By Odo Ogenyi, Uyo
A group, Akwa Ibom Integrity Alliance has called on the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC and security agents to investigate allegations into diversion of votes meant for Labour Party’s Peter Obi to President elect, Bola Tinubu in some parts of the state.
It has also called on them to examine reports of massive rigging, vote buying and voters intimidation as reported across several local government areas of Ikot Ekpene Senatorial District in the February 25, 2023 general election .
Chairman of the group, Barr Stephen Abia at a press conference in Uyo yesterday asked the electoral umpire to explain how the votes amassed by Peter Obi in Ikot Ekpene Senatorial District, ended up for Tinubu, the APC Presidential candidate.
The chairman enjoined voters to avail security agents of information on the perpetrators of these illegalities in the interest of the democratic process in the State
He wondered why agents and observers who were in the field in the district reported widespread support for Obi in the polls, only for his votes votes to be grossly reduced at the expense of the All Progressives Congress APC and its candidate, Tinubu.
“How did Peter Obi win in several localities in Uyo and Eket, only to lose everywhere in Ikot Ekpene. That is obviously impossible.” Abia said.
The group noted that beyond vote buying and monetary inducements, allegations of intimidation of voters and use of fake security agents to perpetrate illegalities marred the smooth conduct of the exercise in the district notable in Ikot Ekpene, Abak, and Etim Ekpo Local Councils.
It therefore called on security agents to fish out the perpetrators of the monetary inducements and voter’s intimidation and bring them to book to serve as a deterrent to others.
“It is very unfortunate that in the 21st Century, I and with so much enlightenment, people could be so desperate to the point of manipulating, vote buying, thuggery, and other forms of intimidation just to actualize their selfish aims.
“We believe that if the perpetrators are fished out and brought to book it will serve as a deterrent to others nursing such course of actions in the next election.
“The Akwa Ibom Integrity Alliance however called on citizens of the state to remain calm and law-abiding and come out and en mass to exercise their franchise in support of the peace and continued stability in the state on March 11, 2023 Governorship elections.” Abia concluded.