By Dennis Udoma
UYO – Absence of election materials stalled the conduct of Akwa Ibom State Local Government elections held across the state Saturday, as majority of voters who could not participate in the poll described the exercise as a sham.
This is coming as APC supporters were said to have stormed the Divisional Police Office and the electoral office, AKISIEC in the area to peacefully protest non supply of election materials to the Wards for the election.
An election observer, who craved anonymity, told Vanguard that, in Nsit Atai, Esit Eket, Ibiono Ibom, Nsit Ibom, Ikot Ekpene, Ini, Uyo, Ibesikpo, Etinan and Abak Local Government Areas amongst others, the situation was the same as non-delivery of materials hampered the exercise.
He said, though reasons for non-availability of materials were not known, but, materials for the exercise were hoarded in areas alleged to be APC strongholds in the state.
The State Publicity Secretary of All Progressives Congress, APC Barrister Eyo Bassey while giving his impression on the exercise described it as fraudulent.
According to him, ‘‘what was promised to be by the Akwa Ibom Independent Electoral Commission (AKISIEC) to be free, fair and credible election is fraudulent and a sham, not expected of the so-called electoral umpire’’.
He said, there was nowhere the people witnessed actual election in process as materials were hijacked even before they got to voting units.
In Urue-Offong Oruko local government area, the APC Spokesman said, materials were hijacked on the way to voting units and Ward alleging that, the fraud was perpetrated by government agents, party and AKISIEC.
Barrister Eyo however, argued that, if PDP were as strong on the ground as they claimed to be, there would have been no need for hijacking election materials, adding that, it was a disgrace to democracy as election did not take place.
Meanwhile, the election went on peacefully in Nsit Ubium and some parts of Onna local government areas, though, materials arrived Nsit Ubium by 8 AM and Onna by 12 noon.
Speaking to newsmen at Ikot Ekwerre, Nsit Ubium local government area, Senator Effiong Bob described the election as being peaceful.
He attributed the massive turnout by the people in the area to the great expectation they have for PDP expressing the hope that, his candidates would emerge victorious.
Also speaking were the Speaker, AKHA, Hon. Onofiok Luke thanked God for the peaceful exercise stating that, the local government election being conducted was the brainchild of the 8th Assembly, which insisted that, power must be given back to the people through the conduct of the election at the local government to ensure grassroots development in the state.
He said, the decision was taken to serve the local councils in the state from being administered through the caretaker committees.