Akwa-Ibom Election: APC Responds To Paul Ekpo-PDP’s Allegation With Photo Evidence Of Destroyed Ballot Papers
THE FALSE ALLEGATIONS OF A PARANOIAC! AKWA IBOM STATE APC’S RESPONSE TO MR. PAUL EKPO-PDP’S FALSE AND DELUSIONAL ALLEGATIONS
Our attention has been called to a press statement of Tuesday, 28th July, 2015, credited to Mr. Paul Ekpo, the Akwa Ibom State Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in which he falsely accused the Department of State Services, DSS, of “partisanship” and of aiding and abetting the Akwa Ibom State All Progressives Congress, APC, at the Governorship Election Petition Tribunal; wrongly claiming that members of his political party “at the electoral tribunal currently sitting in Abuja have been hounded, harassed, and threatened by agents of the State Security Service.”
Further spinning his yarns of falsehood and acting as if Mr. Austin Okojie, the Resident Electoral Commissioner for Akwa Ibom State, were under the employ of the State PDP which he heads, an orientation that makes him conduct in a manner suggestive of him discharging the responsibility of protecting his employee, Paul Ekpo said: “The Resident Electoral Commissioner has been equally hounded and unfairly singled out for interrogation. We want to put it on record that what the opposition is doing in Akwa Ibom… state is against the spirit, ethos and values of democratic norms and traditions…We want the world to ask the APC and its agents in the SSS why Akwa Ibom…state is being singled-out for scrutiny.”
There is no doubt that Mr. Paul Ekpo is stridently screaming “we want the world to ask the APC and its agents in the SSS why Akwa Ibom State is being singled out for scrutiny” because he is delusively seeing in the newly formed APC national government apparent reflections of vintage characteristics of his party, PDP, whose national officers, state governors and senior state party officers made it a despicable habit of blackmailing, corrupting and using high ranking officials and agents of the SSS to hound, molest, incriminate and generally intimidate especially members of the All Progressives Congress, APC, in those states and enclaves where they have a stronghold.
In point of fact, officials of the All Progressives Congress, APC, both at the national and State levels are not of the same morally decadent plumage as the PDP. Being made of sterner and more finer moral fibre, we of the All Progressives Congress have never asked and do not have any need to ask any agent of our national security agencies to show any partiality towards us; and there is, therefore, no truth whatever in Paul Ekpo’s and PDP’s allegation that the Department of State Security and staffers of the SSS are in any way partisan in their involvement in the ongoing Akwa Ibom State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Abuja.
In order to put the records straight, however, we bring to the notice of the general public the fact that following the determined effort of particularly Mr. Austin Okojie to frustrate the APC and his obstinate refusal, working in consort with other very senior staff of INEC in both Uyo and Abuja, to comply with three consecutive orders issued on 12th and 23rd May and 25th June 2015 by the Akwa Ibom State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal asking that INEC grant access to the APC lawyers and its team of forensic experts to inspect and thoroughly examine the necessary election materials and other vital documents used for the April 11, 2015, governorship election in Akwa Ibom State, Chief Victor Iyanam, Counsel to Mr. Umana Okon Umana and member of the APC legal team at the Governorship Tribunal, was compelled to strongly petition 1) Director General of the Department of State Services and 2) The Inspector General of Police. The petition, dated 8th July, 2015, was titled: PETITION AGAINST CORRUPTION AND UNBECOMING CONDUCT OF INEC RESIDENT ELECTORAL COMMISSIONER, AKWA IBOM STATE, MR AUSTIN OKOJIE AND OTHER INEC OFFICERS.
Some of the “unbecoming conduct of the INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner for Akwa Ibom State, Mr. Austin Okojie” were:
I) Against all directives prescribed by the guidelines of INEC on how to package and preserve all relevant election results and materials, Mr. Austin Okojie connived with other dishonest Electoral Officers in the state to mix up the ballot papers and other sensitive election materials of the Presidential, Senatorial and House of Representatives elections that were held on Saturday, March 28, 2015, with the ballot papers and other election materials used for the governorship election conducted of April 11, 2015.
