By NBF News
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The Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) has said the terrible ordeal to which its gubernatorial candidate in Akwa Ibom State, Senator John Akpanudoedehe, is currently being subjected to by the state government, in collusion with the police, raises a lot of questions about President Goodluck Jonathan's much-stated commitment to ensuring free and fair elections.

In a statement issued in Lagos yesterday by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the party said after Akpanudoedehe's tormentors failed in their bid to have him put away by a court in Abuja, they hustled him to Uyo where they were now using a law - passed long after the offence (arson and murder) for which he was being tried was committed - to put him away till after the governorship election they fear he was sure to win.

'Even his life is at risk, as his tormentors fear that his popularity and acceptability in the state is such that locking him up may not be enough to prevent him from winning the election. This is why his party and his family and supporters have been greatly concerned about his well-being,' it said. ACN added: 'Our candidate's alleged offence was committed on March 22 and he is now being tried in a Magistrate Court in Akwa Ibom under a law that only came into being on March 31.

The law allows anyone charged with arson or murder to be detained for 14 days initially, renewable by another 14 days. There is no better evidence that the law was made specifically to put Senator Akpanudoedehe away till well after the elections.'

ACN said another sign of extraordinary desperation on the part of the Akwa Ibom governor and his cohorts was the fact that since the Magistrate Court could not try anyone for any offence attracting more than two years in prison, the law was quickly changed so the court could try Akpanudoedehe, who faces seven years in jail for arson and life for murder.

'It is not a secret that Governor Goodswill Akpabio of Akwa Ibom is a die-hard loyalist of President Jonathan, just as it is not a secret that the governor has engaged in sheer distortion of facts in the Akwa Ibom violence case, just to convince his bosses in Abuja that Senator Akpanudoedehe must be put away for PDP to have headway in the state.

'Therefore, President Jonathan cannot pretend not to be aware of the situation in Akwa Ibom, regarding the governor's resort to lawlessness and the glaring desperation to crush any real or perceived opposition in the state. It is therefore incumbent on the president to call the governor to order.