By Chioma Onuegbu – Uyo
The Independent National Electoral Commission INEC, in Akwa Ibom state, has expressed disappointment over the disruptions reported in Ukana West (Ward 11), Units 5, 8, and 9 as well as Ikpe Annang (Ward 5), Unit 12 in Essien Udim local government Council during Saturday re-run election.
The electoral umpire in its preliminary report on the re-run election signed by Odaro Aisien HOD, Voter Education and Publicity
INEC, in the state and obtained by Vanguard, in Uyo about 8:30 pm said it had thought lessons would have been learnt from what led to the nullification of the 2019 elections.
The report stated, “The court-ordered rerun elections in Essien Udim LGA commenced on schedule. As at 8.00 am, following the early deployment of men and materials, polling had opened in over 90% of the Polling Units (PUs).
“However, when the Commission had thought that lessons would have been learnt from what led to the nullification of the 2019 Elections, the same acts of brigandage were on full display, as an abduction of poll officials were reported.
“These reports were corroborated by videos clips on social media showing corps members and other officials who were abducted to private premises outside their PUs.
“They were further confirmed by the INEC Monitoring and Compliance Team of the rank of Directors of the Commission, who were assigned to various wards.
“Disruptions were reported in Ukana West (Ward 11), Units 5, 8, 9 as well as Ikpe Annang (Ward 5), Unit 12. Some of the abducted poll officials have been rescued by the police while efforts are being made to ensure the safe release of others.
“Nigerians will recall that these rerun elections were ordered by the Appeal Court on account of what it described as “acts of unparalleled thuggery, intimidation, ballot-box snatching, abduction and other acts of hooliganism that pervaded the entire Essien Udim LGA,” during the 2019 Elections.
“Again, these acts have been repeated in today’s re-run exercise.
“As at the time of this report, collation is ongoing in most wards that were not affected by violence and disruptions that were witnessed in these reported wards.
Collation process is ongoing and the rerun elections would be concluded”