He recalled that even international observers faulted the outcome of the election and therefore, advised the electoral umpire, Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to use subsequent elections building up to 2019 to restore the people’s confidence in the institution.
He spoke at the strategic stakeholders’ engagement in Uyo, yesterday, with the theme: ‘’Broad Outline of the 2019 Elections in Akwa Ibom State: The Road Map.”
Emmanuel said: “Every single question that had been asked here today in this hall would have been answered if the President had actually assented to the Electoral Bill. If you check that bill, it provides for 10 years jail term without fine for people who would misbehave during elections. That alone will serve as deterrent to the fears expressed in this hall today.
“I know the REC had spoken so well of his integrity and trust. These assurances are okay by us. I just hope that INEC at the state level will speak the same way the REC is speaking here today. We expect the security agencies to complement this effort for a credible election.”
Meanwhile, Resident Electoral Commissioner, REC, of the state, Mr Mike Igini, had earlier called on politicians seeking elective positions in the forthcoming elections to engage in issue-based campaigns during the party primaries kicking off August 18.
He called on leaders of political parties to talk to their members on the need to ensure strict adherence to the code of conduct and section 130 of the Electoral Act.
He said: “It is our hope that the politicking across the country will centre on the people. But in this state, under my watch, it is the will of the people that will count. It is the votes from the units that will count. It is the political parties that will submit names of candidates to the commission.
“We must conduct an election that will be accepted by the people without recourse to the tribunals. We have done it elsewhere and we will do it here. You are going to have little or minimal petitions. Election is a time when the independence and integrity of institutions like INEC, security agencies and judiciary are tested.”
He pointed out that in Akwa Ibom State, 50 per cent of PVCs were uncollected, describing the rate as very low and discouraging, especially with elections around the corner.