Following protest over the omission of two chairmanship candidates of National Rescue Movement in the October 31 local government polls in the state, the Akwa Ibom State Independent Electoral Commission (AKISIEC) has cited smuggling of the candidates’ names without their running mates as the main reason for the omission.
The NRM Chairman, Akwa Ibom State Chapter, Coach Chris Ben and members of the party had last week protested that names of their party’s chairmanship candidates for Esit Eket and Ukanafun local government areas were conspicuously omitted by AKISIEC.
But in reaction, Mr. AniediAbasi Ikoiwak, AKISIEC Chairman, cited improper documentations and poor knowledge of electoral laws on the side of political party leadership as reasons behind the omission of names of candidates from the commission’s final list, noting that such irregularity is against the electoral laws.
Speaking with journalists in his office Monday, the AKISIEC Chairman alleged that the NRM Chairman insisted that NRM only tried to smuggle the candidates into the list, which the commission detected during compilation and decided to drop those names.
Ikoiwak maintained that the Electoral Act 2010 and AKISIEC law do not give the commission power to disqualify any candidate presented by political parties, adding that such belongs to the electorates through Court of competent jurisdiction.
The AKISIEC Chairman stated that Coach Ben had earlier confirmed to him in a phone call that he did not file the names of his vice Chairmanship Candidates for Esit Eket and Ukanafun local government areas in Form 001 as stipulated, but wondered why he went on a protest.
He has, however, advised politicians in the state to as a matter of fact, seek better understanding of simple laws and proper administrative knowledge before aspiring to lead as State Chairmen of any political party, saying that it is often difficult to manage political parties with native thinking.
Recall that NRM had announced its readiness to sue AKISIEC and its Chairman, Mr. Aniedi Ikoiwak over the omission of its candidates.
Coach Ben, the NRM Chairman, who stated this during a peaceful protest to the AKISIEC Office in Uyo last weekend explained that his party’s candidates were duly screened after the compulsory payment of N250,000 for chairmanship and N100,000 for councilorship, wondering their omission in the final list signed by the Commission’s Chairman, Ikoiwak.
He declared that in the three final lists signed by its Chairman, Ikoiwak, names of his party’s candidates from Esit Eket and Ukanafun were included, but were omitted in the final list published on September 28, 2020, vowing to approach a court of justice for redress.