The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has rejected Godswill Akpabio, former Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, as the senatorial candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) for Akwa Ibom Northwest Senatorial district for the 2023 general elections.
The INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner for Akwa Ibom State, Barrister Mike Igini, in a media interaction in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, clarified that Akpabio did not emerge through legal party primary election, stating that INEC does not recognize the former minister as a candidate.
The Akwa Ubom REC declared that the APC primary election for Akwa Ibom Northwest Senatorial district was won by retired Deputy Inspector General of Police, Udom Ekpoudom, but APC did not submit his name and credentials to the INEC. Igini explained Ekpoudom’s name was not published in the INEC’s lists of candidates because the APC did not submit his name and details to the commission.
Akpabio contested the APC presidential primary election in which he stepped down for Asiwaju Bola Tinubu at the party’s national convention in Abuja. before then, the senatorial primaries have been conducted in Akwa Ibom State and was won by DIG Udom Ekpoudom.
Igini maintained that the APC did not conduct governorship primary in Akwa Ibom State, and thus, has no candidate for the governorship election in 2023 in the state.
The INEC REC cleared the air to enlighten the people of the state of the political manipulations that led to the missing names of candidates in the state as the people embarked on protest in Uyo.
Even within the APC in Akwa Ibom State, some stakeholders, including Ita Enang, Special Adviser to President Muhammadu Buhari on Niger Delta Affairs, had declared that APC did not conduct primaries in the state, and may not have candidates for the 2023 general elections. They had protested the conduct of parallel primaries by different APC factions resulting to emergence of multiple candidates. Enang had berated Akpabio for hijacking the state APC.
The conflagration compelled another APC chieftain, john Akpanudoedehe, to dump the APC for the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP).