Less than 12 hours to the rerun elections in Essien Udim local government area of Akwa Ibom state, the All Progressives Congress, APC, in the state has announced its decision to withdraw from the race.
It alleged a perceived bias of the electoral umpire, the Independent National Electoral Commission, (INEC) in the state.
In a press conference on Friday evening at the party’s secretariat in Uyo, the state Chairman of the party, Mr Ini Okopido said “APC has withdrawn from the re-run election in Essien Udim local government area as we are dissatisfied with the conduct of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC)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.
He 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“We have officially as a party withdrawn from the rerun elections in Essien Udim local government area. We are so dissatisfied with the conduct of INEC in Akwa Ibom State and we have withdrawn from the elections.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, the National legal Adviser to the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, and the Chairman of the PDP election committee for Ikot Ekpene Senatorial District, Brr. Emmanuel Enoidem 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 Locak Governement 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”.