APC sends Akpabio’s replacement to INEC
THE political atmosphere of Akwa Ibom State had been calm since Wednesday after Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio of the All Progressives Congress, APC, withdrew from the Akwa Ibom North West senatorial rerun between him and Senator Chris Ekpenyong of the People’s Democratic Party, PDP.
Akpabio, in a letter dated December 2, 2019 to the APC National Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, said that he could not abandon his assignment as a minister in pursuit of a rerun election and urged the party to write INEC, in line with Section 33 and 35 of the Electoral Act, 2010, and submit a replacement to run in his place.
However, residents who have been following the controversial senatorial battle since inception and particularly supporters of the PDP are boastful that Akpabio pulled out of the rerun because he was afraid of being defeated again.
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Their thinking is however not unconnected with the insistence of Senator Akpabio and the APC on the removal of the Resident Electoral Commissioner, REC, of the state, Mr. Mike Igini to guarantee fair and credible poll.
Meanwhile, the body language of people of district also known Ikot Ekpene Senatorial zone and Ikot Ekpene federal constituency in particular shows that they feel settled by Senator Akpabio’s decision to withdraw from the rerun.
Even a source close to Senator Chris Ekpenyong, who spoke to Vanguard, three weeks ago, said that he was certain that Akpabio would not participate in the rerun.
Another source said that some stakeholders in the area prevailed on Akpabio not to run in the interest of the area and Akwa Ibom State. If he ran the area would lose the ministerial seat because he must resign to run. If he lost then he would be losing both the Ministerial and Senatorial positions, and be left without anything.
A civil servant from the Ikot Ekpene said that though he was not surprised following Akpabio’s silence since the Court of Appeal ruling in Calabar, he is equally happy that he took a better decision.
“If you noticed since the Appeal Court gave judgement and ordered that a rerun be conducted in the he has not made any public statement until yesterday (Wednesday) when he came up with the statement on his withdrawal. So I was not a surprised that he decided to pull out.”