It would be recalled that the Akwa Ibom State INEC Returning Officer, Prof. James Ekpoke, had declared Udom Emmanuel of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, winner of the April 11 governorship election in the state. Udom was said to have polled 996, 017 votes to defeat Umana Umana of the All Progressives Congress, APC, who polled 89,865 votes, while the LP and Accord Parties polled 86,000 and 10,000 votes respectively.
With the said result, the total number of votes cast in the state stand at 1,182,534. However, the number of accredited voters for the election was originally 647,215. This figure has consequently put to question the outcome of the state governorship election, which many have alleged was marred by irregularities and violence.
DAILY POST also gathered from a source, who prefers to remain anonymous, that the Akwa Ibom State Governor, Godswill Akpabio and the State Resident Electoral Commissioner, Mr. Austin Okojie, are currently in serious dilemma on the best way to address what has been termed an embarrassing fallout from the results of the governorship election.
A copy of the Summary of Accredited Voters which was forwarded to the INEC headquarters, and obtained by DAILY POST through the same source has revealed an obvious rigging as the total number of votes couldn’t be reconciled with the number of accredited voters. This, however, is contrary to the copy of the summary of the controversial result which the State INEC Returning Officer, Prof. James Epoke used in declaring the results of the election. The figure in his own result showed that the total number of registered voters was 1,548,531 while 1,158,624 were given as the total number of accredited voters.
Our source, has however obtained from INEC, an original document revealing the total number of accredited voters as captured by the Electronic Card Readers, stating that there have been several questions arising from what he described as the alarming discrepancies in the results declared in Akwa Ibom State. An INEC staff, who sent the document to our source, revealed that the State governor and the INEC Commissioner in the state have been confronted by the INEC authorities over the perceived irregularity in the Akwa Ibom governorship election.
He told our source thus: “To be very honest with you, the PDP in Akwa Ibom and our Oga who is the REC there did not do their homework well. And unless they look for a way to block the alarming loopholes, they would end up dragging their names in the mud. As a Resident Electoral Commissioner, you saw that the Chairman of the commission, Prof Attahiru Jega had, just in one glance during the declaration of the presidential election, spotted discrepancies in the result coming from this same Akwa Ibom State, where you presided over as REC, and had told the Returning Officer to go back and sort it out; yet, you didn’t learn.
‘’What would it have cost you to relax, call all the parties you had worked with to declare this controversial result and then work all through the night to ensure that you allocate the figures perfectly in such a way that the total number of accredited voters as captured and presented by the card readers correspond with the results you declared?. Right now, even if you were to tell it to my 3-year-old daughter, how would you go about explaining to her that almost the same margin the President used in winning the election in Akwa Ibom State is the same one the PDP governorship candidate used in defeating the closest contender?
‘’Where is the room for the decline in the number of votes due to outbreak of violence that reportedly marred the voting process in the state? Or would you say that people will still stay back to vote after gunshots have been fired and people scampered away for safety? How about voters’ apathy that was recorded nationwide, did your figures reflect that? Check out the results declared by some other states and you would find that the margin can never be that big like what you have in your state.
‘’These are the places we at the Commission believe the election was free and fair. But then, most of these shocking revelations will be made at the tribunals that have just been constituted. I have worked in this Commission for over 15 years now and these are just elementary issues for some of us. That una Akwa Ibom state na real abracadabra state, I swear,” the source disclosed.
Our source also disclosed that the reason for the delay in the declaration of the results for the election into the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly was due to the inability of the State Resident Electoral Commissioner to perfectly allocate figures to each of the candidates vying for the election in a way that they do not contradict the overall result declared for the governorship polls.
DAILY POST recalls that the outcome of the Akwa Ibom State election has generally been condemned by many, having being marred by irregularity and violence. Several Nigerians have called for the cancellation of the result.
Reacting to the report however, a member of the Media sub-committee of Udom Emmanuel Campaign Organization, Mr Eric Ekwere said, ‘’I’m not at liberty to say anything on this, as I am not working with INEC, neither am I the PDP spokesman. I am not also in possession of the authentic result sheet from INEC. But one thing that bothers me is that, why rush to the media with evidence instead of going to court with that evidence? My brother, there is so much fabrication in this.’’
Speaking further, Ekwere said it is a known fact that there was widespread failure of the electronic card readers on election day, with INEC electoral officers resorting to the use of manual accreditation of registered voters.
“People spreading this false rumour should also remember that what they are circulating as authentic number of accredited voters is only those done through the card readers. So you will have to add up the number of those accredited manually to get the correct number of voters accredited to vote in the governorship election. This, I believe can be provided by INEC itself”, he said..