…INEC, A’Ibom PDP offer cash for ‘accreditation in arrears’
Fresh intelligence has come to light on the latest effort by the Akwa Ibom State government, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to hide traces of electoral fraud committed by the PDP in the last elections in the state.
Sources in the state INEC and Government House Uyo, whose identities cannot be revealed for their safety, say the state government is working backward with INEC on behalf of the PDP to get enough accreditation to match the number of votes which INEC had allocated to the PDP candidates for the gubernatorial, National Assembly and House of Assembly elections in the state on March 28 and April 11.
The sources say INEC and the Akwa Ibom State government have decided to finance a mammoth campaign in the state for “accreditation in arrears” to close a huge gap between the numbers of accredited voters in INEC database as captured by the card readers during the elections and numbers declared by INEC in Akwa Ibom State for the PDP candidates. INEC had directed that for the April 11 elections the card reader must be used for accreditation.
Data obtained from INEC in Abuja show that the number of accredited voters in Akwa Ibom State during the governorship and House of Assembly elections was 647,215 whereas INEC in the state had declared total votes cast for the PDP governorship candidate, Mr. Udom Emmanuel as 996,071, showing a differential of 35 per cent or 348,856 votes.
It is this differential of more than one-third of a million votes that the state government and INEC are battling to make up for by offering N10,000 to every voter with PVC that is willing to go to government and INEC hideouts to be accredited on the card reader, nine days after the election.
The sources also explained that it is the same difficulty that INEC and the state government are experiencing in “balancing the book” that has held up release of the State House of Assembly election, nine days after the election was held on April 11. Akwa Ibom is the only state where election was not suspended that has yet to release results of all the contests.
Governor Godswill Akpabio and the PDP in Akwa Ibom, working with the State INEC under the leadership of Resident Electoral Commissioner Austin Okogie, an associate of Tony Anenih, chairman of PDP Board of Trustees, are juggling a cocktail of tricks to clean up the historic electoral fraud committed in the state on March 28 and April 11 during the Presidential/National Assembly elections and the Gubernatorial/House of Assembly elections.
One of the tricks in their bags is the plan to use convicted criminals in the state prisons on a promise of state pardon to testify at the election tribunal as APC thugs who killed and maimed during the elections on the instruction of “their party.” The state government, on behalf of the PDP, is also going round the state collecting signatures from people impersonating APC chapter chairmen to be published as advertorial declaring that elections in their local government areas were free and fair.
In addition to the underhanded measures being applied by INEC Akwa Ibom and the state government, both of them working for the PDP, the state government is using security agents to hunt down the campaign staff of the APC governorship candidate in the state in a mission to retrieve from them any material evidence that might be used against the PDP at the election petition tribunal. SSS agents have visited the offices of some of the campaign staff in attempt to arrest them and recover such pieces of material evidence.
Another bizarre scheme by the state governor to escape justice from the election tribunal is his attempt to launder all the stolen mandates by offering to join the APC with all the PDP members “elected” in the polls. Prince Akpabio, cousin to the state governor, has been quoted by people in his circle as saying that he knew that “the national leader of the APC, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu cannot resist the offer of a governor, three senators, 10 members of the House of Representatives and 26 members of the State House of Assembly.”
Aides of the immediate past commissioner for finance in the state, Mr. Bassey Albert Akpan, have also quoted him as saying that his party, the PDP, is negotiating to hand over its “electoral assets” to the APC and that Umana would soon be directed to concede defeat and accept a ministerial appointment.
Three weeks ago, Prince Akpabio led a delegation on behalf of the state governor to Lagos to explore ways of having talks with Tinubu to interest him with their “electoral assets.” The delegation came back empty handed without securing access to the APC national leader, despite having approached Ben Akabueze, commissioner for economic development and budget in Lagos State and Wale Edun, former commissioner for finance when Tinubu was Lagos State governor, to help with the contact. Both men are close associates of Tinubu. According to an insider, the delegation went to Lagos with $500,000 in cold cash to facilitate access to Tinubu.