“Akwa Ibom witnessed several incidents of voter intimidation, violence, and other untoward activities that marred elections in many polling units and areas that were seen to be loyal to the opposition across the length and breadth of the state, and these were either initiated or helped along by the INEC, the various state security apparatus, as well as other unscrupulous elements."
Akwa Ibom Progressives Coalition, a socio-political group, says the elections conducted in the state on Saturday were marred by violence and harassment of voters.
In a press statement signed by Akpan Udo Solomon, its General Secretary, and issued on Monday, the group also decried the conduct of official of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and security agencies during the elections.
The group said the conduct of elections in Nigeria has “retrogressed from the stride of the 2015 elections”.
The statement read: “Akwa Ibom witnessed several incidents of voter intimidation, violence, and other untoward activities that marred elections in many polling units and areas that were seen to be loyal to the opposition across the length and breadth of the state, and these were either initiated or helped along by the INEC, the various state security apparatus, as well as other unscrupulous elements.
“You will recall that the main opposition party in the State, the All Progressives Congress (APC), had earlier raised an alarm over the establishment of a parallel security agency by the State Government to prosecute its election-winning agenda, as well as the influx of thugs and militants into the state from neighbouring states, allegedly sponsored by the current state government, led by the PDP Governor, Emmanuel Udom; while a few arrests were made ahead of the elections, the bulk of these militants and thugs remained and were properly kitted in police and military gears and wantonly transported across the state in security-branded vehicles, allegedly provided by the state government, to intimidate APC voters and disrupt the voting process.
“Some of the incidents that were reported by the press and other independent observers include massive cancellations of results from polling units in opposition party strongholds. For instance, in Ikono Local Government, one of the strongholds of the main opposition party (the APC), results from 73 out of 144 polling units were cancelled for no reason at all. Also, in Ward 6, results from 9 out of 10 units were illegally cancelled, leaving just about 200 registered voters to decide the fate of more about 6000 registered voters in the ward!”
The group claimed that in many polling units, card readers were turned off to allow for manual accreditation. It said this was to perfect the rigging tactics of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the ruling party in the state.
Meanwhile, Atiku Abubakar, presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), is in clear lead from results trickling out of the state.
Also, there were reports earlier that Godswill Akpabio, a senatorial candidate under the flag of All Progressives Congress (APC), might have lost his seat at the Senate to Christopher Ekpenyong, the PDP senatorial candidate and former Deputy Governor of Akwa Ibom State.
However, INEC has suspended the announcement of results in Akwa Ibom North-West District, where Akpabio represents.