The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has rejected the “brazen imposition” of a Mr. Etekamba Umoren, as the INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) for Akwa Ibom State, describing him as a card-carrying member and prominent leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the State.
The PDP during a press conference in Abuja on Thursday alleged that the movr is a “dangerous design by the ever scheming” APC to perpetuate itself in power by annexing and manipulating the operations of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
The conference was a addressed by PDP National Publicity Secretary, Debo Ologunagba, who said Etekamba Umoren is a known APC leader, who has been at the forefront of APC campaigns and unrelenting projection of APC’s interests in previous elections.
“The PDP therefore in clear and unequivocal terms rejects the imposition of Etekamba Umoren as INEC REC for Akwa Ibom State being conceived in iniquity and in flagrant violation of the express provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended), the Electoral Act, 2022 and the universal demand of impartiality and non-partisanship of an electoral body and its officials.
“It is imperative to state that Section 141 of the Electoral Act, 2022 is clear and unambiguous in barring partisan persons like APC’s Etekamba Umoren from holding any position whatsoever in INEC”, he stated.
Ologunagba stressed that the violation of this key provision as in the case of Etekamba Umoren is a grievous assault on INEC’s credibility as an institution of democracy and the sanctity of the electoral process.
“Our Party is aware of the mission allegedly handed to Etekamba Umoren by the APC leadership to use the office of the REC to compromise sensitive processes, materials and systems including voter registration, collection of Voter Cards, doctoring of Voter Register, delineation of electoral constituencies and coercion of INEC staff, all to lay the foundation for APC to manipulate the process leading to future elections in Akwa Ibom State”, he said.
The PDP spokesman added that “it is in the public domain that Etekamba Umoren has been reportedly accused by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) of allegedly conniving to loot billions of Naira belonging to Akwa Ibom State while he was in the service of the State.
“Etekamba Umoren having been thus accused and being a card-carrying member and leader of the APC, runs short of the necessary criteria required to occupy the position of a REC.
“A REC should be known to be a non-partisan individual of high integrity and whose conduct and appreance should exude confidence in the electorate and enhance the legitimacy of any election supervised by him.
“Etekamba Umoren should therefore steer clear of INEC office in Akwa Ibom State. President Bola Ahmed Tinubu should immediately commence the process of appointing a neutral Resident Electoral Commissioner for Akwa Ibom State so as to avert crisis and illegitimacy in future elections in the State.”