Friday 24th January, 2020
Essien Udim State Constituency Rerun State: An Illegality Taken Too Far
My attention has been drawn to a news circulating in the media detailing the purported, provoking and contemptuous attempt by the Akwa Ibom State INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner, Mr. Mike Igini to conduct rerun or supplementary elections for Essien Udim State Constituency.
In my initial disposition, I had chosen not to dignify such crude effort to perpetuate illegality until the latest posture and utterances of Mr. Mike Igini in cahoot with my opponent in the general elections, Mr. Esse Umoh who lost the election woefully, as affirmed by the elections petitions tribunal and the Court of Appeal in Calabar.
Ordinarily, this would not have elicited any response from Rt. Hon. Nse Ntuen since the matter is before a competent court of jurisdiction but for the fact that the decision of Independent National Electoral Commission is filled with untruth, fallacies and vague machinations at the instance of Mr. Mike Igini who is desperate to further his penchant for electoral fraud.
I hereby state clearly without any equivocation that I contested and won the election into the Essien Udim State Constituency held on 9th March, 2019 having scored the highest number of vote cast and duly declared winner by the returning officer, Professor Ignatius Uduk but in defiance to known norms, Mr. Mike Igini refused to release my certificate of return.
This ugly circumstance that led to the prolonged vacancy of the assembly seat is one that is now all too familiar among the observers of the socio-political corridor and hence, this is not a place where I intend to rehash the shameful acts of Mr. Mike Igini who appear to have sworn to do all within his powers to satisfy the inordinate ambitions of his paymaster.
More so, Mr. Esse Umoh and the People’s Democratic Party who convincingly lost the election went to the tribunal and the case was struck out. A subsequent appeal by my opponent to the Court of Appeal was also unsuccessful as the Court of Appeal did not nullify my election and being the highest appellate body for State House Elections, the Court of Appeal did not also order a rerun election in my constituency.
It is therefore the height of recklessness, most uncharitable and unconscionable for INEC interpretated this to mean it should conduct fresh election all in a bid to murder justice and bring to disrepute the umblemished reputation of both courts which adjudicated over the matter.
I wish to further state here that it is not only morally ignoble but also lawfully reproachable for Mr. Mike Igini to order election of any guise into Essien Udim State Constituency seat without an order from any known court of law.
In the light of this, I wish to formally notify our party, the All Progressives Congress and the electorates in Essien Udim LGA through this release that as the validly declared winner and with the election of 9th March, 2019 having not been declared inconclusive by the Returning Officer or nullified by a competent court, I am therefore not a party to any purported rerun or supplementary elections slated for Saturday 25th January, 2020 by INEC as such would constitute a jeopardy and abuse of power.
As a public servant who has utmost respect for the rule of law and all constitutional institutions, I have openly canvassed for my rights through dialogue but this should not be taken for granted. My supporters are also human and may react if pushed too far but I do not hope to travel through that trail.
In connection to this, my legal team had filed and served INEC with all processes seeking an order to compell INEC to release my Certificate of Return and disembark from conducting any election without further delay. To this end, I hereby call on my teeming supporters to boycott the purported illegal rerun or supplementary election.
SIGNED:Rt. Hon. Nse Effiong NtuenJanuary 24th, 2020