Mr Mike Igini, on Friday, bade farewell to the people of Akwa Ibom State as he retired as the state’s Resident Electoral Commissioner of the Independent Electoral Commission.
He said despite his exit, electoral standards would continue to be maintained in the state, adding that INEC had built a template for the maintenance of the electoral template in the state.
Igini, who stated this while addressing journalists at the INEC secretariat, Uyo, said despite death threats from politicians who wanted him to bend the rules for them to win elections, he stood his ground to reform the electoral process, which he recalled was badly battered before the 2019 polls.
He said his refusal to succumb to the wishes of some desperate politicians in the state pit him against some “dinosaurs,” who were not happy with him.
Igini stated, “My retirement from service is constitutional and I will hand over to the Administrative Secretary of INEC in Akwa Ibom State as I leave the state. I thank the media for giving meaning to the ballot through objective reportage
“INEC in Akwa Ibom State under my watch is very clear on the conduct of elections as directed by INEC at the national level and we are poised to deal with historical challenges as they concern electoral matters.
“Politicians in Akwa Ibom State are used to rigging, but I said no, that is why the dinosaurs are angry. Some believe that they can buy all the people all the time because of permanent interest, but Mike Igini has vowed that I can’t be bought with money.
“INEC workers in the state will continue to serve the people even at the risk of their lives because they are doing the right thing. Democracy will have no meaning if the rule of law is not totally embraced.
“All elements, who acted contrary to the rule of the Electoral Law in 2019, were duly punished, including INEC staff members. INEC has built electoral fireworks in Akwa Ibom State so that electoral template can be maintained.”
Igini recalled that in 2019, about 23 illegal polling units were discovered in the homes of some politicians in the state, adding that his quarrels with politicians started when he ordered that those polling units be relocated to open spaces.
“In 2019, some illegal polling units were identified in the homes of politicians in the state and I directed that such polling units be relocated to open places where people can vote under conducive atmosphere,” he added.