Operatives of the Cross River state police command have arrested a lecturer of the Department of Philosophy at the University of Calabar, Gabriel Agabi Akwaji, for impersonating an ad hoc official of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Dr. Dominic Abakedi.

Akwaji, who wore an INEC reflective jacket, was arrested at the collation centre in Okpoma, Yala Local Government Area of the state, with a fake Bi-Modal Voter Accreditation System, or BVA machine, during the presidential and national assembly polls held on Saturday, February 25.

The ad hoc official who was impersonated, Dr. Abakedi, was posted to the Yache ward of the Yala Local Government Area, but Akwaji claimed that Abakedi told him to represent him and execute the job.

Trouble began when the collation officer could not be found after elections concluded at 6:00 p.m. on Saturday. Mr. Akwaji is said to have arrived at the Okpoma, Yala Local Government Area headquarters at about 2:00 PM on Sunday in the company of chieftains of a political party after staying incommunicado since Saturday evening.

When his whereabouts were questioned, a scuffle erupted, with the Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, APC, in the State, Alphonsus Eba, Esq., engaging in a shirt-grabbing match with the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, Sunday EmalujI.

Thereafter, Mr. Akwaji was arrested and brought to the INEC Area Office in Ogoja, where he claimed he was asked by Dr. Abakedi to replace him.

A BVAS found in his possession with the following number, 09/18/10/012, was queried and showed that 216 voters were accredited, but the result sheets showed 250 votes cast.

The suspect was whisked to the Ogoja Area Command for further interrogation by the Criminal Investigation Unit.

Meanwhile, Zannah Shettima, the Commissioner of Police in charge of elections in the district, declined to comment on the situation and said he had not yet received a briefing.

Leave a Reply