Protesters demanding the removal of Mr Mike Igini, the Resident Electoral Commissioner, Akwa Ibom State, standing at the gate of INEC office in Uyo on Wednesday 29th June. Photo credit: Abasifreke Effiong.

Abasifreke Effiong, Uyo.

More than 2000 youths besieged INEC office in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State in the morning of Wednesday 29th June demanding the removal of Mr Mike Igini, Resident Electoral Commissioner, REC, in the State.

On going voters registration exercise taking place at the INEC office could not commence during the protest which lasted for more than three hours amidst heavy security presence at the secretariat.

The protesters said Mr Mike Igini is biased and was obviously taking sides and supporting a faction in the APC that was sacked by the Court.

They accused him of using his position as INEC REC in Akwa Ibom State to cause crises in the APC in Akwa Ibom and heightening apprehension across the state.

The protesters brandished placards bearing “Igini Must Go”, “Igini is acting like a factional party chairman”, “Igini owes himself his safety for dirty deals”, “Igini is out again for a dirty job”, “INEC headquarters must act now”, “Igini don’t kill Akwa Ibom APC”, “Akwa Ibom APC youths earnestly declares (sic) Igini must go”, among others.

It was the second time in four years that youths of the State were protesting against Mr Mike Igini.

The protesters, in a-4 page petition signed by 23 youth leaders, and submitted to the Administrative Secretary of INEC in Uyo,
by a coalition of Akwa Ibom Youth Groups of All Progressives Congress, said Igini’s actions and utterances have exposed his partisan inclination against APC.

Youths besiege INEC office in Akwa Ibom, demand Igini's removal Leaders of the protesting youths discussing with INEC officials. (Credit : Abasifreke Effiong.)

The petition reads “Mr Mike Igini an employee of INEC is highly compromised and we can no longer bear his shenanigans. Our position is on the backdrop as facts on record and prove that Mr Mike Igini has derelict his statutory duties as an election umpire as envisaged under the Electoral Act 2022 and other extant provisions of the laws for which he was employed.”

“That in his recent and continuous actions and media utterances in his capacity as the REC in Akwa Ibom, he has condescended so low to the arena of a partisan official for which he has thrown away the ‘hood’ of an electoral umpire.”

“He is not only seen everywhere with factional and parallel party officials unknown to law, but also seen hobnobbing at odd hours in clandestine mood and places where he has taken the duties of announcing dates, picking and choosing venues, postponing, convening and announcing results of party primaries and submitting names of candidates he feel (sic) satisfies his political cum economic interest and attempting to force same on party and the headquarters of INEC.”

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The protesters said for ignoring in contemptuous terms the valid judgment of courts given in favour of Obong Stephen Ntokekpo led chairmanship of APC in Akwa Ibom State against Austin Ekanem and others at the High Court of Akwa Ibom State and the Federal High Court Abuja, where the National Working Committee and National Executive Council of APC and INEC have acknowledged, Igini has shown himself as partisan.

Youths besiege INEC office in Akwa Ibom, demand Igini's removal The protesters brandishing placards. (Credit: Abasifreke Effiong.)

The coalition said Igini’s rejection of the outcome of the Appeal Court which validates the position of the trial court shows that he is not fit as a fair electoral umpire and should be relieved of his job as Akwa Ibom state resident electoral commissioner, stressing that failure to leave the State in 72 hours he (Igini) should be held liable for any untoward outcome that may arise in the state.

The coalition passed a vote of no confidence on Mr Igini and called on the National headquarters of INEC to review Igini’s actions and utterances and take appropriate disciplinary measure against him to serve the integrity and impartial requirement of INEC as an electoral umpire.

Some of the youth leaders who led the protest, Barr. Uwem Umo, Mr. Kenny Inyang Eka, Mr Godswill Umo Akwang, Mr Ubokobong Umo, said they will continue to protest against Igini’s illegal actions against APC in the State until he is removed.