A ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) has petitioned the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), demanding dismissal of its Akwa Ibom state Resident Electoral Commissioner, Mike Igini, within 48 hours.
The petition is signed by APC Zonal Organising Secretary, South-south, Dr. Blessing Agbomhere.
The letter addressed to the chairman of the commission accused Mr. Igini of “incessant acts of biasness, injustice, sabotage and malevolence meted out on the All Progressives Congress in Akwa Ibom state.”
According to Agbomhere, Mr. Mike Igini has over the years, since his deployment sabotaged and worked obviously against the All Progressives Congress in the State even when he is not supposed to be partisan or supportive of any political divide or party by virtue of his position and membership of INEC who is an unbiased, incorruptible and impartial umpire in every electoral process.
Agbomhere told the INEC chairman that a violation of the provision of Section 26 of the Electoral Act of 2022 is not without its consequences and same are rightly captured in Section 120 of the Act.
“From the foregoing facts we have just made available to you, Mr. Chairman, there will be no gainsaying that Mr. Mike Igini, the INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner for Akwa Ibom State, has been compromised, shown partisanship and regrettably so, abused his office as an INEC official hence we make the following prayers to you;
“That, Mr. Mike Igini is not fit and proper to remain as the INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner of the State. This is because a free and fair election begins with a free and fair process. Hence Mr. Igini has compromised, he therefore lacks the capacity to conduct or supervise any election in the state.
“That, Mr. Mike Igini be sacked and dismissed within 48 hours from the time of receipt of this petition.
“That, Mr. Mike Igini be committed to the relevant authorities for prosecution for the violation of Section 26 of the Electoral Act of 2022.
“May I remind you, Mr. Chairman, that the integrity of the Commission is greatly at stake here as this issue has generated not just statewide protests but also nationwide concerns by both members of our party and the generality of Akwa Ibomites and Nigerians. We believe that Mike Igini is not the only INEC REC in Nigeria hence his position should not bring disrepute of any sort to the Commission neither should same be used as an oppressive tool against the All Progressives Congress or any other political party.
“Finally, Mr. Chairman, we will be more than willing to approach the Code of Conduct Tribunal against Mr. Mike Igini and also approach the Federal High Court to obtain an Order of Mandamus to compel the Commission in any event where our prayers and demands are not met within the time given.
Thank you greatly, in anticipation of your swift actions.
While Justifying while Igini should be sacked, Agbomhere said: In 2019, Mr. Mike Igini acted in gross violation of the Electoral Act by sabotaging the Senatorial Elections of His Excellency, Senator Godswill Obot Akpabio. He did this, by maliciously supervising the cancellation of the votes of the Distinguished Senator all in his bid to ensure his loss of the election.
“He further went ahead, to ensure that the results of the election were mutilated and not announced at the INEC headquarters in Akwa Ibom North-West Senatorial District which is at variance with the provision of Section 25(2)(e) of the Electoral Act of 2022 which provides that the results of Senatorial elections shall be announced at the Senatorial District’s collation center. All of these, led to the loss of Sen. Godswill Akpabio and Mr. Mike Igini’s malicious enterprise and unjustifiable onslaught against our party achieved.
“After the landslide victory of Hon. Nse Ntuen, who emerged as the winner of the Essien Udim State Assembly Elections, Mr. Mike Igini, in his usual act of dislike for our party in the state blatantly refused to issue a certificate of return to him as INEC REC of the state.
“We resorted to seeking legal redress and the court, haven seen the merits of our claims, granted us an order mandating INEC to issue a certificate of return to Hon. Nse Ntuen. It will interest and surprise you to know that this order of court was rudely disobeyed and arrogantly flung out of the windows of INEC by Mr. Mike Igini all because Hon. Nse Ntuen was a member of the APC.”
The APC chieftain added that the party has been at the receiving end of injustice and ill-will since the deployment of Mr. Mike Igini to Akwa Ibom state.
“As I send this petition to you, Mr. Igini who is the reason for all the crisis in the APC in the state is also the reason why the Commission is yet to validate the candidacy of His Excellency, Sen. Godswill Akpabio and our gubernatorial candidate, Mr. Akanimo Udofia. This is as a result of his attempts to sabotage them and fight tooth and nail to ensure that he frustrates their candidacy, all in his bid to favor the PDP and Governor Udom Emmanuel.
“It will further interest you to know that, the PDP in the state has been a harbinger of numerous crisis, ranging from multiple court actions to factionalization and litany of disagreements amongst its leaders. Given these issues, virtually all the candidates of their party have been affected yet their names we can still be found on the INEC portal because of Mr. Igini’s commitment and interest in the party. In all of these, Mr. Igini has shown absolutely no concern but has remained resolute in his objective to divide and cause discord in our party.
“Mr. Chairman, the provision of Section 26 of the Electoral Act is very clear and unambiguous as it provides that; ‘All staff, electoral officers, presiding officers, returning officers and security officials taking part in the conduct of an election shall affirm or swear to an oath of loyalty and neutrality as in the Second Schedule, indicating that they will not accept bribe or gratification from any person, and shall perform their functions and discharge their duties impartially and in the interest of the Federal Republic of Nigeria without fear or favor’.
“Carefully reading through the above section, you will agree with me, Mr. Chairman that Mr. Mike Igini is in conspicuous violation and breach of every wording of this provision as he has accepted gratification and performed his duty partially thereby negating his oath of loyalty and neutrality to INEC and the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”