APC withdraws from Akwa Ibom re-run poll

…INEC, Police promise credible elections, security in 11 states

The All Progressives Congress, (APC) in Akwa Ibom State said it would not participate in the re-run election scheduled for Saturday.

In a press conference on Friday in Uyo, State Chairman of the APC, Mr Ini Okopido said the party has withdrawn from the re-run election in Essien Udim local government area as it was dissatisfied with the conduct of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in the state.

Okopido said both Senator Godswill Akpabio whose candidacy has been replaced with Emem Ekperkpe for the Senatorial District election and Nse Ntuen for Essien Udim State Constituency would not participate in the elections.

He said the party had instituted a court process against INEC for failing to affirm the election of Nse Ntuen as the member representing Essien Udim in the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly.

“We have officially as a party withdrawn from the rerun elections in Essien Udim local government area. We are so dissatisfied with the conduct of INEC in Akwa Ibom State and we have withdrawn from the elections.

“As far as we are concerned, Igini has shown unprecedented bias against APC. We know he does not like APC in Akwa Ibom State and if he conducts any election in Akwa Ibom, the party will withdraw. Igini has not been fair to us as a state,” he said.

Barrister Mike Igini, a former activist is the Resident Electoral Commissioner in Akwa Ibom.

Meanwhile the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Akwa Ibom has accused the Niger Delta Affairs Minister, Senator Godswill  Akpabio of perfecting plans to rig the state and National Assembly rerun elections on Saturday.

National Legal Adviser of the PDP,  Mr. Emmanuel Enoidem said in Uyo that Akpabio was planning to replicate the ‘Warsaw’ violence he meted out during the last election.

Enoidem, who is also the chairman of the PDP election committee for Ikot Ekpene Senatorial District, said,  ” the ancient English proverb fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me will be put to test during the forthcoming court ordered rerun in Essien Udim Local Government Area”.

Meanwhile, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) said on Friday it would conduct credible elections in all the polling units where the court-ordered rerun elections would take place on Saturday.

The INEC National Commissioner and Chairman, Voter Education and Information Committee, Mr. Festus Okoye, stated this during a chat with journalists in Abuja.

The Commission will conduct the rerun elections in Abia, Akwa Ibom, Bauchi, Benue, Cross River, Imo, Kaduna, Kano, Niger, Ogun, and Sokoto States.

Okoye also said the elections would hold as planned in all affected areas.

He said: “The Commission is conducting court-ordered rerun elections in 28 Constituencies in 11 States of the federation.

“Six of the elections involve entire constituencies while 22 will take place in few polling units across the 11 states.

“The Commission has deployed sensitive and non-sensitive materials to the affected areas.

“The Commission has trained the ad-hoc staff and other categories of staff required for the conduct of smooth and transparent elections.

“We are determined to conduct credible elections in all the constituencies.”

Okoye added that INEC had engaged the political parties and the candidates on acceptable electoral behaviour.

Also, the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, has ordered new security arrangements in 11 states where rerun elections would be conducted on Saturday.

Supplementary elections will hold in 28 Federal and State constituencies covering one Senatorial District, 12 House of Representatives and 15 State Assemblies.

The police spokesman, DCP Frank Mba, disclosed in a statement in Abuja on Friday, that the Commissioners of Police in Abia, Akwa Ibom, Bauchi, Benue, Cross River, Imo, Kaduna, Kano, Niger, Ogun and Sokoto States, had been directed to facilitate hitch-free elections in their states.

They were also directed to ensure a level playing ground for all the candidates and parties in the elections.

“Similarly, personnel deployed have been strictly warned to abide by the laws guiding the conduct of officers on election duty,” the statement said.

Meanwhile, the IG has reiterated that police personnel deployed for the elections would be professional and apolitical in the discharge of their responsibilities.

He enjoined politicians and candidates standing in the elections as well as the electorates, to ensure strict conformity to the rule of law.

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