Joe Effiong, Uyo,
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has asked the independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to ignore, discountenance and treat as a concession of defeat the purported withdrawal of Senator Godswill Akpabio from the Akwa Ibom North West senatorial election.
Akpabio in his letter to the national chairman of the APC had announced his withdrawal for the rerun election which he sought up the count of Appeal, Calabar, citing having more important task as minister of Niger Delta which demands more responsibilities to the nation, more especially, the Niger Delta region, as reason.
He has asked the APC to nominate another person to replace him in the rerun election; even as he asked the party to impress on the chairman of INEC to redeploy the REC in Akwa Ibom State, Mr Mike Igini
But reacting the letter, the PDP through its publicity secretary in Akwa Ibom State, Mr Ini Ememobong, wondered when Akpabio suddenly realised his responsibilities to 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 If the Court of Appeal had granted the reliefs he sought for, would he have still withdrawn?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.” The party reasoned.
The PDP said the only the only way the APC could substitute a candidate is if the incumbent candidate dies a physical death, “not a political death as 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 The PDP said.