The Akwa Ibom caucus in the Senate on Wednesday asked the Independent National Electoral Commission to cancel the April 11, 2015 governorship elections in the state.
The caucus consists all the senators representing the three senatorial districts in the state, included Aloysius Etok (Akwa Ibom North West), Ita Enang (Akwa Ibom North East) and Helene Esuene (Akwa Ibom South).
Mr. Etok, who is the Chairman of the group, said the decision by INEC to declare the Peoples Democratic Party candidate, Udom Emmanuel, winner of the election was unacceptable, as there was nothing that happened to warrant such an announcement.
Akwa Ibom state, Mr. Etok said, emerged as the most traumatized of all the states of the federation at the end of the election, based on the level of irregularities, hijack of electoral materials and violence recorded throughout the state.
Irrespective of party affiliations, the Chairman said all members of the caucus are one in their condemnation of the election process and its outcome.
“As a member of the PDP, I would have liked elections to be free and fair. But, we are pained by the bad names given to our state through the poor conducts of the elections by INEC, which must accept what happened was wrong and cancel it, “ Mr. Etok said.
For Mr. Enang, the entire people of Akwa Ibom were prepared to vote in a free and fair contest, adding that if they lost, they were ready to accept defeat, embrace the winner and go home.
“In my polling unit in Ididep –Ibiono Ibom Local Government Area nobody was able to vote, as the election materials were hijacked and taken away at gun point by armed PDP, leaving only photocopies of the result sheets,” Mr. Enang said.
According to him, if the people could not perform that primary duty they went out of their homes to perform, it would be wrong for INEC to say elections were held in the state.
Mr. Enang said the experience in his unit was the same all over the state, based on reports from other people who went to vote in other parts of the state.
Despite assurances by INEC that card readers would be used for accreditation, the situation in Akwa Ibom was completely different, as most voters were not even given the opportunity to do so before materials were hijacked.
On her part, Mrs. Esuene, who was also a candidate in the election, expressed her disappointment in INEC’s performance in the state, saying the entire process lacked transparency and was a display of impunity by the state government.
“What happened in Akwa Ibom on April 11 was daylight robbery,” she said. “This year marked the 16th anniversary of uninterrupted democracy in Nigeria. Rather improve on that achievement, Akwa Ibom seems to be depreciating.”
Mrs. Esuene said voters in her polling unit, people were also not able to exercise their civic duty, as the ballot papers and other election materials were hijacked before the commencement of voting.
She said her greatest disappointment was that despite reports that two lives were lost during the protest against poor conduct of the exercise, apart from other similar incidents in different places in the state, INEC went ahead to declare the results the announce a winner.