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2023: Group condemn Akpabio’s alleged illegal substitution for Ikot Ekpene Senatorial District race
…Urges INEC to disqualify ex Minister
Attempts by former Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio, to get himself replaced as the All Progressives Congress, (APC) candidate for Ikot Ekpene Senatorial District (Akwa Ibom North West) has been described as illegal and unconstitutional, the Ikot Ekpene Senatorial District Professionals, (IESDP) have declared.
This comes on the heels of Thursday’s alleged substitution of Hon Ekperikpe Ekpo’s name as the Ikot Ekpene Senatorial District APC candidate for the 2023 general elections.
The group said while it is in Akpabio’s hereditary nature to be associated with everything illegal, his latest move to manipulate the electoral process must not be condoned by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC.
“Senator Godswill Akpabio we all know never bought the APC Senatorial Expression of Interest or Nomination form. It is an open secret that he attempted to run for the presidency before he withdrew at the eleventh hour. While it is normal for the APC to be fundamentally corrupt in bypassing its own laws and electoral guidelines by substituting Hon Ekperikpe Ekpo’s name for Godswill Akpabio who never participated in any of the Senatorial primaries by either of the two APC factions in the state, the world is watching to see INEC’s decision on this uncommon desperation and illegality”.
“We call on the INEC Chairman, Prof Mahmood Yakubu, to rise to the occasion to ensure that the electoral commission is not a party to this charade. If no one is presumed not to be above the law, INEC must prove that it is truly independent and not a stooge of Senator Akpabio by disqualifying the former Minister should his party goes ahead with the farce of nominating him as a Senatorial candidate when it is obvious he never stood for nomination for the Ikot Ekpene Senatorial District APC primaries”, Engr Bassey Akpan, spokesperson of the group declared.
It could be recalled that Senator Godswill Akpabio participated in the just concluded APC presidential primary where he stepped down for Alhaji Bola Tinubu at the Eagle Square in Abuja.
But on Thursday, the former Akwa Ibom State Governor and former Senator who lost his 2019 Senate return bid to incumbent Senator Chris Ekpeyong is alleged to have lobbied the APC National Working Committee, NWC, to remove the name of Hon Ekperikpe Ekpo who won the factional Senatorial primaries to enable him (Akpabio) contest the 2023 Senatorial election.
Reacting to the development, a public affairs analyst, Mr Ekomobong Peter said while it is within the right of Senator Akpabio to aspire to any office he so wishes, his desperation to deny Abak Etim Ekpo Ika Federal Constituency the opportunity to produce a Senator which they have not produced since independence is one issue that may work seriously against him if he decides to throw his hat into the ring.
“Senator Godswill Akpabio had the first taste of defeat in 2019. His greatest problem is the quality of advice he gets from those surrounding him. If he decides to present himself to be beaten twice in 2023, the choice is his to make but I can assure you his defeat in 2023, that is if INEC does not disqualify him from contesting in the first place will so demystify him that he will never remain the same again”, he submitted.