”
“In Ukana East, the Personal Assistant to Senator Akpabio, Emmanuel Inyangetoh accompanied by over 49 police officers and 60 thugs, went unit to unit packing electoral materials which were taken to independence high school, where thumb printing was recklessly done.”
He said even the office of Independent Electoral Commission in Akpabio local government was not spared in the APC planned mayhem.
“As if that was not enough, the INEC office in the LGA was kept under siege by Chief Godswill Akpabio, who physically assaulted the Electoral Officer and threatened the collation officer to do his bidding. He filled the result sheets with his hand and forced the presiding officers to sign”.
These facts are alive and at the tribunal, we will avail the court. The entire world noted the delay with which it took for Essien Udim to collate and transmit results, all because of Senator Akpabio’s unwholesome interference. ”
The PDP spokesman said the violence replicated in the local government of the APC candidate which caused INEC to cancel result in some wards including the polling unit of the APC candidate.
“In Ikot Abasi local Government Area, APC thugs were on rampage carting away electoral materials and personnel and taking them to Ekere’s residence, where thumb printing was done. Even in Nsima Ekere’s Unit, pictorial evidence abound to show armed soldiers arranging the voting queue to ensure that PDP supporters did not vote. In units 2,6 and other units in ward 7 thugs led by Ernest Ntuk hijacked ballot boxes and electoral personnel, delivering them at the residence of Ekere.”
The PDP further alleged that the violence was repeated in Ikono,Uruan, Etim Ekpo, Mbo council areas by the agents and chieftains of APC in their desperate attempt to conquer the state.
Comrade Ememobong observed that the APC was not prepared for election which was the reason they resorted to violence.
“It can be recalled that the APC was not preparing for elections, they were preparing for Federal might backed rigging, where thugs will be clothed in military uniforms and posted to local government areas to hijack materials and rig for them.”
He said the security agencies should arrest and prosecute Akpabio and Ekere for justice to prevail.