AKISIEC Conducts First Back-To-Back LG Election

The local government election which was held across the 31 local government areas of the state on Saturday was devoid of the usual fervor and tension that usually characterized elections in the state. 

The election was the first seamless transition from elected council chairmen to their successors in the political history of the state. 

The main opposition party in the state, the All Progressives Congress (APC), did not participate in the council poll, thereby making the exercise purely a Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) affair. 

The APC had earlier accused the Akwa Ibom State Independent Electoral Commission (AKISIEC) of aligning with the ruling PDP, declaring its lack of confidence in the electoral body to conduct a credible, free and fair election. 

The opposition party in the state had also kicked against the creation of additional 39 wards, saying it was unconstitutional and a ploy by the AKISIEC to rig the council election in favour of the PDP. The APC later lost the case against the creation of additional wards in the state by AKISIEC in the court. As a result, it had boycotted the poll leaving the turf for the PDP alone in the contest.

 Therefore, Saturday's council election witnessed massive voter apathy across most units and wards in the state but it did not deter PDP faithful as they trooped out to vote for their candidates in the councillorship and chairmanship races which in most cases were unopposed.

 In Eket Local Government for instance, some units did not receive voting materials on time even as distributions of materials were very slow when they finally arrived. Materials arrived Eket Central 3, Afia Nsit at about 10.42am; only the electoral officers and security agents were available. In Uyo Urban wards 1, 2, 3 and 4, no voter was seen around the polling units even though electoral officers were on ground and ready for the election by 9am.
But the exercise was generally peaceful as no case of ballot snatching, reckless driving and violence was reported from the units visited as at the time of filing this report.

 However, Governor Udom Emmanuel has commended the AKISIEC for working to ensure a transparent and smooth local government election in the state.

 Pioneer Politics gathered that the governor also applauded the electorate for conducting themselves peacefully and orderly during the exercise. 

Emmanuel gave the commendation at his polling unit, Awa Ward 1, after carrying out a simultaneous accreditation and voting at 10am.

 "I think this is one of the peaceful elections we have ever had.I drove from Uyo down here trying to monitor the elections. I like the quietness and orderliness of the election and I am also surprised at the preparedness of AKISIEC, the quality of materials; they are very high standard.

 "The transparency of the processes is commendable. They have done a good work but it is unfortunate that people will still be complaining even when we score the process 99 per cent. I would only encourage them to do more. 

Asked whether he still has confident in the local government system, Emmanuel said "I have confidence in the system. If I didn't have confidence, why should I waste my time coming here? I have confidence much more than ever before. This is the most peaceful elected to elected elections, grace pass grace, he said. 

The presiding officer of the ward, Destiny Bob, who also spoke with journalists said accreditation and election were done simultaneously, adding that despite the poor turnout of voters, the election would end by 2pm. 

His words, "election started by 8am but it's now 10am, we are still waiting for voters. No party agents are here but I believe they will come. 

The exercise was generally peaceful throughout the state though AKISIEC is yet to declare the comprehensive results of the process.

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