BY Uche Amunike
The Akwa Ibom State wing of the All Progressives Party, APC, has insisted that the Independent National Electoral Committee should announce the name of the former Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio as the APC senatorial candidate for the Akwa Ibom North-West District.
Speaking through a statement released in Uyo on Saturday, the Chairman, APC Media Committee, Mr Iniobong John, made this position clear, while giving full assurance that there was no reason for anyone to be alarmed or worried because their candidate , Godswill Akpabio will be elected senator for Ikot Ekpene (Akwa Ibom North- West), come 2023.
Recall that in June, INEC released a statement where an explanation was given by the commission as to why Godswill Akpabio’s name was missing from the list of candidates published for representing them at the senate.
Udom Ekpoudom, a retired Inspector General of Police emerged as APC candidate for Akwa Ibom North West during the Senatorial Primary election monitored by the commission. The APC however submitted Godswill Akpabio’s name to take that position, while also submitting Senate President Ahmad Lawan’s name to replace that of Bashir Machina who was also chosen by INEC to represent Yobe North senatorial district.
INEC, has however issued a statement by her spokesperson, Festus Okoye,
explaining that the Commission is funtus officio in both cases and therefore advised aggrieved parties to go to court for redress.
Godswill Akpabio resigned last minute on June 8 when he chose to step down for Bola Tinubu during the APC Presidential Primary election held in Abuja. Twenty-four hours after his resignation, he claimed that he emerged winner for Akwa Ibom North-West conducted by a faction of APC in the state. This was however, not accepted by the Akwa Ibom State INEC as they did not recognise the primary election that produced Godswill Akpabio.
The Resident Electoral Commisioner in Akwa Ibom State, Mike Igini on his part, stated during a television interview last week, that as far as Godswill Akpabio’s case was concerned, the train had since left the station and the electoral process had moved on, leaving him behind. He maintained that the commission only recognized Mr Ekpoudom and not Mr Akpabio as their bonafide APC candidate.
He reiterated in a statements released on Saturday that the commission only stands by the reports submitted to it by state offices, concerning candidates of political parties.
As it stands, Godswill Akpabio’s dream of returning to the Senate in 2023 might not come true anymore, unless he challenges and wins INEC in court.
The projected battle between Akpabio and the former National Secretary of the APC, Akpanudoedehe has divided the APC into two factions over the control of the party’s structure in the state.
Mr Akpanudoedehe eventually defected to the New Nigeria Peoples Party, where he secured the party’s governorship ticket after he was outmanoevered in the governorship election by Mr Akpabio’s faction.