By Sunday Bassey
Uyo – The All Progressives Congress (APC) House of Reps candidate for Itu/Ibiono Ibom Federal Constituency, Edet Ikotidem, says the major challenge of the Presidential and National Assembly polls in the state is security.
He said the lack of security personnel in some polling units was the reason political thugs were able to snatch ballot boxes.
The candidate told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that in his unit in Ibiono Ibom that thugs would have hijacked their ballot boxes if not for youths in the area.
“The election started well until unknown youths came and hijacked the ballot boxes.
“The village youths eventually caught up with them and retrieved the boxes.
“Their attempt was bold because we had no security at the units. This is replicated at some other units that lacked security during the polls,” he said.
He lamented that the APC-led Federal Government conducted one of the best elections but it was invaded by opposition forces in Akwa Ibom.
Ikotidem said that they had reported to INEC but the commission was not forthcoming.
He alleged that those who made attempts to run away with the ballot boxes were agents of the opposition.
“Generally, there have been a lot of thuggery, intimidation and maiming of supporters,” he said.
He called on INEC to cancel the election in the area because it was full of malpractices.
However, the INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) for the state, Mr Mike Igini, who confirmed the pockets of ballot boxes snatching in state, also agreed that security was a major challenge in the conduct of elections in the state.
Igini said that the commission would cancel elections in units where ballots were tampered with.