The Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for Akwa-Ibom State, Mike Igini, has debunked social media insinuations made by a political group linking him to the forthcoming governorship election in Edo State.
In a statement on Thursday, the INEC REC clarified that he passed a night in Benin last Sunday on his way to his home state, Delta State, having travelled by road, specifically Aniocha North, to attend the funeral ceremony (23rd to 25th) of the mother of a long time close friend.
He stated that it was common knowledge to “any reasonable person” that, given what it takes to travel by road with all the security challenges and the fact that he arrived Benin City late that day, he couldn’t have left the state the same night.
Igini accused the Chairman, Edo State APC Media Campaign Council, John Mayaki of authoring the “libellous report” against him.
He noted that he returned to Lagos and not Benin on the night of August 25 as claimed by Mayaki who said he (Igini) was seen in company of two other persons to meet the State Governor and governorship candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Godwin Obaseki.
“Is it possible for an individual to be at two different location i.e Benin and Lagos the night? It is hoped that Mayaki will be able to present those images and other material evidence in court at the right time,” the INEC REC said.
Igini also stated that ordinarily, he would not have responded to such “barefaced lies, very absurd and nonsensical insinuations,” having heard worse things in the past over elections, where “political actors/election riggers that have little or no regard in their utterances for the institutional pillars of democratic society have continued to destroy institutions of state and personal reputation that people have built over the years.”
He thus cautioned that people should not continue to abuse the social media to put out information that are wholly incorrect about others. He wondered under what authority he would recruit those “imaginary youth corpers” that they are accusing him of when he is not a REC for Edo?
Furthermore, the INEC commissioner urged that such people should be mindful of people’s feelings and the sensitivity of the public.
He noted that “this unfortunate situation is a reflection of the low quality of people who are now involved in politics and how low political decorum have sunk in our society that one can no longer go through Benin and even dare to stop-over to see family members, all because of elections that one has no interest in its outcome?”
In addition, he averred that it was necessary to “disabuse the minds of innocent and decent people of Edo and all other citizens who may be confused in thinking that all members of decent society are unable to make the distinction between the decorum that high office demands from public officials and the scurrilous chatter of the political echo-chambers of politicians and their supporters.”
He added that “it is ridiculous” to associate him with such alleged unethical conduct, knowing that he had always condemned and initiated on-going disciplinary actions against staff and other ad hoc workers, some of whom have been dismissed, as well as other non staff who are to be arraigned in court for engaging in conducts that are capable of undermining the integrity of elections.