Gov. Emmanuel, ex-Minister speak on conduct of elections in Akwa Ibom
Gov. Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom has commended the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for overcoming the card reader challenge that marred the Feb. 23, Presidential and National Assembly elections.
Emmanuel, who is seeking a second term tenure on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) said INEC had improved in the use of the card reader during the Governorship/ Houses of Assembly elections in the state.
He made this known on Saturday while interacting with Newsmen in Onna Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom.
He said: “kudos to INEC for improving on the card reader system for clarification and authentication processes.
“I want to appreciate the Akwa Ibom people for coming out early today to cast their votes and to patiently wait for counting to begin.
“I think the accreditation and commencement of voting was early, so far so good, the authentication is a bit better today too, compared to the Feb. 23rd presidential/NASS polls.”
Meanwhile, Mr Nsima Ekere, the All Progressives Congress (APC) Governorship Candidate has called on INEC to cancel the result of any polling unit where there was violence or hijacking of materials.
Ekere made this known shortly after he exercised his civic right at Edemeya ward 1, unit 004, Ikot Abasi Local government Area of Akwa Ibom State, around 10:49 am.
The APC candidate, who lamented the late arrival of election materials at his unit, also appealed to INEC to extend the period of voting in areas which had the same challenge.
“INEC should cancel election process anywhere there is violence or hijacking of materials.
“The election generally is peaceful, but it is unfortunate that materials arrived here late.
“INEC should make up for the delay by extending voting time anywhere we have such delays,” Ekere said.
He expressed hope that the APC would emerge victorious at the polls.
Also, Chief Nduese Essien, a former Minister of Lands, Housing and Urban Development, has lauded INEC for the smooth conduct of Saturday’s elections in the State.
Essien, a two term member of the House of Representatives, gave the commendation while speaking with newsmen in Ward 2, Ntaisip unit, Eket Local Government Area of the state.
He said that the commission had done well in terms of time.
“In terms of conduct of INEC staff, they have done very well and that can be ascribed to the Akwa Ibom REC, Mr Mike Ogini,” he said.
“I have found the atmosphere very conducive, peaceful and no controversies, the turnout is very impressive more than what we had in Feb. 23rd presidential/NASS polls because people are more relaxed to vote whom they want,” Essien said.
He attributed the massive turn out of voters to awareness amongst the people of the area.
He noted that the elections were now more orderly than it used to be because of the introduction of card readers and the Permanent Voters Cards (PVCs.)
“That is why I begin to wonder why people will begin to think of snatching ballot boxes because snatched ballot boxes can not be returned to INEC office,” he said.
He said that “when Nigerians realise that there is no need for snatching ballot boxes, that is when we will have good elections in the country,” he said.
Essien alleged that the opposition wanted to create violence as a way of postponing the elections.
“Most of the plans they made are thwarted before today and thugs that they brought were arrested and the arrangement failed,” he alleged.