From Joe Effiong, Uyo
More troubles seem to be in the offing for the former governor of Akwa Ibom State, Sen Godswill Akpabio, as the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) for Akwa Ibom State, Mr Mike Igini, has dismissed the primary that gave victory to him as “Nollywood fantasy.”
After stepping down to Ahmed Tinubu at the APC presidential primaries in Abuja, Akpabio had returned home to participate in a repeat primary for Akwa Ibom North West senatorial ticket and was declared the winner with 478 votes, beating the closest rival, DIG Udom Ekpoudom, who was awarded only three votes in absentia.
Ekpodum had come out to dismiss the primary as a sham and said the earlier version conducted on May 27, in which he won was the authentic primary and that he remains the only bona fide APC senatorial candidate for Akwa Ibom North West (Ikot Ekpene) senatorial district.
To worsen issues for the former Minister for Niger Delta Affairs, Igini has now also come out to rubbish the primary saying that Akpabio only conducted the primary for himself, by himself and won by himself.
The REC who spoke on a radio programme in the state said. ”By virtue of Section 31 of the 2022 Electoral Act, the only way somebody can be replaced in any form is through withdrawal by an individual or death. The law is saying that those who have emerged at all levels up to the presidential level, you can decide that you are no longer interested. You can write an application signed by yourself, delivered to your party who will now deliver it to INEC. But nobody can shave the political head of another person in his or her absence.
“The report of the Akwa Ibom North West Senatorial District APC primary as submitted to INEC headquarters in Abuja is final. It is concluded. The train has left the station. The timeline is clear. All those who are in politics should go and study the 2022 Electoral Act very well. I hear people talking about the substitution. If you look at Section 31 and Section 34 of the Electoral Act, those of you who are still carrying the old idea of the 2010, 2012 Electoral Act in your head, thinking you can substitute willfully, it is no longer so.
“Number two is only in the case of death. Even at that, there will now be a fresh primary. This is the new law. So, what we are seeing going on is clearly a misnomer.”
Igini said that a rerun could only be conducted among those who participated in the first senatorial election of May 27, 2022, adding that the senatorial primary for Akwa Ibom North West Senatorial District was neither cancelled, nullified nor inconclusive as mischievously reported.
“The question is: Senator Godswill Akpabio, was he an aspirant on the list on the 27th when the election for the Akwa Ibom North West Senatorial District was conducted? He was not there. We all know that he has been a presidential aspirant up to the last day of the APC convention in Abuja. That was what he participated in.
“To now say that an individual will conduct a primary for himself, by himself, won by himself, oh my God! We are ridiculing our democracy. We are showing to the world that we don’t have a system. We are showing that we are a permissive society; that indeed the rule of law means nothing in our country. As at the time the INEC report was written, Godswill Akpabio was not an aspirant. We didn’t write a report because of Akpabio as some people are just talking nonsense”, he declared.
Igini said the clarification became necessary in view of some persons trying to bring INEC’s name to controversy and calling him names so as to demonize him for doing his job in line with the rule of law.
“INEC does not conduct party primary elections. All we do is just one per cent. That one per cent can be decisive in the sense that we cannot see something to be white in the morning and then in the afternoon it is black. Such a day will never happen in our lifetime in the service of our country,” he stressed.