The House of Representatives candidate for Eket Federal constituency on the platform of the All Progressive Congress, Mr Eseme Eyiboh, has said that claims by the Akwa Ibom State Resident Electoral Commissioner, Mr Mike Igini that the party in the state would not have governorship candidate during the 2023 general election were false.
According to him, the REC claims were anchored on the fact that INEC did not monitor the party’s gubernatorial primaries that produced Mr Akan Udofia as a candidate.
He made this disclosure while speaking with journalists during a press briefing tagged: ‘Fair Hearing’, in Uyo at the weekend.
It would be recalled that reports accredited to the State Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Mike Igini, said that the APC in the State will not have a governorship candidate on the election ballot in 2023.
Eyiboh noted that the failure of Igini to have personally observed the conduct of the governorship primaries could neither invalidate the process nor discredit the emergence of Udofia as the governorship candidate of APC in the state.
“It is not true that APC does not have a governorship and other candidates for the 2023 general elections.
“The Akwa Ibom chapter of the party had followed all stipulated procedures in the conducts of the various primaries. At this point in time, it is pertinent to seek answers to some specific questions.
“How could Mike Igini have gone to the Sheer Grace Arena for the governorship primaries of APC? Was that the official venue contained in the circular issued by the Stephen Ntukekpo-led executive?”
He explained that no law-abiding citizen disobeys a court judgement, except those who have no regard for the rule of law.
He recalled the judgement of the Abuja Federal High Court delivered by Honourable Justice Taiwo Taiwo on March 16, 2022, which declared Mr Ntukekpo as the Chairman of APC in Akwa Ibom State.
According to him, the 42-page judgement was explicit, a situation which he said made the former secretary of the party, Senator John Udoedehe to withdraw his appeal, which further led to its dismissal by the Appeal Court.
“What we should be interested in is, “Why should Mike Igini constitute himself into a Supreme Court to upturn a judgement which appeal was further dismissed by the appeal court?
“While it is the duty of a political party to notify INEC of its political activities, it cannot drag the Commission into coming to observe them. It is the responsibility of INEC to go to the designated venues to carry out their own duty.
“In the event that Mike Igini left the approved venue of the primaries to go to Sheer Grace Arena, you can then appreciate the fact that he may have been on a voyage of self-destruct”, he said.
On the emergence of Senator Godswill Akpabio as the candidate of the party for Akwa Ibom Northwest District, he stated that the National Secretary of the party, Senator Iyiola Onisore has issued a circular indicating that the party would re-conduct the primaries.
Eyiboh observed that the withdrawal of the winner of the previously conducted election, Mr Ekperikpe Ekpo, necessitated the reconduct and that “such could not have amounted to candidate substitution as falsely peddled by Mr Igini.”
“We should applaud and glorify Senator Godswill Akpabio for the strategic role he played in the emergence of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu as the presidential candidate of APC. Indeed, this shall bring enormous benefits for the entire Akwa Ibom people”.