Following widespread sporadic shootings, violence and maiming of voters in the 17 Units of Ward 11, Itak, the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, has cancelled the Supplementary election of Ikono/Ini Federal Constituency held on Saturday.
Our Correspondent observed that voting could not take place in almost all the units due to the massive shooting by sponsored thugs to disrupt the peaceful conduct of the election.
Announcing the cancellation, the Resident Electoral Commissioner; Cyril Omoregbe, who briefed collation officers in his office on Saturday evening, said the election stands canceled following reports of violence that claimed few lives.
Hon. Emmanuel Ukpong-Udo of the YPP led the PDP Candidate Dr. Glory Edet in the National Assembly election held on February 25 2023.
During the rerun, alleged fake army men invaded some polling units and attacked electoral officers and voters, resulting in the shooting of a youth corps member.
Supporters of the incumbent representative Hon. Ukpong-Udo are said to be in celebration mood, despite the inconclusive election in the constituency.
The 17 polling units in Itak which was the focus of the bye-election with over six thousand votes is poised to be a deciding factor on who could be the next representative for the constituency.
Briefing newsmen at Itak, a resident of the community, Pa Edem Udo said, “What took place today was a charade and nothing to write home about. In fact, voting was peaceful in my polling unit until some men who dressed liked army officers came and disrupted the process by shooting at the Youth Corper with AK -47 . ”
He urged INEC not to just annul the results but to fix a fresh date for the people of the area to vote their chosen Candidate.
Another member of the community Chief Ambrose Okon accused desperate politicians for the violence to discredit the process and arm twist INEC.
They insisted that it would be unfair to declare a winner without taking into consideration the input from the populous Itak communities.
According to him, ” We are all witnesses to the ugly incidents that occurred last Saturday, we mobilized and trooped out enmasse to elect our representative to the National Assembly but met chaos in some of our various units.
Also speaking with Correspondents, a woman leader in Itak, Mrs Helen Etim regretted that the aborted rerun election was deliberately orchestrated to disenfranchise their people.
She further highlighted, ‘ We resolved to use the election ensure that the existing zoning arrangements in our federal constituency is not truncated since it is the turn of Ini local government area to produce a federal lawmaker for the federal constituency.
INEC is yet to issue a statement on a fresh date where adequate security could be provided for the conclusion of the election in the federal constituency.