By Chioma Onuegbu, Uyo

THE immediate past minister of Niger Delta Affairs,. Senator Godswill Akpabio and retired
Deputy Inspector General of Police, Udom Ekpoudom of the All Progressives Congress, APC, have exchanged words over Akwa Ibom North West Senatorial ticket.

In a primary election conducted by a faction of the APC in the state that held at the Government Primary School Ikot Ekpene on May 27, 2022 Ekpoudom was declared winner of the Akwa Ibom Northwest Senatorial ticket.

Also after surrendering his presidential bid, Akpabio last Thursday during a re-run primary held by his faction emerged winner of the same APC Senatorial ticket.

Ekpoudom’s campaign organisation in a
statement titled, “Akwa Ibom North West Senatorial district APC ticket: Matters Arising”
made available to newsmen on Sunday in Uyo, described the purported re-run primary election held on Thursday June 9th by Akpabio’s led faction of APC as illegal and deceitful.

But reacting to the claim in a statement Sunday night, Senator Akpabio explained that the contraption that purportedly conducted the senatorial primary, where Ekpoudom, was declared a ‘winner’, was not known to law and the INEC, therefore, he couldn’t have won the party’s ticket.

A statement which was signed by Director General of Ekpoudom’s Campaign organisation, and a former deputy Speaker of Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly, hon. Uwem Udoma, Secretary General Obong Godwin Etokakpan and Director, Media & Publicity, Peter Udiong, insisted that Ekpoudom won’t relinquish the mandate given to him.

The statement reads in part: “Recall that Ekpoudom duly participated in the Akwa Ibom North West APC Senatorial primary election held on Friday, May 27, 2022, in line with the 2023 election timetable and Guideline of our Party.

“Succinctly, the primary election was properly monitored by INEC as constitutionally required and Ekpoudom, was declared winner and the party’s flagbearer.

“Sequel to the aforementioned, we want to state categorically and without any ambiguity, that at no time did our party, the APC put our candidate, on notice of any cancellation of the Primary election or that of conducting another senatorial primary for the Akwa Ibom North West Senatorial seat.

“We want to put it on record that the Mandate given to Udom Ekpoudom by the good people of Akwa Ibom North West Senatorial District remains sacrosanct and is judiciously guarded and protected.

“We hereby assure our party men and women and the good people of the Senatorial district that DIG Udom Udo Ekpoudom (Rtd), will under no circumstance, relinquish, withdraw or be substituted no matter the degree of pressure and inducement dangled by anyone.

“He believes in the mandate, and in the mandate, he shall stand to provide leadership and accelerate development for the Senatorial district.

“Most importantly, the purported “scam election’ held on Thursday, 9th June, 2022 at the Skills acquisition centre in Ikot Ekpene is nothing but illegal, deceitful, unconstitutional, and legally defective”

Reacting, Senator Godswill Akpabio, in a statement noted that the contraption that purportedly conducted the senatorial primary, where Ekpoudom, was declared a ‘winner’, was not known to law and the INEC, therefore, he couldn’t have won the party’s ticket.

The statement signed by Akpabio’s Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Jackson Udom, noted
“We have also read of how a self acclaimed ‘party member’ Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG), Udom Ekpoudom rtd, is laying claim to the senatorial ticket of the district, when he never took part in both the cancelled primary and the reordered primary.

“Udom Ekpoudom, is a bonafide and committed member of the Senator John James Akpanudoedehe Support Group, led by Mr Austin Ekanem.

“That contraption is not recognised by law, then national leadership of the APC, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), as well as the leadership of the Akwa Ibom State chapter of the APC.

“Therefore, that contraption that purportedly conducted the senatorial primary, where Udom Ekpoudom, was allegedly declared a ‘winner’, is not known to law and he couldn’t have been said to have won the party’s ticket, because you cannot build nothing on nothing”

The statement stressed that the authentic State leadership of Akwa Ibom party is led by Obong Stephen Leo Ntukekpo, and recognised by the INEC, the law and APC national leadership, therefore, all actions taken by him on the conduct of the party primaries at all levels, were known to law and remains the accepted position of leadership of the APC and the INEC.

It noted that a former member, House of Representatives, Rt. Hon Ekperikpe Ekpo, emerged winner of the Senatorial primary which was was conducted on 28th May, 2022 all over the country, and organised by Electoral Officers sent from the party’s headquarters.

“It was that same primary won by Hon Ekperikpe, that was later cancelled by the national leadership of the party citing, security infractions caused by hoodlums and miscreants who disrupted the exercise and a fresh primary ordered.

“At the fresh primary, DIG Udom Ekpoudom(rtd), Hon Ekperikpe Ekpo, Senator Godswill Akpabio and Engineer Joseph Akpan, all took part in the election. However, before the commencement of voting, Hon Ekpo, who won the cancelled election, voluntarily stepped down for Senator Akpabio.

“He there and then, called on all his supporters to cast their votes for Senator Akpabio. The reordered primary took place on the 9th of June, 2022, at the Skill Acquisition Centre, Ikot Ekpene, Akwa Ibom State.

“At the end of the election, Senator Akpabio, was declared winner and returned as duly elected candidate for the Ikot Ekpene Senatorial District on the APC platform.

“We therefore, advise DIG Udom Ekpoudom (rtd), to channel his annoyance of being placed on the off-side track of politics in the district, on the illegal contraption led by Austin Ekanem and not pollute the media space with falsehood of a non existing senatorial ticket, not being for sale. Nobody will buy a fake, illegal and non existing ticket”, the statement added.

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