A credible security source has disclosed that Governor Godswill Akpabio of Akwa Ibom State has perfected a series of plans to manipulate tomorrow’s presidential and legislative elections in his state in favor of President Goodluck Jonathan and other candidates of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
The source revealed that the governor has converted a guesthouse in the state’s newly constructed Government House along Willington Bassey Way, Uyo into an election operational base/situation room to coordinate the electoral plot. He said the governor had recruited some well-trained ICT experts to man the room.
All the PDP agents at polling units throughout the state have been given mobile phones. The highly paid agents have been instructed to use the phones to send text messages to the situation room disclosing the total number of accredited voters in the various polling units.
“Once they receive the number of accredited voters, the ICT experts at the situation room will allocate votes to political parties/candidates irrespective of the actual votes cast,” said our source. “They will then write fake results on the original result sheets which Governor Akpabio has obtained from the REC [Resident Electoral Commission].”
According to the source, the governor’s plan “will result in President Jonathan and other candidates of the PDP having between 95 and 100% of the votes.”
Mr. Akpabio has boasted on several occasions that Akwa Ibom State would give President Jonathan 100% of votes cast at the polls.
Our source also revealed that Governor Akpabio had bribed the Resident Electoral Commissioner Akwa Ibom, Austin Okogie, with N2 billion to persuade him to discard real results from the polling units and use the ones to be manufactured by the governor’s ICT experts. He said Mr. Okogie had demanded N2.5 billion for the deal, adding that Mr. Akpabio accepted on the condition that the balance of N500 million would be delivered tomorrow after polls close.
In a move seen as a strategy to cover his tracks, Mr. Okogie had refused to accredit local journalists in the state to cover the elections. He had made exceptions only for reporters working for the state-owned media houses. He accused local journalists in the state of working for the opposition and writing critical reports against him. “It was just this afternoon that he [Mr. Okogie] succumbed to pressure by the journalists and issued INEC tags to a few of them,” one of the reporters disclosed.
On March 24, 2015, the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state had petitioned INEC chairman, Attahiru Jega, accusing Mr. Okogie, amongst others, of lodging in Devok Hotel in Uyo which is owned by the governor’s wife, Ekaette Unoma Akpabio.
Our source disclosed that one state commissioner had raised the possibility that the fake results manufactured out of the situation room might not tally with the ones from polling units. However, another commissioner, Emmanuel Enoidem, who has been appointed by Governor Akpabio to oversee the running of the Situation Room, dismissed such fears. “Enoidem said the important thing is to get INEC to announce the results and that whoever is aggrieved can then go to court.”
Mr. Enoidem, who is a lawyer, was quoted as boasting that, if they could triumph at the Supreme Court today in the four-year legal battle by Frank Okon challenging the eligibility of Governor Akpabio’s selection as the candidate of the PDP in the 2011 governorship elections, the PDP would be able to defeat any legal challenges to the results generated in tomorrow’s elections.
Mr. Akpabio’s original plan, according to our source, was to clone permanent voter cards (PVCs), but the governor reportedly abandoned that option when INEC chairman, Mr. Jega, vowed that such attempts would be futile.
Mr. Akpabio is not new to electoral manipulation. He masterminded a crisis in the Nigerian Governors Forum (NGF) when he led a group of PDP governors who refused to recognize Governor Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers State as the NGF chairman even after Mr. Amaechi had polled 19 votes against 16 received by Governor Jonah Jang of Plateau State. Mr. Akpabio later emerged the pioneer chairman of a body of PDP governors.
Mr. Akpabio, who is known for extravagant spending of state resources, once openly confessed to rigging a senator from his area, Aloysius Etuk, into office.
Our source revealed that, if the plan succeeds tomorrow's election, then Mr. Akpabio would have no difficulty installing his self-anointed successor, Udom Emmanuel, when the governorship election holds on April 11, 2015.