By Chioma Onuegbu, Uyo
A presidential aspirant on the platform of the All Progressives Congress, APC in the just concluded primary and the immediate past Minister for Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio, has emerged the winner of Akwa Ibom North-West senatorial primary.
It was gathered that he emerged during a re-run primary conducted Thursday night June 9, 2022, at the Godswill Akpabio Empowerment Centre in Ikot Ekpene local government area.
The first party primary conducted on May 28, 2022, for the senatorial district was cancelled following security infractions during the exercise.
Akpabio who stepped down for Alhaji Ahmed Bola Tinubu during the APC presidential primary at the Senatorial primary polled a total of 478 votes, while Sir Joseph Akpan scored only one vote, the former Deputy Inspector General of Police Ekpoudom who initially won the first primary this time scored three votes.
However, out of a total of 540 delegates, 512 were accreditated to vote while eleven votes were voided.
Speaking shortly after he was declared the winner, Senator Godswill Akpabio thanked the delegates for their support and for finding him worthy to fly the flag of the party for the 2023 election.
He said: “I thank the Akwa Ibom North-West senatorial district for finding me worthy to be given another opportunity to contest for senatorial seat in the Senate. I recall when you gave me the first mandate from 2015 to 2019.
” I recall that there is no Senator ever that did the kind of empowerment I did for you. I know a lot of projects were done across the ten local government areas, from markets to water projects, to electrification project, to building of classroom blocks,”
In his remarks earlier, the State APC Chairman, Mr Stephen Ntukekpo said he was directed by the party at the national level to carry out the re-run, and cited infractions in the first primaries as the reason for the re-run.
“There was some infractions in the primaries held about some weeks ago and I was directed by the National Working Committee to carry out a re-run.
“We have about five aspirants in this exercise. They were all informed and are fully aware. The aspirants are Sir Joseph Akpan, DIG Ekpo Udom, Obong Emem Ekperikpe Ekpo, and Senator Godswill Akpabio,” Ntukekpo
One of the aspirants Obong Emem Ekperikpe Ekpo announced that he was stepping down for Akpabio.
He said, “The first primaries took place on May 28th and all of you were there. Today, our Father has joined the race. I, Obong Emem Ekperikpe Ekpo, former member of the House of Representatives, a son of this senatorial district, I plead with all my delegates to identify with our father, and I return all the delegates to vote for him.
“I don’t think we should do anything to undermine the person God has given to us as a leader. The person is Senator Godswill Obot Akpabio. I call all my delegates once again to support him. With that, I have withdrawn my aspiration to the Senatorial seat”.
The five-man committee to monitor the primaries was led by the Chairman, Sir Sylvester Okonkwo, Secretary, Alhaji Salisu Isa, and Mrs Bunmi Imole, who was the returning officer, among others, as well as officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission.