…As APC withdraws from suit against INEC’s exclusion of Akpabio’s name
Embattled former Minister of Niger Delta, Senator Godswill Akpabio’s claim of winning the Akwa Ibom North West (Ikot Ekpene) Senatorial District ticket is not only laughable but ridiculous, the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, has declared.
Speaking on “The Morning Show”, an Arise TV news and current affairs breakfast program on Monday, INEC’s Resident Electoral Commissioner for Akwa Ibom State, Barr Mike Igini said, it is the height of irresponsibility for the former Minister to fraudulently claim he emerged through a rerun election.
As far as INEC is concerned, Akpabio was neither a Senatorial candidate nor did he emerged as the APC Senatorial flagbearer in any primary monitored by INEC as required by law, he noted.
According to Igini, it is shameful that Akpabio can parade himself as a Senatorial candidate in an election that was successfully conducted and concluded on May 27, 2022 where DIG Udom Ekpoudom emerged, accusing the former Minister of taking his impunity a step further by tagging his illegality a rerun.
“Look, we are election managers, we know the meaning of rerun. A rerun election presupposes a previous election. And in a rerun election, the Supreme Court is very clear, it can only take place among those who were a part of the first exercise and Akpabio was never part of the exercise”, he stated
The REC stated that based on the outcome of the valid APC Senatorial primary monitored by the Commission, of which the report was written and sent to INEC’s National Headquarters in Abuja, Dr Ndem Udoudo Ndem won the Akwa Ibom North East Senatorial primary while Udom Ekpoudom (Rtd DIG) is the legitimate winner of the Akwa Ibom North West Senatorial primary while no primary took place in Akwa Ibom South. By this, the APC has not filed any candidate for Eket Senatorial District come 2023.
The INEC REC also clarified that in spite of Akpabio’s boasting that he has INEC in Abuja in his pockets and can therefore unilaterally substitute candidates as he pleases, INEC recognizes only candidates who emerged from primaries the Commission monitored and by implication, Jimbo Clement, Uwemedimo Umoh, Dr Victor Ukpong, Kingsley Edoho, Ntuk Emmanuel and Sunday Joseph are the validly nominated APC House of Representatives candidates for Abak/Etim Ekpo/Ika, Itu Ibiono, Etinan/Nsit Ubium/Nsit Ibom, Eket/Onna/Esit Eket/Ibeno, Ikot Abasi/Mkpat Enin/Eastern Obolo and Ukanafun/Oruk Anam Federal Constituencies.
On the crisis engulfing the State Chapter of the APC which has resulted in the emergence of two factions, Igini said based on the outcome of the APC State Congress held on October 16, 2021, INEC recognizes Mr. Austin Ekanem as the State Chairman of the party who won with 1278 votes while Akpabio’s backed imposter scored 006.
He explained that in line with the impunity Akpabio is known for, the former Minister masterminded the forgery of the original results and altered the result so that the candidate who scored 006 later scored 1006 while that of Mr Ekanem’s was falsified to read 278 instead of 1278, and with the forged document, the criminality was taken to court where they fraudulently got a judgement that Ntukekpo won the election.
He noted that though the process of conducting the primary or congress of political parties are the exclusive right of the parties, INEC’s duty is only to monitor and write a report, but that the report of the Commission has consequences if due process was not followed.
“Our report can be very decisive. It cannot be ignored”, he warned.
The INEC REC noted with dismay that despite a Court of Appeal ordered Stay of Execution, the APC National Chairman went ahead to swear in Ntukekpo as State Chairman in flagrant disregard of the Court order.
He declared that as far as INEC is concerned, the APC did not conduct any Governorship primary in Akwa Ibom and till date, neither Akpabio or his faction have been able to name the Abuja INEC officials who monitored the illegal midnight primary that allegedly produced Mr Akan Udofia as Akwa Ibom APC’s Governorship candidate.
In a related development, Senator Akpabio is alleged to have forged another set of documents to file a case at a Federal High Court, Abuja, against INEC for excluding his name from the list of candidates for the 2023 general elections.
The suit which was filed with the intention to compel INEC accept him as a Senatorial candidate and include his name on the ballot suffered a major setback when the APC National Chairman withdrew from the case.
“Trouble started when words got to Adamu that the documents filed in court were forged and that the Chairman was in for an embarrassment of monumental proportion that will expose both the National Chairman and the party to ridicule”.
“The moment the APC National Chairman was drawn to the fact that Akpabio has once more approached the court with forged documents in his so called “Enforcement Suit”, the party had to withdraw. I can tell you authoritatively that Akpabio is on his own with the suit. He has caused more than enough damage to the APC in Akwa Ibom State and we can’t aid him to wreck more havoc than he has already done” said an NWC member who did not want his name in print.