By Ekemini Simon
As the general elections draw nearer, the Resident Electoral Commissioner in Akwa Ibom State, Barr Mike Igini has assured that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) under his watch in Akwa Ibom State will work towards giving meaning and purpose to votes cast by the electorate.
Barr Igini who gave the assurance last weekend during a courtesy call in his office by the leadership of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, Akwa Ibom State Council noted that his plan towards 2019 elections in Akwa Ibom State is to conduct a free, fair, credible and most importantly acceptable elections.
The Resident Electoral Commissioner stated that to achieve an acceptable election, the Commission is poised on providing a level playing field for all contestants across the 2,980 polling units in the State. While warning against any plan to hijack or rig elections, Igini noted that areas where malpractice take place run the risk of cancelation of results as he will not approve results which are not credible.
He pointed out that in a bid to fill loopholes against election malpractice; he had carried out profiling of the State which 22 illegal units were discovered in private homes. The Akwa Ibom State REC added, “in Akwa Ibom State, we will conduct election that will meet the legitimate aspirations of the people. There will be no Federal or State might. It is the might of the people that will stand. Under my watch, the people will have active voice in who leads them. While commenting on the role of the media to an informed society, Igini expressed the determination of INEC to continue partnering with the media towards a free, fair and credible election.
Earlier, the Chairman of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, Akwa Ibom State Council, Elder Patrick Albert commended the track record of service of the INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner. He noted that his credible track record gives hope of neutrality by the election umpire.
He harped on the need for a collaborative relationship between the media and the Independent National Electoral Commission towards a credible and acceptable election. Albert added, “the media plays a very critical role in election by educating the people on the demands for a credible election and on information on how the election went. Akwa Ibom State desires nothing but free, credible, and acceptable elections.” He intimidated the REC on the readiness of Journalists to monitor the election, hence give the people adequate information on happenings in the election.