By Harris-Okon Emmanuel
Former Secretary to Akwa Ibom State Government, Sir Etekamba Umoren, has expressed optimism that Senator Godswill Akpabio would reclaim the Akwa Ibom North West Senatorial seat at the tribunal.
The former Senate Minority leader, a candidate of All Progressives Congress scored 83,158 votes, while the former deputy governor, Dr Chris Ekpeyong, of the Peoples’ Democratic Party, polled a total of 118,215 to beat him.
Akpabio, however, approached the tribunal on March 16, 2019, to challenge the results of the February 23rd National Assembly elections in the district, which he said was rigged by the PDD in connivance with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
Umoeren, a close ally of the former governor said, ‘’Everybody is saying that Senator Godswill Akpabio won the election, except INEC. There is incontrovertible evidence to prove that Senator Akpabio won the election. Results collated from the field clearly showed that Akpabio won in all the eleven wards of the Essien Udim Local Government, but where APC won results were cancelled.
“APC candidates won at the fields and collation centres but lost in the process of declaring the results by INEC officials, this is unacceptable to us. We have all the evidence and I want to assure you that Senator Akpabio will reclaim his mandate at the tribunal. We have confidence in the tribunal to do the right thing”.
Ekpenyong in his reaction stated that he would not lose sleep over the petition filed by Akpabio at the tribunal, as he was ready to defend the mandate given to him by the people of the district.
He urged his supporters to “remain calm as your mandate has been rescued by the divine arrangement for peace, development and even spread of the dividends of democracy to thrive”.
He added: “You should not be afraid of Akpabio, your mandate is secured in me. The God that allows your votes to be counted will stand by us to get justice at the tribunal and in various courts. We are ready to defend the will of the people of Akwa Ibom North West,(Ikot Ekpene) senatorial district at all times”.