APC Responsible For Own Misfortune –Igini
The All Progressives Congress (APC) in Akwa Ibom State deliberately caused its own misfortune, the Resident Electoral Commissioner in the state, Mike Igini, has said.
Fielding questions on the controversy over Placeholders being unknown to the Constitution but has been introduced in some places, Igini explained that a Placeholder is a situation where a person is appointed to occupy an office temporarily with the understanding that such person would not contest for that office.
Below are excerpt from the interview…
“What people do not realise is that in the United States of America, there’s a practice of placeholding where a governor of a state, with respect to senatorial positions, could appoint a placeholder pending when an election is conducted.
The question people are now raising is whether can the presidential candidate make a change? The answer is yes because a running mate does not emerge from a primary process, it is at the discretion of the presidential candidate. And the constitution is clear on that.
“Akwa Ibom is one of the states where APC conducted successful state congresses to elect executives. But before that exercise, they came to the (INEC) office, all parties, what would they do so that they do not have problems with their elections? We advised them, and we provided them with the INEC template for monitoring congresses either for the election of the executive or that of the nomination of a candidate. We made that provision for them.
On October 16, 2021 election was conducted, and the video is everywhere. It was successful, it was peaceful, by Mr Yusuf Banki who led the committee set up by the National Working Committee of their party.
It (the congress) was successful, a report was written and we sent it to Abuja. By December there were reports that there was already a crisis, what crisis? What happened? The result of that congress that was conducted in line with Section 223 of the Constitution was successful and peaceful among all the states in the Federal Republic of Nigeria in October last year. They altered the results. What happened? There were 10 candidates, this is their own affair. It should be noted that INEC doesn’t conduct party primaries or congress for the election of their members into their exco; it is the political party business. Our job is just to monitor and provide reports but the beauty is that our report can be very decisive and cannot be ignored.
Now, when they conducted that election they won. By December they altered the result; somebody who scored 1,278 who was the actual winner and the last person scored 006. What they did was to alter that result, bringing down the figure -1 behind 006 to now read 1006. Immediately after that was done, they went to court and obtained a fraudulent judgement that the person who scored 6, the least person, is now the winner.
The other group went to court to apply for a stay of action. On the 7th of April, the Court of Appeal gave an order for maintenance of status quo ante which means the position of the parties before the dispute. But despite that order, some politicians went and swore in the people in breach of the court order. This is the genesis of their crisis.
With respect to the primaries, INEC has been lawful because there was an extant order to maintain the status quo. Now you know that in primaries it is the National Working Committee of all parties that will set up a committee to conduct, that was done. We got the notice and we were at the venue on May 26 with respect to the governorship primary, on May 27 was that of the senatorial election. We were at the venue of Sheergrace Arena and they didn’t show up. Up till 11 p.m. for the governorship, nobody showed up. The committee chairperson was at the State Security Services (SSS) office in Uyo because they were fighting themselves from the airport to the Oron Road junction. We were at the venue, me and the commissioner of police were there till about 11 p.m., and I addressed the press after speaking to the chairman of the committee, Tunde Ajibulu, who said it was not going to take place again and we went home.
By the second day in the morning, I woke up and on social media everywhere saturated that a (governorship) primary had been conducted. Who monitored it? They said INEC officials; as I speak to you, call the name of the INEC official that monitored that exercise. It was never monitored.
May 27 was the senatorial primary; we have the Akwa Ibom North-West where the retired DIG Udom Ekpoudom emerged. There was no primary for Akwa Ibom South because the team was there but nobody showed up. We have a video showing that nobody showed up. Those are the things that were done but surprisingly on June 10, an event that had taken place on May 27. I woke up and people were calling me commissioner, how come you people are conducting a new primary? I said which new primary and they said I should go to social media and confirm somebody had won the election. I said which election? Something we concluded on the 27th of last month is taking place and was even labelled a rerun.
Look, we are election managers. We know the meaning of a rerun. A rerun election presupposes the previous election and in a rerun election, the Supreme Court of Nigeria is very clear. It can only take place with people who were part of the first exercise.
Godswill Akpaio was not part of the first exercise so how can you talk about a rerun and I make the point clear. Look, the train had left the station on May 27 with respect to the senatorial election. This is the genesis with respect to that.
Let me let Nigerians know that as advocates of the law, we would not violate the law. We are the ones saying we must comply with the law and we are complying eminently in this respect and that is what I’ve just explained to you. The Federal High Court gave a judgement on the basis of the forged document.
On March 17 there was a Federal High Court order declaring Mr Ntukekpo as the winner, a man who scored six votes but they brought one put it behind to read 1006 and the man who scored 1278 was now the loser. So when that was done the other group of people went to the Court of Appeal.”