The All Progressives Congress (APC) in Akwa Ibom State has rejected the creation of 39 electoral wards by the State Independent Electoral Commission (AKISIEC).
APC said the electoral umpire has no power to unilaterally create wards without recourse to existing laws and vowed to legally challenged the decision in court.
It described the exercise as “dubious, illegal and unilateral” and called on the people to disregard it.
In a statement on Thursday by it Publicity Secretary, Nkereuwem Enyongekere, the party said the constitution of Nigeria empowers only the Independent Electoral Commission to create wards, citing the Supreme court’s nullification of similar wards creation in Calabar, Cross River State, to buttress its position.
“In line with the resolution of the State Working Committee issued at the meeting of July 28, 2020, the All Progressives Congress Akwa Ibom State Chapter rejects in totality the dubious, unilateral and illegal creation of 39 Electoral Wards in the State by Akwa Ibom State Independent Electoral Commission as announced by its Chairman, Mr. Ikoiwak on Sunday, July 26, 2020.
“The Party therefore, calls on Akwa Ibom people to disregard this illegality, as the State has no such powers to create Electoral Wards.
“The Constitution of the Federal Government of Nigeria vests the power of creating wards only in Independent National Electoral Commission. The nullification of similar wards creation by the Supreme Court when it happened in Cross River State attests to our current position”the statement reads in part.
The party spokesman expressed surprise that such important issue of wards creation was not part of the agenda during the Stakeholders’ meeting convened by AKISIEC on Friday, July 17, 2020 to discuss the upcoming LG election saying such has exposed the sinister motives of umpire and PDP in the state.
He argued that even if the State is vested with such powers to create Electoral wards, it was constitutional for the state electoral umpire to conspire with the PDP in the State to create wards in total exclusion of other political parties, stakeholders and communities in the state
He said “During the stakesholders meeting in which all other political parties including APC were in attendance to discuss the upcoming 2020 local government elections in the State, the creation of additional Electoral Wards was not mentioned at all for discussion.
“The non inclusion of that on the agenda by the AKISIEC for deliberations exposes the sinister motives of AKISIEC and PDP led government of Governor Udom Emmanuel.
“With the upcoming Local Government Elections just around the corner, this impromptu creation of wards amounts to shifting the goal posts in the middle of the match and it is absolutely not acceptable to APC in Akwa Ibom State.
“APC as a Party, will use every constitutional means at its disposal to ensure that this illegality does not stand.
“We wish to advise all our party faithful to remain peaceful and law abiding in the face of this vexed development”.