The All Progressive Congress (APC) has accused former Governor of Akwa Ibom State Godswill Akpabio, now a Senator, of bribing the INEC Electoral Commissioner in the state, Austin Okojie, with N2.5 billion to frustrate the party’s petition challenging the election of Udom Emmanuel as governor.
In a petition, issued by counsel to APC, Victor Iyanam, dated Wednesday, July 8, 2015 and addressed to the Director General, Department of State Security (DSS) and the Inspector General of Police, the APC accused Mr. Okojie of taking bribe from the former governor to work against the party and its governorship candidate, Okon Umanah, at the tribunal.
According to Premium Times, counsel to APC, Mr. Iyanam alleged that the bribe was paid by the former governor before the April elections to compromise the REC and make him feel “obliged to complete the corrupt process by doing everything possible to frustrate the governorship elections petition of the APC candidate.”
He said the APC had to issue the petition after several complaints against the refusal by INEC in the state to grant access to the party to inspect election materials, despite several orders of the Akwa Ibom State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal to do so.
The Federal Government approved the relocation of the tribunal from Uyo to Abuja, while election materials were later also moved to Abuja, following allegation of threats to security by APC
Mr. Iyanam said the tribunal had also ordered that officials of the DSS and police be available during the inspection exercise to ensure that the materials are safely moved to Abuja and accurate forensic analysis are carried out in a free and fair environment.
However, APC said Mr. Okojie had not obeyed the orders of the tribunal. The party also said Mr. Okojie had not cooperated with the party to carry out the inspection “principally (due) to the fact that the sum of N2.5 Billion was disbursed to him by the previous government of Chief Godswill Akpabio prior to the general elections.”
He said as at Wednesday, July 8, 2015 the APC has not been able to access the materials since they arrived Abuja, with the July 20, 2015 deadline for the completion of the inspection fast approaching.
“The objective of the delay tactics employed by Mr. Okojie on behalf of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is to prevent the APC candidate from using the evidence to effectively prosecute his case at the election tribunal,” Mr. Iyanam said.
APC also accused the Head of the Legal Services department of the commission at the headquarters and in the state, of working against the party.