The postponement of last Saturday’s Presidential and National Assembly elections threw Nigeria into a mild chaos. Political analysts, political parties and indeed Nigerians, inveighed against the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for what they mostly termed a national embarrassment.
Most people opined that the postponement would cause voters’ apathy during the rescheduled election date, February 23, 2019, while others alleged that the election umpire is only playing out a script written by the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
But in Akwa Ibom State, instead of being deterred from participating in the process, the people have expressed their full readiness to exercise their franchise next Saturday in order to vote in candidates of their choices.
Speaking with Straightnews, Mr. Canny Okokon, a teacher and a native of Eket local government area of the state, said that he would cast his votes for the Peoples Democratic Party’s presidential candidate, Mr. Atiku Abubakar.
According to him, voting for the PDP candidate is the only way to unseat President Muhammadu Buhari, whom, he said, has failed to fulfill his campaign promises to Nigerians.
“I am going to vote for Atiku and all PDP candidates. The reason is that Buhari failed to deliver his campaign promises of 2015. Nigeria is backward in everything. Life is difficult for a common man,” Okokon said.
Mr. Covenant Sunday, a journalist and blogger, who said that a relative of his is benefitting from the federal government’s N-Power programme, said his vote will be for President Muhammadu Buhari on Saturday.
“I am voting Buhari to consolidate on the good works he has started in this country. Atiku Abubakar has spent a lot of money just in the bid to grab power. If he is allowed to come in, he would want to recover all the money he has spent to the detriment of the country’s growth and development,” he opined.
To Anthony Jackson, who introduced himself as a tutor, Atiku Abubakar should be the next president of Nigeria.
Even though he recognised President Buhari’s strides in the fight against corruption in public service, Jackson, a native of Okobo local government area of the state, said that Abubakar is laden with pre-requisite experience to lead the country.
“My sincere appreciation to Buhari for the heights in public service, but I will be voting for Atiku Abubakar for his wealth of experience and party programmes,” he said.
Also speaking, Mr. Daniel Udofia, a tourism expert, expressed readiness to vote for President Buhari and all other candidates of the APC.
“Even the blind can see what buhari has done in this country,” he exclaimed.
Taking his time to reel out Buhari’s achievements in four years, Udofia who is an indigene of the state but resident in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, said that the present administration has done so much in the area of infrastructure with little money compared to past governments.
He mentioned clearing of backlogs of pensions and gratuities to workers as part of the achievement of the Buhari-led administration.
“Should I also mention the 500,000 youths engaged under the N-power Scheme? Buhari is paying them all. People keep saying that the economy was good under the previous administration, yet 27states out 36 couldn’t pay it’s workers. President Buhari provided bail-out funds to these states across board irrespective of party.
“Should I talk about security? Boko Haram has been technically degraded. They no longer hoist their flag and control 17 local government areas in the country again as the case was before Buhari came on board.
“The ripple effects of the massive lootings and excess dollar traffic in the country brought about contractions in the economy which plunged us into recession, but the situation was effectively managed with smart economic policies one of which is the diversion to our first love, agriculture. And within a little over a year, we got out of the recession. As we speak Greece haven’t yet recovered from recession and they are nearing bankruptcy or should we mention Italy that’s now in recession,” Udofia noted.
Well, the stage is set; INEC has assured that the new date is sacrosanct; election materials are said to be ready and the state INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner, Mr Mike Igini, has also assured the people of a free, fair and credible election devoid of any form of manipulations.
Findings by Straightnews reveals that out of over six million people in the state, only about 1,832,799 persons may be voting during the 2019 general elections.
Even though 2,146,640 are registered with INEC, Igini had stated in January that 286,928 PVCs were yet to be collected by eligible voters in the state.
In the 337 wards and 2,935 polling units across the state, Uyo local government area, the capital city of the state, ranks highest with 176 voting booths, while Udung Uko local government area comes lowest with only 45 polling units.
Below is a breakdown of number of wards and polling units across the state:
Akwa Ibom North-East (Uyo)
Etinan LGA (11wards) – 104 polling booths
Ibesikpo Asutan LGA (10wards) – 117 polling booths
Ibiono Ibom LGA (11wards) – 161 polling booths
Itu LGA (10wards) – 91 polling booths
Nsit Atai LGA (10wards) – 75 polling booths
Nsit Ibom LGA (10wards) – 76 polling booths
Nsit Ubium LGA (10wards) – 88 polling booths
Uruan LGA (11 wards) – 97 polling booths
Uyo LGA (11 wards) – 176 polling booths
Akwa Ibom North-West (Ikot Ekpene)
Abak LGA (11 wards) – 125 polling booths
Essien Udim LGA (11 wards) – 159 polling booths
Etim Ekpo LGA (10 wards) – 82 polling booths
Ika LGA (10wards) – 65 polling booths
Ikono LGA (11wards) – 144 polling booths
Ikot Ekpene LGA (11wards) – 104 polling booths
Ini LGA (10wards) – 86 polling booths
Oruk Anam LGA (13 wards) – 167 polling booths
Obot Akara LGA (10wards) – 88 polling booths
Ukanafun (11 wards) – 100 polling booths
Akwa Ibom South (Eket)
Eastern Obolo LGA (10 wards) – 51 polling booths
Eket LGA (11wards) – 56 polling booths
Esit Eket LGA (10 wards) – 57 polling booths
Ibeno LGA (10 wards) – 46 polling booths
Ikot Abasi LGA (10wards) – 71 polling booths
Mbo LGA (10wards) – 58 polling booths
Mkpat Enin LGA (14 wards) – 122 polling booths
Okobo LGA (10wards) – 84 polling booths
Onna LGA (12 wards) – 131 polling booths
Oron LGA (10 wards) – 62 polling booths
Udung Uko LGA (10 wards) – 45 polling booths
Urue Offong Oruko LGA (10 wards) – 47 polling booths