ii) For the obvious purpose of making sure that irreparable damage was done to the sensitive election materials and many other vital election documents used for the April 11, 2015, governorship election in Akwa Ibom State and that the APC governorship candidate is not availed the authentic and incontrovertible evidence proving that the governorship election was most irregular and fraudulent, Mr. Austin Okojie and members of his gang in INEC, who are undoubtedly in collusion with senior officials of the PDP government in Uyo, went to the callous extent of deliberately pouring and soaking bags of sensitive election materials in water. Other ramshackled bags containing more critical election materials were criminally kept under the rain, contrary to INEC directives and established practice of keeping sensitive and important election materials and documents in INEC-approved and supplied sealable envelops and containers.
iii) Under Mr. Austin Okojie’s watch, hundreds of thousands of ballot papers and other election materials supposedly used for the governorship election of April 11, 2015, were physically mutilated beyond redemption, making it absolutely impossible for the APC forensic experts to scan them for forensic examination.
iv) In the APC petition sent to both the DG of DSS and the IGP, Chief Victor Iyanam averred that some of the sensitive election materials that were mutilated and destroyed while under the care and safe keeping of the Resident Electoral Commissioner for Akwa Ibom State, Mr. Austin Okojie, were, amongst others, 1) Polling Unit Result Sheets, Form EC 8A for the 2982 units in the state; 2) Ward Result sheets, Form EC 8B for the 329 Wards; and 3) Local Government Result Sheet, Form EC 8C for the 31 Local Government Areas.
We in the All Progressives Congress, APC, in Akwa Ibom State justifiably felt that the best way the vast majority of Nigerians can be persuaded to uphold the sanctity of the ballot box, trust and have faith in our electoral process and consider it to be the best and legitimate means of electing our political representatives and the most peaceful method we can use to routinely change our governments and thus be encouraged to invest in deepening and broadening the process is to ensure that officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, who are charged with the onerous responsibility of conducting free and fair elections are decisively discouraged from conducting in the criminal, abominable and most reckless manner that fellows like Mr. Austin Okojie and his cohorts are currently carrying on.
Succinctly put, it was to put a terminal end to the Austin Okojie kind of unpardonable betrayal, electoral criminality and unacceptable impunity that frustrated and forced the APC in Akwa Ibom State to petition and invite the DG of DSS and the IGP to rivet their attention on and “single out for scrutiny” the apparently “unbecoming conduct of Mr. Austin Okojie and other INEC officers.”
Knowing his antecedents, we are not surprised that Mr. Paul Ekpo and members of his PDP are raising false alarms and making unfounded and clearly delusional allegations, bothering on paranoia, against the Akwa Ibom State APC. Being aware of the felonious extent they went, with muscular and generous helpings from Austin Okojie, senior INEC officials in Uyo, the 31 Electoral Officers and employees of INEC and some unscrupulous Police officers and security agents in Akwa Ibom State, to record a pyrrhic victory in the April 11 governorship election, the outcome of which is currently being rigorously contested at the Election Tribunal, the pangs of whatever is remaining of their atrophied conscience is pricking them. And like the guilty ones, the cabal of PDP chieftains in Akwa Ibom who worked hand in gloves with Austin Okojie and his INEC staffers to perpetrate the most brazen and outstanding electoral thievery in the annals of history are mortally afraid they will soon be caught out.
It must be obvious to any averagely intelligent person that with the arrest and rigorous interview of Messrs. Austin Okojie, Ayogu Luke Obinna, HOD Logistics and Uche Okorie, Head of Legal Services of INEC in Uyo, by agents of the DSS, Paul Ekpo and his co-travellers are getting the creepy feeling that something ominous is about to chance on them, especially now that President Muhammadu Buhari is at the helm of our national affairs and everyone is confident that he will deliver on his pledge of making sure the rule of law prevails and there is no sacred cow. In their imagination, Paul Ekpo and his ilks believe that their “uncommonly” monumental electoral fraud and other dark schemings against the state will soon be exposed; and thus making them ripe to be prosecuted and lawfully punished for crimes against the state and people of Akwa Ibom. It is this irrational anxiety and the concomitant delusional fears it induces that has afflicted Mr. Paul Ekpo with a persecution complex, a mental condition responsible for his spinning effluvial yarns of false and unfounded allegations against APC and trying to cheaply whip up undeserved sympathy for and exculpate Mr. Austin Okojie of all blames for the disrepute his wilful and criminal actions have inflicted on the integrity of the institution he represents.
