Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio, has declared that the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Mike Igini, would not be fair to the All Progressives Congress, APC, in the senatorial rerun.
The Minister said that with Igini as the umpire in the election, APC cannot be victorious, because, according to him, the INEC chief hates the party.
Akpabio also maintained that having taken higher national responsibilities as a Minister, he cannot be a candidate in Akwa Ibom South West Senatorial rerun.
The Appeal Court in Calabar, the State capital, had ordered a rerun election to be conducted only in Essien Udim local government area.
The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, in Akwa Ibom State is insisting that it was too late for the former Senate Minority Leader to withdraw from the race.
In a statement signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Anietie Ekong, and made available to reporters on Monday, the Minister declared his support for a former member of the House of Representatives, Ekperikpe Ekpo, who the APC picked as his replacement.
The statement added, “APC had, through the National Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole and the then acting national secretary, Victor Giadom, in compliance with the requirement for 45 days notice to be given for the substitution of candidates, written to INEC chairman to submit Ekpo’s name as Akpabio’s replacement in the election. This was acknowledged by INEC.
“Having withdrawn from the contest to face higher national responsibilities, we caution political jobbers to desist forthwith from their planned smear campaigns against Akpabio and unnecessarily heating up the polity.
“Akpabio will have no choice than to invoke the full weight of the law against anyone who engages in any plot to smear his name through sponsored, fabricated petitions. A word is enough for the wise.”
“We have no faith in Igini. Igini is a compromised official and avowed enemy of APC. We are distraught and doubtful of a change of posture and therefore cautious to go into a fresh election while Igini remains the REC.
“Only a foolish survivor would ask the same hired assassin to extract the bullet from his body,” he said.