Governor Akpabio On Electoral Violence
Governor Godswill Akpabio has harped on the need for the correction of certain flaws in the security system in the country to prevent electoral violence.
Akpabio, who stated this Thursday while receiving his certificate of return from INEC in Uyo, blamed some members of the Nigerian Police Force for allowing themselves to be used by the opposition to foment violence on April 11 gubernatorial and State Assembly polls in the State.
“The Police brought AIG to Akwa Ibom who came with commissioners of Police. The instruction was that command has changed at the centre and that anybody who wants promotion must support APC and at the end they went from house to house searching the house of my commissioners. In Ibiono Ibom, they ransacked the house of Ignatius Edet. In Ibesikpo Asutan, they ransacked the House of anybody related to the government. They were instructed not to take instructions from anybody related to Government, that Government has change hand at the centre.”
The Governor described as the attitude of the security agency as anti-democratic saying “that kind of attitude from the security services cannot augur well for democracy in this country. In future, how will you encourage a President who has lost election to congratulate the winner and step down peacefully when his people will be humiliated and hounded?
“The same policemen went to Ibesikpo Asutan and opened fire on an innocent child and the person is in the hospital today. They went to Essien Udim and opened fire in the air. The idea was to leave the impression that there was no election in Akwa Ibom or there was violence. When they came back the army arrested seven of them and before the AIG left Akwa Ibom, he released those seven policemen and they were from the Divisional Headquarters here.”
The State Chief Executive explained that Akwa Ibom people were known as peace loving people until 2011 election when certain people seek to take command of the State.
“We had never had the level of violence we had in 2011 all occasioned by those who came to take command in Akwa Ibom State. A hitherto peaceful people, we are now cowed and intimidated. The only person that was arrested in this State with seven units in his house was an APC chieftain and that AIG thought he was PDP man. The man who contested election has gone on air to denounce that elder and all the materials in that man's possession were thump printed for APC. Recently, they appeared in court with 10 innocent Youth Corp Members who were taken at gun point and were forced to thump print for APC. The same people are those running their mouth on Channels Television, AIT, writing nothing the newspaper and say that PDP people were violent in Akwa Ibom.
“I am saying it today in the public so that that AIG will hear and I will mention it in Council of State meeting so that other heads of government will know that that is not the way to use security in this country. They should have provided a level playing field but they turned things around with propaganda that PDP were the people causing trouble in Akwa Ibom. They are able to go and pay some people who claimed to be international observers from EU to say there was problem in Akwa Ibom”, he said.
The governor commended the Independent National Electoral Commission for the conduct of the election, and called on those with reservation over the election result to seek redress through the tribunal.
The Governor-elect of Akwa Ibom State, Mr. Udom Gabriel Emmanuel described the event as a milestone in the process of deepening national democratic process in Nigeria, adding that the last elections would go down in the history as one of the most keenly contested elections in the Nigeria conducted by the INEC.
Mr. Udom commended President Goodluck Jonathan for entrenching democracy in Nigeria by conceding defeat even before the final election was announced and called on others to follow same.
Earlier, the National Electoral Commissioner in-charge of Cross River, Akwa Ibom and Rivers States, Mrs. Thelma Iremiren had on behalf of the INEC congratulated the elected officers for on their well-deserved victory at the polls.
“I wish to on behalf of INEC congratulate you on your well-deserved victory. It is time to roll-up your sleeves because expectations are high and your words must be your bond. Leadership comes with lot of responsibilities and you must live up to your electioneering promises”, Thelma added.