Cross River Assembly Wants INEC REC, Igini Removed
CALABAR, Feb 09, (THEWILL) – The Cross River State House of Assembly today moved to have INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) in the State, Mr. Mike Igini redeployed immediately from the state following his refusal to extend the just concluded voter registration exercise in the state, especially in the Bakassi area, like it was done in other states of the federation.
The House passed a resolution for Igini’s immediately redeployment after a motion was moved by the Deputy Speaker and member representing Bakassi State Constituency, Honourable Dominic Aqua Edem and seconded by Mr. Mkpanam Obo-Bassey Ekpo, Biase State constituency, under Matter of Urgent Public Interest.
The resolution has however been criticized by an umbrella of opposition parties in the state under the aegis of Conference of Nigerian Political Parties (CNPP), who have warned that the redeployment of Igini could hinder the conduct of a free and fair poll in Cross River State.
The CNPP is made up of the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP), Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), African Renaissance Party (ARP), Congress for Democratic Change (CDC), Labour Party (LP), All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) and Alliance for Democracy (AD).
The House accused the INEC REC of frustrating residents of Bakassi in the just concluded voter registration exercise by failing to recognize the Cross River State Law N0. 7 0f 2007 on the delineation of wards.
In a unanimous voice vote, the House resolved as follows: “That the Cross River State Law No. 7 2007 which is pursuant to Section 8 of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999, adjusting the boundaries of Akpabuyo and Bakassi Local Government areas has definitely located Bakassi Local Government Area in the former Ikang wards of Ikang North, Ikang Central and Ikang South and the wards therein.
“Two, that the registration be done on the basis of the wards one to ten in Bakassi local government area.
“Three, that the just concluded voters’ registration which was scarcely done in Bakassi LGA for an average of three days only of the three week exercise be extended in the area to enable eligible Nigerians register.
“Four, that the National Assembly should intervene in this sensitive issue of Bakassi as regards its location and registration of its people.
“Five, that the INEC should immediately redeploy the REC in Cross River State, Mr. Mike Igini, as his continuous presiding over as an umpire in the affairs of INEC in Cross River State would affect the conduct of a free and fair elections 2011.”
But rising in support of Igini, the CNPP in a press conference said the resolution was simply a ploy by the state Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to have INEC post a REC that would help it influence the results of the April election.
CNPP Chairman, Cross River State chapter who is also the AD Chairman, Mr. Cletus Obun said: “The CRHA overreached itself in one fit of convulsive action to recommend that the REC either resign or be sent out of Cross River State. The precipitating event that gave rise to that would show that that was a mere smoke screen. It is a façade to hide under and escape the wrath of the law.
“You are aware that three weeks ago, this same REC during the course of the primary had raised and drawn the attention of the PDP to the fact that due process leading up to the primaries was not followed and the Electoral Act as it then was did not permit it”.
He described the resolution as “a cascading series of events, fraudulently concocted to put the electoral process in jeopardy, to amputate the arm of the electoral body, both at the national and state levels to put in place, by master riggers, who rigging machine have been crippled by recent events by the change in the political system and indeed in the leadership of INEC.
“By this singular act, we are alarmed that something is in the offing, which if not checked may bring us to perdition. Recent events show that what happened in 1983 that led to the military purge would be child’s play if the ruling government is not brought to book and this exercise only started in Cross River as a flashpoint. It would become a cancer that would spread across the country if not checked. We call on Nigerians to be vigilant and watch what is going to come out of Cross River State
“We have insisted that we shall resist this to the last drop of our blood if it comes to that. If Egypt is nothing, then we are going to get more of Tunisia and Turkey. We don’t want to return to Somalia. Please let Cross River not become a battleground. We want our peace and we want to participate in this democracy. Anybody who is coming out to stop us should be ready for war”, he said.
“We are telling you this because we have suffered enough of this brigandage that has deprived our people from voting. With the present electoral system in place, we are confident that One Man One Vote would stand. We are confident that this election would be a different ball game and PDP are aware that rigging would be nearly impossible. The call for the REC to leave is part of the rigging system. That is what is already happening in the judiciary. These are dangerous signs for our democracy”, he added.