Flawed and Farce: Violence, ballot snatching in Akwa Ibom local council elections

by Stanley Azuakola

The Akwa Ibom State local government elections held across the state yesterday have been described as “flawed.”

Yesterday, we reported the story of a DPO in Eket Local Council who ordered police officers to assault two journalists. Now, new reports say there were many other cases of violence and ballot snatching.

In Ini Local Government Area of the state, three people were killed on the eve of the elections. The killing was said to have been carried out by thugs loyal to one of the leading political parties in the state.

The election in Uruan LGA, was also marred by violence as three policemen were allegedly killed by a mob. The Police public relations officer for the state, Mr. Etim Dickson, has however denied the report, claiming that the election in Uruan LGA was peaceful. “I have not heard of any policeman that was killed in Uruan. Election was peaceful there,” Dickson said.

In Ibiono Ibom Local Government Area, eye-witnesses alleged that ballot boxes were carried to the house of a top government official while the officers of the police force kept watch outside his gate.

There were similar cases of alleged ballot boxes snatching in Uyo but it was difficult to ascertain which of the political parties was involved because thugs who had no identification carried out the act.

One of the voters who pleaded anonymity said, “We came here to vote but what we saw was a deviation. We can’t call this democracy. If we cannot put things right from the grass roots, where are we going to put things right? We have policemen who protect only the powerful and the rich members of the society.”

Voting was however peaceful in Essien Udim LGA, the home of Governor Godswill Akpabio, and witnessed a very impressive turnout.


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