#AKSLGElections: Ini Ememobong Escapes Death From APC’s Hoodlums
…Manhandles Poll Officer, Carts Away Election Materials
By Frederick Usen
While citizens of Akwa Ibom State were exercising their civil rights of voting, those of Use Ndon (Ward 4, Unit 7) in Ibiono Ibom Local Government Area have been forced to a different experience, owning to a disruption of election in the said unit by hoodlums hired by the State Secretary of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Mr Effiong Etuk, apparently to attack the Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Comrade Ini Ememobong, who is also of the same unit.
Journalists accredited by the Akwa Ibom State Independent Electoral Commission (AKISIEC) to monitor elections across the state got to the polling unit and only met a crowd of seeming stranded people arguing with themselves.
Enquiry revealed that an indigene of the unit by the name Effiong Etuk who happens to be the state secretary of APC had stormed the unit in company of hoodlums armed with matchets and guns, harassing the Polling Officer.
According to the Polling Officer, “the AKISiEC vehicle went about dropping officials at their polling units and I was dropped here at about 9:45am. I kept calling the supervisor for a security personnel and I was told one would be sent. Since the instruction was that I should not open the materials until there was a security person around, I had to tell the people to be patient.
“While waiting, one Effiong Etuk (AKA Charles Taylor) who is the APC state secretary came here and starting asking me why I want to embarrass him. I told him I was there on official duty for AKISIEC and not to respect or favour any individual of party.
Before I knew it, he came up here and started dragging the bag that contained the materials. When the voters tried to stop him, his hoodlums unleashed violence randomly on everyone. Surprisingly, the polling clerk by the name, Mrs Joe Ekpoatai who was supposed to support me, was instead assisting them to snatch the materials, after which, she absconded with them”.
“I was beaten mercilessly, I lost my phone in the process”.
Another victim of the violence while narrating his ordeal, said, “we were waiting for election materials when they came with dangerous weapons to snatch materials. Effiong Etuk, our brother and secretary of the APC in Akwa Ibom personally wanted to force the Polling Officer and take the materials. When I tried to help the polling officer, one of them hit me with a bottle and broke my eye. See how they nearly damaged my right eye”.
Reacting, the PDP Publicity Secretary said, the incident occurred barely five minutes after he was excused by his supporters to attend to an issue in his village residence, adding that chances are that he was the main target of the attack.
His words: “the circumstance is simple. Election is a civil duty and my village is a village that has a lot of educated people. It’s not as if the people don’t know violence. But the question is, violence against who? The person who is projecting this violence, who did in 2011 and 2015 and repeated same today, unfortunately is my uncle and he is the state secretary of APC.
Like I said, not that we do not know how to do violence, but imagine what would happened if we tried to retaliate. That’s why I keep telling my people, I keep warning our supporters that on no account should even a pin be brought anywhere close to voting centre because no ambition is worth the blood of any human.
This is a call to the AKISIEC, the Commissioner of Police, Brigade Commander and heads of other security agencies to ensure that full security is on ground when next election is holding. Being civil doesn’t mean we should be taken for granted. We hope the attacked Polling Officer will do his report formally and we also hope the electoral body will act accordingly.”
When contacted on phone, the accused Etuk refused speaking to our correspondent on the matter and dropped the line. Several other attempts were futile, as he was unresponsive.