In preparation for the local government elections on October 31, Akwa Ibom Independent Electoral Commission has re-aligned electoral wards and created 39 new ones for use during the forthcoming elections in the state.
By this, AKISIEC has created 13 electoral wards in each of the three Senatorial Districts of the state, bringing the total number of wards to 368.
Before now, the state had 329 electoral wards spread across the 31 local government areas of the state.
Addressing the press at AKISIEC Office, 5 Udo Udoma Avenue, Uyo on Sunday, Elder Aniedi-Abasi Ikoiwak, the AKISIEC Chairman, said this was done pursuant to Part 11, Section 2, 3 and Section 12 of Akwa Ibom Independent Electoral Commission Law 2007 to help decongest most of the Collation centres during COVID-19.
A breakdown shows that Oruk Anam has the largest number of wards — 16; followed by Mkpat Enin, Eket, Onna and Uyo with 14; Essien Udim, Ibiono Ibom, Uruan, and Ukanafun — 13; Abak, Etinan, Ibesikpo Asutan, Ikono, Ikot Abasi, and Ikot Ekpene — 12
Others are Esit Eket, Etim Ekpo, Ini, Itu, Mbo, Nsit Ibom, Nsit Ubium, Obot Akara, Okobo, and Oron — 11; Eastern Obolo, Ibeno, Ika, Nsit Atai, Udung Uko, and Urue Offong/Oruko — 10.
Ikoiwak said though his commission inherited 237 wards, the law empowers it to create new wards every 10 years.
“Consequently, the commission wishes to notify the general public that these wards are AUTHENTIC electoral wards in Akwa Ibom State and same will be used for the forthcoming local government elections scheduled for Saturday, 31st October, 2020,” he announced.
He, however, stated that despite the creation of the new wards, elections would still hold at the existing 2918 polling units in the state.
The AKISIEC boss commended Governor Udom Emmanuel for facilitating the creation of the wards, an exercise that has delayed for 24 years.
Ikoiwak said a new date for the submission of Forms 001 and 002 by the political parties has been fixed for Thursday, August 27, 2020 to Sunday, August 30, 2020, while the conduct of the party primaries is now extended from Tuesday, August 11 to August 26, 2020, to accommodate the newly created/re-aligned electoral wards in the state.
While re-affirming the commission’s independence to the public, he pledged to discharge his enormous responsibilities in line with the law.