The Independent National Election Commission (INEC) Akwa Ibom state has expressed concern over what it described as blackmail and lies by Senator Godswill Akpabio and his legal team.
INEC’s statement is in response to a social media post by the head of senator Akpabio’s legal team, Barr Patrick Umoh, alleging that the commission had denied him and members of his team access to inspect election materials as ordered by the Election Petition Tribunal.
In a press statement by Don Etukudo, INEC’s Public Affairs Officer in the State, the commission dismissed the claim by Akpabio’s legal team, stating that it was mischievous, and cheap blackmail.
Etukudo also emphasized that Akwa Ibom INEC under the leadership of Mike Igini was working round the clock to uphold the integrity of the electoral process.
The statement reads in part: “we find it distasteful and hard to believe that a legal practitioner can so cheaply and dishonorably lend himself for use in this unholy enterprise against his conscience and the truth.
“The truth is that a seven-man legal team of Sen. Akpabio has been in the Commission and has actually commenced the process of inspecting the election materials. They were led into the Strong Room of the Commission where they sighted and confirmed that there are indeed materials and documents to be inspected.
“Since the materials are inevitably stacked in heaps, Akpabio’s team sat with INEC lawyers to work out and mutually agree on the modalities and schedule for the continuation of the inspection after the Easter holiday, from Tuesday to Thursday, between the hours of 9am and 4pm.
“It is instructive to note that they had earlier obtained the CTCs of some of these documents and, if they were availed the CTCs of the documents; why would they not be allowed access to inspect the same documents as alleged.”
Etukudo also reminded Barrister Umoh that lawyers were men of honour who should always draw a line between bad politics and advancing the cause of Justice.
“We urge the good people of Akwa Ibom State to disregard this cheap blackmail by Barr. Patrick Umoh and his cohorts and be assured that INEC under the leadership of Mike Igini, Esq, will at all times work to uphold the integrity of the electoral process.
“Barr. Patrick Umoh must be told that Lawyers are men of honour and should be honourable enough to draw a line between bad politics and advancing the cause of justice,” Etukudo said.