The chairman, Akwa Ibom State Independent Electoral Commission (AKISIEC) Mr. Aniedi-Abasi Ikoiwak says the proposed local government elections will take place notwithstanding minor adjustments to the already released timetable.
Speaking with our correspondent in his office, Mr. Aniedi-Abasi Ikoiwak admitted that if there are adjustments to be made which could affect the November 11, 2017 date, the commission will adjust the date of election accordingly.
The AKISIEC boss also denied a false report in section of the local media alleging that he is a card carrying member of PDP, saying he has been an INEC resident electoral commissioner for 10 years where he served in nine states and conducted seven governorship elections.
According to him, when he served in Bauchi state, the PDP lost to the opposition All Nigeria People’s Party, same with ACN, Labour Party and APGA that won governorship elections in Edo,Ondo and Imo states respectively. “I am the only resident electoral commissioner in Nigeria who conducted elections and four political parties won election into the state assembly and that happened in Delta state in 2015″
” People should be interested in the background of those whose character they intend to assassinate. Our people should learn to ignore those whose stock in trade is to destroy the reputation of others, it shows the level of degradation in our society which is very sad”
Mr. Ikoiwak maintained that a free and fair election is not only the responsibility of the electoral commission but a collective responsibility of all including the political parties and the people. “How enlightened are the political parties? How enlightened are the electorates? Other stakeholders like security operatives, what is their level of preparedness? It is not only AKISIEC but the environment and the thinking of the people that will determine how free or fair an election could be.
“I have worked as electoral commissioner for years and I can tell you that the onus on the commission is to organise election, make sure materials are distributed to different political units where people are expected to vote but if thugs intercept the material along the way, does that makes the commissioner a thug? People should prepare for election and not how to snatch electoral materials using thugs”
He decried the level of violence associated with the conduct of elections in Akwa Ibom state and other south south states saying it is very different from what he witnessed in Ondo and Bauchi states where he also served as resident electoral commissioner. “Our people must create that environment for free and fair elections and not wait for the electoral commission to do that for them” he advised.