The candidate of the All Progressives Congress in Akwa Ibom state, Umana Umana, on Monday said he would challenge the outcome of Saturday’s governorship election.
The Independent National Electoral Commission on Sunday declared the Peoples Democratic Party’s Udom Emmanuel winner of the election.
INEC said the PDP candidate polled a total of 996,071 votes from the 31 local government areas in the state while the APC polled 89,865 votes.
Mr. Umana, a guest on Channels Television’s election programme, said elections did not hold in more than 90 per cent of the polling units in the state.
He said the exercise was marred by widespread hijacking of election materials by armed thugs.
“I can say that we did not have elections in Akwa Ibom”, Mr. Umana said. “What happened was a well-organized, state-sponsored terrorism against the people of the state using state apparatus. We will certainly challenge the result in court.”
Mr. Umana said immediately accreditation ended, armed thugs in police uniforms moved around in buses, pouncing on electoral officials and carting away ballot boxes and other materials.
He said the buses used by the thugs were the same ones acquired by Mr. Akpabio’s administration few weeks to the elections.
The APC candidate said his party has evidence – video recordings and photographs – to buttress his claims. He alleged that elections only held in Governor Akpabio’s polling unit to put up a show for television cameras.
Mr. Umana alleged he could not vote because the presiding officer at his polling unit said election materials were forcefully taken away by armed thugs led by an aide of the governor.
The APC candidate said out of a total 1,571 ballot papers assigned for the three polling units in his area, only 450 were recovered by security operatives, with most of the materials already thumb-printed.
Mr. Umana said INEC officials had to issue incident forms to party agents in the unit to confirm that election did not hold.
He said the electoral officer in the local government blamed the loss of the materials on security lapses.
He said over 50 political leaders from various polling units in the state, including the former state governor, Victor Attah, and one-time Minister of Petroleum Resources, Don Etiebet, also called to complain about hijacking of election materials by armed thugs.
“The situation was the same in Uyo, Ikot Ekpene, Etinan, Oruk Anam, Mkpat Enin, Ini and Eket Local Governments,” he said.
In Etinan local government, Mr. Umana said the PDP state chairman, Paul Ekpo, was caught in a convoy of vehicles with election materials, most of which were already thumb-printed result sheets, with 258 votes allocated to PDP and one vote to APC.
The former representative for Akwa Ibom North East Senatorial district in the National Assembly, Effiong Bob, who phoned in to the programme, claimed that the election in Akwa Ibom was free and fair.
Mr. Bob said the exercise held without hitches in all parts of the state.
He said he did not hear reports of stolen election materials throughout the state.