Chairman of Akwa Ibom State Independent Electoral Commission, AKISIEC, Mr. Aniediabasi Ikoiwak has announced that the October 31 local government election in the state will witness the deployment of new gadgets for more effective operations.
Speaking in an interview on Inspiration 105.9FM Uyo, the AKISIEC Chairman disclosed that the new technological devices would enable the commission’s officials monitor the time of arrival of materials at respective polling units in the state.
Also the commission has stated that it never disqualified candidates of any political party, but rather the National Rescue Movement, NRM, attempted to field candidates without supplying adequate details as required by the provisions of the electoral law.
“The Chairman of the National Rescue Movement came to my office after the deadline for submission of forms of all candidates to tell me to input the name of candidates of Esit -Eket and Ukanafun, and I told him that such act is against the electoral law”.
“AKISIEC did not disqualify anybody. Let me also say that for you to be a candidate you must qualify to be a candidate and follow given guidelines for electoral process.
“The details of the running mates of the two candidates were not supplied and as such they had failed to meet the requirements.
Similarly, the party also failed to submit the form for one of the councilorship candidates of the party in Esit Eket.
He explained that the NRM also failed to submit the form supplying details of its councilorship candidate, after the chairman of the party called to explain that he wants to substitute its original candidate in that ward.
“The chairman rather than first submitting the form before coming to seek substitution, went and kept the form at home, only to bring it later as substitution.
“In simple English what is the meaning of substitution, is it not to replace something with another. The chairman of NRM did not do so, and he was telling me to overlook the provisions of the law and just do his bidding.
“Is it because it is AKISIEC? Would he have done so with INEC? I have asked him to go to court and stop needless protests.”
Ikoiwak hinted that the election will be monitored from the situation room at the state headquarters of the electoral commission.
He said electoral staff have undergone series of training from an American training institution, International Foundation for Electoral System, IFES, that specialises in instilling electoral best practices globally.
Reacting to claims that he is a card carrying member of a political party, the AKISIEC boss dismissed such claim as false, maintaining he is not a member of any political party.
“I don’t know why I’m tagged a member of the PDP, for the past 10 years in INEC as Resident Electoral Commissioner, one of the criteria was that you can’t be a member of any political party.
“I was appointed Chairman of AKISIEC immediately after service so I couldn’t have joined any party.
“It is on record that I have conducted elections where different political parties won in different states, so if anyone wants to tag me a member of a political party, let me carry the tag of all political parties that won in states I had supervised.”
As measures to fight against the spread of the Corona Virus, he urged voters to go to their various voting units with facemasks as the commission will provide hand sanitizers and face masks for the officers.
He further noted that elections and declaration of winners will be done in various polling units and results will be announced at ward headquarters for councillors and local government headquarters for chairmanship candidates.
The AKISIEC Boss also explained that accreditation and voting will be done simultaneously as elections will commence by 8am and end by 2pm respectively while urging voters to conduct themselves peacefully through out the process.