Friday, 15 May 2015

Okori VS Akpabio: AK REC moves to scuttle inspection of election materials ...Orders EO’s to mix up ballot papers

Okori VS Akpabio: AK REC moves to scuttle inspection of election materials ...Orders EO’s to mix up ballot papers Okori VS Akpabio: AK REC moves to scuttle inspection of election materials ...Orders EO’s to mix up ballot papers
The order of Justice Adedayo Oyebanji  , Chairman of Akwa Ibom State National and State Assembly Election Petitions Tribunal directing that the ballot papers used in declaring Governor Godswill Akpabio as Senator elect for the North West Senatorial seat seems to have met a brick wall with the  Akwa Ibom State Resident Electoral Commissioner, Barr Austin Okojie directing the ten EO’s in the Senatorial district to mix up the Senatorial election ballot papers alongside other ballot papers used during the general elections to impede the successful inspection of the over 450,000 ballot papers used in the March 28th ,2015 Senatorial election.

The tribunal had on May 8 granted a prayer by counsel to the Petitioner,  Chief Assam Assam (SAN) who requested the tribunal to grant leave for inspection of the polling document to verify 450,0000 votes scored by Akpabio. The tribunal had also ordered that the inspection be carried out within ten days in the presence of the respondents or their agents and security agents.

But investigation reveals that efforts by the Petitioner to effect the inspection has been undermine by the electoral body on the prompting of Akpabio who offered the REC the sum of $3.5 million to scuttle the inspection.

The Commissioner is alleged to have summoned a meeting of the EO’s where he instructed that the  Senatorial ballot papers should be mixed up with others to make the inspection nearly impossible so as to cover up the fraud. Investigation also reveals there is massive ongoing filling of incidence forms  all in a bid to make up for the bogus figures declared for Akpabio that is at variance with the card reader analysis records which is one of the contentious issues the Governor is battling to provide answers for in the tribunal. 

When lawyers to the Petitioner went to the electoral commission to facilitate the inspection as ordered by the tribunal, INEC officials declined to oblige the Petitioner the right for inspection saying both the Resident Electoral Commissioner and the Head of Operations are not available to approve the inspection, insisting the REC who was no where to be found must approve the tribunals order.  The duo making themselves unavailable is part of the conspiracy between the REC and Akpabio to ensure the inspection do not go unhindered. It is also part of a plot to ensure that the inspection do not take place within the ten days  period allowed by the tribunal.  The tribunal has a 180 days lifespan and a total of thirty five petitions are  before it.

According to a source at the Akwa Ibom state INEC office, it was to avoid judicial repercussions following advice from the legal department of the electoral body to the Resident Commissioner that the commission finally approved Thursday May 14th for the inspection. 

In a related development, efforts to compel INEC staffs to assist fill in thousands of incidence forms by the Governor on Monday night in Ukana was resisted by the officials who said they could not risk their lives and jobs because they were already under heavy security surveillance by security agents.

The Governor had on Monday night gathered about 450 youths at the  Water factory of his brother, Nsentip Akpabio in Ukana Ikot Ntuen behind the Federal Polytechnic in Ukana. The youths who gathered at the factory from 7pm till about midnight were instructed to come with as many as five PVC’s from their polling units. This investigation reveals was in anticipation of the willingness of INEC officials to aid in fraudulently filling the incidence forms  in an attempt to ensure the results as declared for the Governor tallies with the number of incidence forms available to make up for the margin in the card reader analysis. The youths who were mobilized from the different wards of Essien Udim were however given #200000 each to go home with a directive to be on standby as they will be called back once the Governor can get the electoral officials to play ball.

But the Reclaim Essien Udim group has warned youths from the area and officials of INEC not to do anything that will undermine the order of inspection of election materials as directed by the tribunal. The group also called on the youths not to allow themselves be used by the Governor to go against the law as the incoming administration will not hesitate to bring to book all those involved in any form of electoral fraud in the 2015 elections. 

While calling on security agents to beam it’s searchlight on the activities going on at Nsentip Akpabio’s factory in Ukana, the group called on the INEC Chairman, Prof Attahiru Jega to call the state Resident Commissioner to order as any attempt to subvert, undermine or impede the work of tribunal or the will of the people will be resisted and  be met with severe penalty.

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