Coalition of Youth Associations in the All Progressives Congress (APC), in Akwa Ibom State, on Wednesday, occupied the entrance of the state secretariat of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), demanding the removal of the resident commissioner, Mr Mike Igini, for being partisan in his handling of the affairs of his office as it affects the opposition party in the state.
As early as 8am, the protesters were seen congregating in front of the commission’s office, chanting solidarity songs in support of calls for the removal of Igini, as the Resident Electoral Commissioner in the state.
The protesters who displayed placards with different inscriptions as, IGINI MUST GO, IGINI IS WORKING FOR THE PDP, IGINI IS A BIASED ELECTORAL UMPIRE, among numerous others, called on the INEC National Chairman, Professor Mahmood, to remove Igini from the state, inorder to save the nation’s fledgling democracy, as they could no longer tolerate the excesses of Igini, who now sees himself as being above the law.
Addressing the the media, the Coordinator for the groups, Comrade Ubokobong Umoh said,” today, our protest is a peaceful one and our demands as law abiding citizens of Akwa Ibom State and Nigeria by extension is that, Igini as the REC in Akwa Ibom State, should be removed because he now sees himself as being above the law and chooses which court order to obey and the one no to obey.”
” We listened carefully to an interview granted the Arise TV by our own REC, Mr Mike Igini, few days ago. In that interview, he claimed that the Judgement of the Federal High Court, that authenticated the Stephen Leo Ntukekpo leadership of the APC in Akwa Ibom State, was obtained fraudulently.
” We deem that statement to be very insulting on the integrity of Nigeria’s Judiciary. We are hereby calling on the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA), the National Judicial Commission (NJC), to probe that statement by Igini.
“In 2019, we can vividly recall that, throughout the process of recruiting ad-hoc staff for the elections, no member of the APC was recruited because Igini has a permanent hatred for the opposition party in Akwa Ibom State. We cannot take this anymore because when a handshake goes beyond the elbow, it becomes a fight.
“Igini, by his actions and inaction has simply demonstrated lack of faith in Nigeria’s democracy. He has proven to us that he is partisan
Also speaking, State APC Youth Leader, Dr Awak Clement, wondered why Igini should single himself out to fight APC in the state, saying “Igini is not the only REC that Nigeria has”.
Clement, who said Igini had openly declared war against APC even before the primaries, queried why the REC assumed the role of the Supreme Court to reject the Judgement delivered by the Federal High Court.
” It is very unfortunate that somebody that was supposed to be an unbiased umpire is now a biased umpire. It is no longer news that Igini, as the REC has been so biased and vindictive in discharging his function. We are here to lay our protest straight that we don’t want Igini again as REC in Akwa Ibom State. I don’t know of any reason why a REC would openly say that APC will not have any candidate in Akwa Ibom State in 2023.
” We have been sending series of correspondence from our party to the headquarters here in Akwa Ibom State. Anytime we bring a letter here, they see it as letter bomb. Nobody wants to receive it. Igini has given them instruction that nobody should accept any letter from us”, he stated.
He urged the leadership of INEC in Abuja to wade into the matter so that the peaceful protest does not degenerate into a conflagration.