By Omeiza Ajayi, Abuja

All Progressives Congress, APC, in the South-South has petitioned the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, demanding the dismissal of its Akwa Ibom State Resident Electoral Commissioner, REC, Mike Igini, within 48 hours.

The petition, which was received on July 3 by the office of the INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, was signed by APC Zonal Organising Secretary, South-South, Dr. Blessing Agbomhere.

Reacting, Igini recounted his records of in public service, saying it is unfortunate that the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, elements who accused him of working for the then opposition are now in APC, accusing him of working for PDP.

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He dared them, saying they cannot buy his conscience.

Meanwhile, the letter addressed to the Chairman of the commission accused Mr. Igini of “incessant act of bias, injustice, sabotage and malevolence meted out on the All Progressives Congress, APC, in Akwa Ibom state.”

According to Agbomhere, Igini had since his deployment sabotaged and worked obviously against APC in the state, even when he is not supposed to be partisan or supportive of any political divide or party by virtue of his position and membership of INEC, an unbiased, incorruptible and impartial umpire in every electoral process.

Agbomhere told the INEC chairman that a violation of the provision of Section 26 of the Electoral Act of 2022 is not without its consequences and same are rightly captured in Section 120 of the Act.

“From the foregoing facts we have just made available to you, Mr. Chairman, there will be no gainsaying that Mr. Mike Igini, the INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner, REC, for Akwa Ibom State, has been compromised, shown partisanship and regrettably so, abused his office as an INEC official.”

The party then demanded, among others, the following:

*That Mr. Mike Igini is not fit and proper to remain as the INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner of the State. This is because a free and fair election begins with a free and fair process.

*Hence, Mr. Igini has compromised, he therefore lacks the capacity to conduct or supervise any election in the state.

*That Mr. Mike Igini be sacked and dismissed within 48 hours from the time of receipt of this petition.

*That, Mr. Mike Igini be committed to the relevant authorities for prosecution for the violation of Section 26 of the Electoral Act of 2022.

“Finally,” they added, “Mr. Chairman, we will be more than willing to approach the Code of Conduct Tribunal against Mr. Mike Igini and also approach the Federal High Court to obtain an Order of Mandamus to compel the Commission in any event where our prayers and demands are not met within the time given.”

Igini reacts

In his reaction, Igini said: “The former senator who is behind all these, all the period Buhari contested election, he never got 10 percent in this state.

“It was only when Mike Igini came the people’s votes began to count. Then they said I was brought here to dislodge the PDP. They have their internal problems. They have three factions.

“That is the foundational problem and nor Mike Igini. You can buy some people all of the time, but you cannot buy all the people all of the time.

“My records do not suggest anything they have said. Dishonest people are all over the place walking like colossus because we are in a country where our value pyramid is upside down.

“My only response is my record. All the people who are talking now were all members of the PDP.”

Lists records of impartiality

 “The petitioner was in the PDP. The first place I worked was Cross River and I witnessed the arrogance of power of the then ruling PDP in 2011.

“They didn’t conduct their primaries when they said they did and the electoral officers wrote their report which I endorsed and on which basis, Prof Jega, then INEC Chairman acted on.

“They protested and President Jonathan told them to keep quiet that he brought Jega to sanitise the system.

“The CPC, which was then the party of now President Buhari, won an election and Tinubu’s ACN also won Obubra. Blessing was in the PDP then and accused me of being a member of the ACN.

“In 2015 when I was deployed to Edo, the arrogance of power was also on display by some PDP elements except for respectable personalities like Chief Orbih and a few others.

“This Blessing, from Edo, was a PDP member and they were the ones who said they were going to use federal might. I told them the hallmark of democracy will be a peaceful transfer of power and that there will be no federal might.

“Edo was the only state in the South-South where Buhari scored more than the required 25 percent. He had 46 percent. APC got one senatorial seat and four out of nine federal seats and also controlled the state assembly.

“That is my record of absolute neutrality.

“All the characters you are seeing the APC today accusing me were in the PDP and they went after us. The same arrogance is what they are displaying today because they carried that mentality to APC.

“Unfortunately, Nigeria is a country where there is no book of remembrance. We cannot have a democracy without democrats. Where was this Blessing when gunmen invaded my house in Benin because I stood against the purported federal might?

“That same individual is now in the ruling party. I did same in 2014 in Osun. I did same thing in Anambra and in Imo, when there was crisis and I was sent to intervene.”

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