Some months ago, a staff of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Akwa Ibom State, Mr. Ejike Nwankwo, was arrested by the police on the grounds that he was found with four (4nos) Smart Card Readers (SCRs).
The Police detained the said staff for about four days before they contacted the Commission to enquire whether he was in lawful possession of the Smart Card Readers. Before they contacted the Commission, a picture of Mr. Nwankwo was taken with the SCRs on display and sent to the Akwa Ibom State Chapter of the APC. As usual, the APC latched onto the incident and went to town with a story that Mr. Nwankwo was leading a team of technicians employed by the Resident Electoral Commissioner for Akwa Ibom State, Mike Igini “to help him valid(sic) doctored 2019 elections in Akwa Ibom State”. To lend the story some credibility, they claimed the SCRs were “recalibrated” and that Mr. Nwankwo who was actually arrested at about 3:00pm was arrested by 2:00am on a Sunday! This story was given the widest possible publicity in the social and mainstream media.
The Commission promptly issued a statement to the effect that Mr. Nwankwo, a staff of the ICT Department of the Commission was in lawful possession of the SCRs. The four SCRs had no data in them and were used in the training of ad-hoc staff during the elections. In any case, the Commission explained that it was unreasonable to suggest that four SCRs out of the over 3,000 used during the elections could have been manipulated in anyway, to affect the process or outcome of the elections or the matters at the tribunals.
This statement was dismissed by the APC and their hirelings as afterthought in subsequent commentaries. As in other instances, the SCR incident was conclusive proof that Igini had committed electoral heist “having supervised the conduct of the worst elections ever in the history of Akwa Ibom State”. Instead of focusing on their cases at the tribunal, it was another opportunity to impugn the integrity of the REC and dismiss the elections as a fraud.
The Commission wishes to inform the reading public that the police have, after over two months, concluded their investigations into the case and have issued a report which exonerates Mr. Ejike Nwankwo and vindicates the Commission.
We advise the APC in the State, to avail itself of a copy of the Police Report. We are under no illusion that it will moderate their predilection to assail the reputation of the Resident Electoral Commissioner.
No one should expect those without integrity to recognize or appreciate the virtue in someone else. It is reasonable, however, to hope that the report will remind them that the Commission had since concluded the 2019 General Elections and that whatever is left of the exercise is at the various tribunals.