Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has swept the Essien Udim re-run elections in Akwa Ibom North West Senatorial District.
This was as All Progressives Congress, APC, in the state had announced withdrawing from the race 12 hours to the re-run elections in Essien Udim local government area.
In a press conference on Friday evening at the party’s secretariat in Uyo, Mr Ini Okopido, the state Chairman of the party, said: “APC has withdrawn from the re-run election in Essien Udim local government area as we are dissatisfied with the conduct of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in the state.”
Okopido said both Senator Godswill Akpabio whose candidacy has been replaced with Ekperikpe Ekpo for the Senatorial District election and Nse Ntuen for Essien Udim State Constituency will not participate in the elections.
Announcing the Senatorial result at the INEC collation centre in Ikot Ekpene, Prof Robert Dode, the returning officer said that Ekpenyong polled 19,924 to defeat Senator Godswill Akpabio recorded 6,903 votes in Essien Udim.
In the House of Representatives’ re-run, Prof Idara Akpabio, the returning officer announced the Nsikak Ekong of PDP with 20,235 as the winner over APC’S Emman Akpan who scored a paltry 6,903 votes.
Earlier at Essien Udim local government collation centre, Prof Victor Ebong, the returning officer had announced the victory of Mr Esse Gerald Umoh of PDP, who polled 18,999 votes to defeat Mr Nse Ntuen of APC who scored 7,108 votes.
However, in a document signed by Mike Igini, the INEC resident commissioner in Akwa Ibom dated Saturday, January 25, 2020 shows that in the overall result, Akpabio who had withdrawn still got 83,820 votes while Ekpenyong scored 134,717 votes. Ekpenyong was declared the elected Senator for Akwa Ibom North West Senatorial district.
For Ikot Ekpene/Essien Udim/Obot Akara Federal Constituency, Igini said Nsikak Ekong of PDP got 45,366 votes while Emman Akpan of APC scored 22,757 votes, According he declared thta Ekong was elected.
In the race for Essien Udim State Constituency, the resident commissioner said Mr Esse Umoh of PDP who polled 18,999 votes against 7,108 votes by Mr Nse Ntuen of APC was declared elected.
Meanwhile, Dr Chris Ekpenyong, the Senator-elect for Akwa Ibom North-West Senatorial District, has described his victory and that of other PDP candidates in the court-ordered re-run elections in Essien Udim of Akwa Ibom State as an ‘act of God.’
Fielding questions from journalists shortly after being declared the winner by INEC, Ekpenyong thanked “God the giver of victory for seeing me through the entire political debacle since September 2, 2018. My victory has put agents of darkness to shame.”
He commended President Muhammadu Buhari for keeping to his promise of allowing free and fair re-run elections in Akwa Ibom State and urged the President to uphold these important values in order to strengthen and deepen democracy in Nigeria.
“I also specifically thank the security agencies and Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC headed by Mr. Mike Igini and his team in Akwa Ibom State for remaining resolute and not allowing blackmails to deter them from discharging their responsibilities fairly to the people of Akwa Ibom State.”
“I thank Governor Udom Emmanuel – Leader of PDP in Akwa Ibom State, the Chairman and entire leadership of PDP in the State, the Director-General and leadership of Divine Mandate Organization, the Leadership of Ubokutom Abasi 2019 Campaign Organization, party leaders, elders, women, youths of Ikot Ekpene Senatorial District, my sponsors and supporters both at home and in the Diaspora for standing by me.”
Senator Ekpenyong, once more, reiterated his commitment for effective representation at the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Also speaking with journalists at his home in Ikot Ekpene, Nsikak Ekong who won the rerun election for Ikot Ekpene Federal Constituency, appreciated his supporters for reinforcing their belief in him and his party, PDP and promised to continue in his promise of effective leadership for the constituency.
Ekong also commended President Buhari for keeping his promise of ensuring a level playing field for the re-run elections.
It will be recalled that at a press conference on Friday, Okopido had said the party has instituted a court process against INEC for failing to affirm the victory of Nse Ntuen as the member representing Essien Udim in the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly as ordered by the Appeal court.
“We have officially as a party withdrawn from the rerun elections in Essien Udim local government area. We are so dissatisfied with the conduct of INEC in Akwa Ibom State and we have withdrawn from the elections.
“As far as we are concerned, Igini has shown unprecedented bias against APC. He cannot give us a fair contest. We know he does not like APC in Akwa Ibom State and if he conducts any election in Akwa Ibom, the party will withdraw. Igini has not been fair to us as a state,” he said.
Earlier in a press conference in Uyo, Emmanuel Enoidem, the National Legal Adviser to the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, and the Chairman of the PDP election committee for Ikot Ekpene Senatorial District, accused Senator Godswill Akpabio of making plans to rig tomorrow’s elections.
According to him, “Akpabio is determined to massively rig the elections in aid of his party’s candidates for the House of Representatives and House of Assembly just to deceive the world that APC is popular in his Local Government Area.
“To achieve this, Senator Akpabio has procured the service of DIG Michael Igbizi (who flew on the same Ibom Air flight and indeed sat on the same seat with him yesterday) whose intention is to reenact the roles played by AIG Musa Kimo during the last elections.”
Enoidem urged journalists, civil society groups and observers both local and international to witness the elections in Essien Udim, adding “We advise them to come with sophisticated technology gadgets with simultaneous recording and transmitting devices as they tour the various units.”