Some days ago, our party, like other members of the reading public, saw a letter infixed in the headed paper of Senator Godswill Akpabio attempting to convey the purported withdrawal of the Senatorial candidate of the All Progressives Congress candidate in Ikot Ekpene Senatorial District. Due to the cunning and comical nature of the dramatis persona, we had to wait for a reasonable time to be sure that he will not make his habitual volte face and claim that he didn’t write the letter or it was one of the skits in his newfound hobby of national comedy. Having not had any rebuttal either from him, his official media sources or his litany of online guttersnipes, we can now ascertain that the said letter emanated from the once revered former Governor, then-seemingly invincible Senate Minority Leader, recently defeated former Senator and now compensated and controversial Minister.
Our response to that joke taken too far is that the rerun is a court ordered election to complete an earlier started electoral exercise, which by the judgement of the court has been declared inchoate. The only way the APC can substitute a candidate is if the incumbent candidate dies a physical death, not a political death as that currently witnessed. Senator Akpabio was a party before the court and the order of the court is that he should go back for a rerun in Essien Udim- that’s an order of the court and as a lawyer, he should obey that order and submit himself for confirmatory defeat. The purported withdrawal of the Senatorial candidate is a clear face-saving attempt by Chief Akpabio, in a bid to avoid a recurring defeat by Senator Chris Ekpenyong, whom he had earlier boasted was not a match for him. But like it’s common knowledge, pride goes before a fall. Senator Ekpenyong Defeated Chief Akpabio in 8 local government areas with a large margin of more than 38,000 votes-which is Akpabio’s present nightmare. Post election, he went to the tribunal and characteristically nearly turned it into a circus and ended up celebrating a minority judgement of the tribunal. Thereafter he approached the Court of Appeal claiming that elections were free and fair and requested that the illegal votes he procured in Essien Udim through unmitigated intimidation and unimaginable violence be recognized and counted for him so that he can be declared the winner and returned elected. The court discountenanced his claims and refused to grant his request, instead it cancelled the entire election in Essien Udim LGA ordering a rerun. The court described what happened in Essien Udim as a travesty of electoral process, “Pervasive hooliganism, unparalleled violence, abduction of poll officials ”
On the funny claim that he has a patriotic task to perform at the Federal Executive Council as Minister, which is why he wants to withdraw from the race, the question is, when did he realize this duty which he claims he owes the Niger Delta? Why did he not withdraw before the Appeal court judgment? If the Court of Appeal had granted the reliefs he sought for, would he have still withdrawn?
Our party seriously frowns at the clowning attempts by Senator Akpabio to derail the electoral process in Ikot Ekpene Senatorial District, as we have on good authority that he intends to use the judicial process to prevent the conduct of the rerun, by institutions court actions to compel INEC to accept his purported withdrawal- this suit he intends to drag up to the Supreme Court if he loses. Senator Akpabio, who once boasted that he couldn’t lose an election should have been excited as he was earlier, to show the world that he cannot lose an election in his local government area. Why is he afraid of going for an election in his native Essien Udim?
We urge the Independent National Electoral Commission to treat the withdrawal letter of Senator Akpabio as a concession of defeat and hold that APC has no candidate in the forthcoming Senatorial rerun due next year. Additionally, we ask the commission to ignore and discountenance the shameless demand for the removal of Mike Igini as REC. This call is ill-motivated as he wants REC that will allow him the liberty to concoct results in Essien Udim during the rerun, as that is the only way he can win elections there.
Comrade Ini Ememobong
State Publicity Secretary
People’s Democratic Party
Akwa Ibom State
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