A foremost sociopolitical group in Akwa Ibom state, Akwa Ibom Liberation Movement has called on security agencies to guarantee the safety of voters during Saturday’s rerun election in Essien Udim local government area.
The group in a statement by its secretary-general, Solomon Abasiekong Esq., says that tension has piled on in the local government ahead of the primaries following an alleged plot to by the APC in the state led by the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio, to cause violence.
The statement urged security agencies in the state to keep Senator Godswill Akpabio under close watch during the rerun election.
The statement reads in full:
“The leadership and members of Akwa Ibom Liberation Movement are worried about the sudden tension piling on in our dear state, Akwa Ibom, barely 24 hours to the conduct of the rerun election in Essien Udim local government for Akwa Ibom North-West senatorial district, Ikot Ekpene/Obot Akara/Essien Udim federal constituency and Essien Udim state constituency. Recall that the Appeal Court in Calabar ordered a rerun in Essien Udim local government for the three positions listed in the preceding sentence, following the election petition appeals filed by candidates of the All Progressives Congress (APC).”
“Note that in the build-up to the rerun, the APC candidate for Akwa Ibom North-West senatorial district, Senator Godswill Akpabio, now Minister for Niger Delta Affairs, reportedly withdrew from the election.”
“However, AILM like every responsive group in the state has noted the surge of tension mounted on the people of Essien Udim local government area who have been waiting eagerly to go out and cast their votes on Saturday, 25th January, by none other than Senator Godswill Akpabio, the senatorial candidate of the APC who had earlier said repeatedly that he is no longer interested in the election.”
“We wish to call the attention of the Inspector General of Police; the Director Department of State Services; the Commanding Officer 2 Brigade, Nigerian Army and the Commanding Officer 6 Battalion, Ibagwa to the plot by Senator Akpabio, to use his position as Minister to cause the deployment of a parallel security team which he allegedly intends to use to wreck violence during the rerun election tomorrow. Also recall that the National Working Committee (NWC) of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on Wednesday 23rd January, in a widely publicised statement signed by the party’s national publicity secretary, Kola Ologbodiyan, drew public attention to the mindless plan by Akpabio to use state security apparatus to cause violence during the rerun.”
“For emphasis, the PDP had said, “it already have intelligence on how a serving minister on President Muhammadu Buhari’s cabinet has allegedly compromised a Deputy Inspector General (DIG) of Police to deploy policemen to invade the local government, unleash unbridle violence and manipulate the electoral process in favour of the APC.”
“While we do not doubt the veracity of the intelligence at the disposal of the PDP as shared, we are not also surprised at the antics of Senator Akpabio and his plot to reign violence on the people of Essien Udim local government during the rerun tomorrow, after all, it is said that chameleon never changes its character. However, we will be surprised if government security has not yet acted on that piece of intelligence.”
“In the event where concerned security agencies fail to act, to forestall, safeguard and guarantee the safety of each voter and other law-abiding indigenes of Essien Udim and the state, before, during and after the election; we will not hesitate to mobilise Nigerians to pass a vote of no confidence on them. May this statement be a formal call to action to security agencies, notably, the Nigerian Army, Department of State Services, and Nigeria Police Force to beam its surveillance on Senator Godswill Akpabio, his men and any other persons who may want to cause violence during the rerun election tomorrow.”
“We also call on relevant international and domestic election monitoring groups to kindly avail the people of Essien Udim their invaluable time tomorrow during the rerun election. The struggle for global peace must be holistic – it must cover the smallest part of every community – and it starts with Essien Udim tomorrow.”