In any event, it is amusing for someone of Mr. Paul Ekpo’s background and track record to so flippantly and erroneously accuse leaders of the All Progressives Congress in Akwa Ibom State of planning “to use every means at their disposal to subvert the will of our people.” Akwa Ibom people know of only one person and one political party in modern Nigeria that have unconscionably used “every means at their disposal to subvert the collective will of our people.” That one person is Mr. Paul Ekpo; and the political party is the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, of which he has been its wimpish State Chairman since March 17, 2012.
As verifiable records show, Mr. Paul Ekpo is the fifth Akwa Ibom State Chairman of the PDP since 1999. The late Chief Joe Ating from Mbo LGA led the party as we transited from military rule to democratic governance. There was no crisis as all leaders from the ethnic groups and other influences were involved in the process of deciding who to emerge as our governor. In 2006/2007, Mr. Otu Ita Toyo from Udung Uko LGA managed the transition of power from Obong Victor Attah and dexterously midwifed the historic paradigm shift of power from not only one senatorial district to the other but also from the Ibibio largest ethnic group to the second largest ethnic group, Annang. In the 2007 PDP gubernatorial primaries which Mr. Otu Toyo superintended over, there were more than 50 aspirants from the 3 senatorial districts and 3 major ethnic groups. Under his watch, “The Total Chair,” as Toyo was admiringly called by PDP faithful, assumed full responsibility for ensuring that delegates emerged in compliance with the provisions of the PDP constitution without acrimony.
But more importantly, the point must be stressed that neither Mr. Otu Toyo nor Obong Victor Attah was so vile, criminally minded and subversive of the will of the collectivity as to come into the unholy alliance of administering fetish oaths on delegates and committing them against their free will to cast their ballot for the then governor’s preference of who he wanted as his anointed successor.
But alas! It is in the tenure of Mr. Paul Ekpo from Etinan LGA that unwholesome “partisanship” became the norm in Akwa Ibom State PDP. From the very moment Mr. Godswill Obot Akpabio recruited Mr. Udom Gabriel Emmanuel from Zenith Bank into the governorship race in August/September 2013, Paul Ekpo threw all decency and caution to the wind and openly identified with and was the de facto cheer leader of the campaign for Udom Emmanuel, blackmailing and haranguing all LGA and state officers of his party into unquestionable compliance.
With total disregard for the internal cohesiveness of his party in the state, abject insensitivity to the interest of 22 other contestants, and in unabashed contempt for the generality of his party membership in the state, and the yearnings of Akwa Ibom people, Paul Ekpo refused to conduct Ward Congresses from where the delegates for the governorship primary would have emerged. He preferred to sit down with Messrs Godswill Akpabio and Udom Emmanuel to manufacture a partisan “list of ad-hoc delegates populated by political appointees of government and civil servants” with the sole intention of foisting Mr. Udom Gabriel Emmanuel on Akwa Ibom people.
To save the soul of Akwa Ibom State from the ruinous PDP clique, a mass revolt took place causing the other 22 sidelined governorship aspirants their supporters, and a distinguished cream of its members to massively decamped to congregate and find refuge under the canopy of the All Progressives Congress; an action that inexorably cascaded a chain of events that mortally weakened the PDP and catapulted the APC to its present status as the preferred political platform for the great people of Akwa Ibom State.
When it became obvious to Mr. Paul Ekpo that his wimpish leadership and pathetic surrender to some sorcerous spells has emboldened the resolve of the mass populace to decisively discontinue with everything relating to the PDP whose 2007 to 2015 government is perceived as the most thieving, corrupt, clannish, ethnically discriminating, most disrespectful of elders and divisive government we have ever had since 1987, the fellow embarked on the recruitment and lethal arming of a private army of gangsters and thugs that were used to cold-bloodedly slaughter over 30 young Akwa Ibom men, massively rig the April 11 elections, “uncommonly” induce Austin Okojie and other corrupt INEC officials to off-handedly allot some 996,071 votes to Mr Udom Gabriel Emmanuel, even when the total number of Akwa Ibom people accredited for that particular election was just 437,128 voters.
The above is but a synoptic review of the despicable track record of the character that has shamelessly come out to falsely accuse members of the APC in Akwa Ibom of using “every means at their disposal to subvert the collective will of our people.” This is the unedifying credentials of the person that is falsely and maliciously accusing diligent officers of the DSS of “partisanship” simply because they are helping to contain and bring to justice people with criminal tendencies like Austin Okojie and his co-travellers.
Akwa Ibom State APC Publicity Secretary.