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Akpabio, Umahi win APC senatorial ticket

By Isaac Job, Charles Onyekwere

The immediate past Minister of Niger Delta Affairs and presidential aspirant, Senator Godswill Akpabio, and Governor David Umahi of Ebonyi State have emerged as the Senatorial flag bearers for Akwa Ibom North West and Ebonyi South Senatorial district on the platform of All Progressives Congress(APC) for the 2023 general elections respectively.

At the Senatorial primary held Thursday night in Ikot Ekpene Local Council in Akwa Ibom State, the Returning Officer, Bunmi Moleye, announced that out of the 512 accredited delegates, Akpabio polled 478 votes while DIG Ekpo Udom (Rtd) and Sir Joseph Akpan scored 3 and 1 votes respectively. A similar exercise was held on May 28, which saw DIG Ekpo Udom (Rtd) as the party’s candidate but was later nullified following petitions of alleged security infractions.

The state chairman of the party, Sir Stephen Ntukekpo, who addressed the people before the nomination, said the National Working Committee of the party mandated him as the chairman to conduct a rerun of the election yesterday adding that he duly informed the aspirants concerned of the exercise. He said, ” almost a week ago, a similar exercise was conducted here and as a state chairman, I received a letter from the National Working Committee, indicating with strong words that there are some sufficient and profound infractions in the Akwa Ibom North West Senatorial district.

“They mandated us to conduct the rerun exercise today, on that note permit me to introduce the committee members carefully selected by the National Working Committee. The five-man committee is led by Sir Sylvester Okonkwo as the chairman. We have about three aspirants in this exercise and they have been informed about the exercise of today and they are: Joseph Akpan, DIG Ekpo Udom, Obongemem Ekperikpe Ekpo, Godswill Obot Akpabio.”

One of the aspirants, Ekperikpe Ekpo, however withdrew his aspirations and drummed support for Godswill Akpabio even as he urged his delegates to vote Akpabio whom he described as his father. Today, my father(Akpabio) has joined the race. I plead with all my delegates to identify with him as I return all the delegates to vote for Senator Godswill Akpabio. With that, I have withdrawn my aspiration to the Senatorial seat,” he said.

Meanwhile, DIG Ekpo Udom(rtd) as well as Sir Joseph Akpan boycotted the primary and have not yet made public the reasons for their action.

Senator Akpabio while making a remark after his victory said, “I thank all the delegates across the Senatorial District for finding me worthy to represent you in the Nigerian Senate. I was the only senator ever to do the kind of empowerment I did from market to water projects, electrification, even road construction, I did all as a senator, and I promise to do more. I pray that you all shall live long to enjoy the fruits of your labour.”

It was gathered that Observers from INEC and representatives of NWC as well as the Chairman, APC Primaries Appeal Committee, Sunday Ewoleye, were present at the primary rerun. But stakeholders in the Senatorial District have kicked against the emergence of Akpabio in the 2023 senatorial elections.

A youth leader, Mr Udoma Idiong, said it is the turn of former “Abak five” comprising five local government areas in the senatorial district to take their turn for the senate seat. He said Akpabio must wait for their turn for equity and justice to other local government areas in the senatorial district.

Similarly, Umahi contested the presidential primary of the APC but lost to Bola Tinubu at the party’s convention in Abuja.

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Umahi’s younger brother, Chief Austin Umahi, had emerged as the winner of the election two weeks ago.

The party cancelled the senatorial primary election for Ebonyi South and rescheduled it for Thursday night.

The rescheduled Ebonyi South APC Senatorial primary election was held at Afikpo North Local Government Council, with Governor Umahi clinching the party’s ticket.

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