The Young Progressives Party (YPP) in Akwa Ibom State has accused the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) of conniving with the state government to execute a “well-orchestrated rigging scheme and bloodletting,” against its party and supporters during Saturday’s elections in the state.
The governorship and House of Assembly elections were held in the state on 18 March.
In a statement on Monday in Uyo, the state secretary of the party, Kelvin Umoh, alleged that elections were rigged in favour of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state.
Eammnauel Adigio, a professor who was the State Returning Officer for INEC, on Sunday declared Umo Eno, the PDP candidate, as governor-elect for scoring the highest number of votes in the election.
He said Mr Eno won in 29 of the 31 local government areas in the state with a total of 354,348 votes to defeat the YPP candidate, Bassey Albert, who won in two local government areas, scoring 136,262 votes. Akanimo Udofia of the APC came third in the race with 129,602 votes.
But Mr Umoh, whom PREMIUM TIMES reported how he rejected the results on Sunday after Mr Eno was declared as the winner at the State Collation Centre, said he did so because the election outcome did not reflect the will of the electorate in the state.
He also claimed that four YPP members were killed during the election but only mentioned the name of one person.
PREMIUM TIMES could not independently verify this claim.
The state police spokesperson, Odiko Macdon, did not respond to requests for comments on the matter.
At a press briefing on Monday, Mr Umoh said reports from his agents which he claimed were corroborated by independent observers showed the election “was a mere ruse on the intelligence of the electorate,” whom he claimed had desired to usher in the right leadership in the next dispensation of the state.
“To pull the wool over the eyes of poll observers and members of the public, the rigging syndicate of the state administration and INEC officials selected a few locations to allow the conduct to run a bit fairly – mainly in most parts of Ikot Ekpene Senatorial District and Uyo Senatorial District while Eket Senatorial District was shambolic, as most of the polling units’ results were pre-written.
“Worse still, the PDP state administration also deployed hired thugs who were dressed in Police, military and Paramilitary uniforms to kill, molest, maim and chase away YPP’s Party Agents and supporters in the Polling units and Registration Area Centres (RACs) across the State.
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“Instances abound like the case in Ibiono Ibom where PDP armed militia killed some of our supporters including Mr Abraham Bassey Ekpenyong at the INEC office. This dastardly act was carried out by a team of policemen from Government House, Uyo led by Danjuma Saleh who moved in a convoy of six white Hilux pickup trucks.
“Furthermore, three of our supporters were killed at Etim Ekpo and several others in other LGAs across the state. Even at Onna LGA, where Governor Udom Emmanuel hails from, thugs in police and military uniforms led by his Chief protocol officer, Mr Edmond Ufang, intimidated and maimed our supporters freely,” Mr Umoh alleged.
Meanwhile, the spokesperson of the PDP governorship campaign in the state, Chris Abasieyo, has denied Mr Albert’s allegation.
Mr Eyo, a former commissioner for information in the state, told PREMIUM TIMES on Monday that the margin of defeat was too wide to convince anybody that YPP “were roundly defeated,” in the race.
“The news we have is that bloodletting was more in Ibiono (Ibom Local Government Area) where YPP won than any elsewhere. The PDP were not in connivance with any agency of government to have the election rigged.
“PDP is Akwa Ibom and Akwa is PDP. When we say it is a religion it is demonstrated through votes like this. We’d heard of federal might in 2019 and in the end PDP won. PDP will continue to win here. This victory has shown that a lot of persons that have come to brag about their popularity, fame and strength have always done so riding on the back of the PDP,” he said.
INEC spokesperson, Festus Okoye, did not respond to requests for comments on rigging allegations against the commission.
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