The Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio, has pulled out of the forthcoming Akwa Ibom North West senatorial rerun election.
Akpabio who was a former Minority Leader of the Senate, in a letter addressed to the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Adams Oshiomhole, said the decision was due to huge responsibility now placed on him as Minister.
He said that he cannot afford to jettison a critical national assignment given to him by President Muhammadu Buhari in pursuit of a rerun election.
He urged the party to inform the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), is his withdrawal from the race in line with Sections 33 and 35 of the Electoral Act, 2010, and submit a replacement to run in his stead.
It could be recalled that a Court of Appeal, in November ruled that a rerun election should be held in some parts of Ikot Ekpene Senatorial District.
Akpabio had challenged the declaration of Senator Chris Ekpenyong, the candidate of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as the winner of the February 23rd election.
Akpabio in the letter urged the national chairman of APC to prevail on the chairman of INEC, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, to redeploy the State Electoral Commissioner (REC) in Akwa Ibom State, Mr. Mike Igini, to allow for a free and fair rerun elections.
Akpabio in the letter dated 2nd of December, 2019, said: “I wish to recall that I was the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) at the Akwa Ibom North-West Senatorial District Election held on the 23rd day of February, 2019.
“Upon the declaration of Christopher Ekpenyong of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as the purported winner of the election by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), I challenged same at the National and State Houses of Assembly Election Petition Tribunal, Uyo, Akwa Ibom State.
“The Tribunal In a split decision by a majority of two to one (Honourable Justice W. O. Akanbi and Honourable Justice 0. D. Etubu) dismissed our Petition, while in a dissenting judgment delivered by Honourable Justice Hahz S. Tahlr, the petition was adjudged proven and all the reliefs sought were granted.
“Being dissatisfied with the decision of the majority judgment and upon the erudite points of law and conclusion contained in the minority judgment, we appealed to the Court of Appeal, Calabar Judicial Division which in a unanimous decision delivered on the 9th day of November, 2019, allowed our appeal and set aside the Judgment of the Lower Tribunal.
“I have taken into consideration the critical national assignment bestowed on me by Mr. President which will be of immense importance to Nigerians and in particular the indigenes of the Niger Delta region and have resolved to remain as a Minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to further discharge my contributions and services to our great fatherland.
“It is on the premise of the foregoing and particularly in line with the provisions of Section 35 of the Electoral Act, 2010 (as amended) that I want to formally and voluntarily withdraw my candidature as the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) for the forthcoming Court ordered Re-run Election for the Akwa lbom North-West Senatorial District.
“It will be inappropriate in the circumstance and pursuant to Sections 33 and 35 of the Electoral Act, 2010 (as amended) for the party to immediately communicate this withdrawal to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and forward to her the name of another candidate of the party to replace me at the Court ordered Rerun Election for the Akwa Ibom North-West Senatorial District.
“I want to seize this opportunity to thank our formidable party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), its leadership at the state and national levels for availing me the party platform and the immeasurable support I received throughout the period of the election and beyond.
“Mr. Chairman, may I advice that the National Working Committee of our party should reiterate our earlier plea to the chairman of Independent National Electoral Commission (lNEC) to redeploy Mr. Mike Igini (the Resident Electoral Commissioner) from Akwa lbom State, if a free and transparent re-run exercise is to be guaranteed,” Akpabio said.
BREAKING: Nine Imo Lawmakers Defect To APC
At least nine members of the Imo state house of assembly have defected to the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Colins Chiji, the speaker, read the defection letters of the lawmakers who are from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) and Action Alliance (AA) on Tuesday.
The house was not in session when the supreme court sacked Emeka Ihedioha as governor, replacing him with Hope Uzodinma.
Ihedioha, who was declared winner of the March election, is of the PDP while Uzodinma is a member of the APC.
The PDP defectors are Chyna Iwuanyanwu (Nwangele), Chidiebere Ogbunikpa(Okigwe), Heclus Okorocha (Ohaji/Egbema), Paul Emeziem (Onuimo).
Those from AA are Authur Egwim (Ideato north), Obinna Okwara (Nkwerre), Johnson Duru (Ideato South), and Ngozi Obiefule (Isu) while Ekene Nnodimele (Orsu) moved from APGA to APC.
More to follow…
BREAKING: Supreme Court Affirms Ortom’s Election As Benue Gov
The Supreme Court has upheld the election of Samuel Ortom of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) as Benue Governor.
A seven-man panel of the court, led by Justice Olabode Rhodes-Vivour, dismissed the appeal by Emmanuel Jime, who contested as the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Justice Sylvester Ngwuta, who read the lead judgment, held that the appellants (Jime and APC) failed to present any cogent reason to move the court to tamper with the concurrent decisions of the two lower courts, which both upheld Ortom’s election.
Another member of the panel, Justice Dattijo Mohammed, is reading the judgment in relation to the governorship dispute in Admawa State.
Buhari Reacts To Supreme Court Verdict On Kano, Plateau
President Muhammadu Buhari has reacted to Supreme Court judgement on governorship tussles in Kano and Plateau states.
President Buhari said it would have been disastrous for the All Progressives Congress (APC) if the party had lost Kano and Plateau states at the Supreme Court.
The president stated this in his congratulatory message to the APC over the apex court judgement that upheld the elections of Governor Abdullahi Ganduje and Governor Simon Lalong.
Buhari in a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, said: “I am glad this tortuous journey has ended in favour of the party and our governors.
“APC won the states and has proved it in court. It would have been a major blow if strategically important states like Kano and Plateau are lost.
“It has now become standard procedure for the opposition to challenge any poll or judgement that does not return its candidates. Election is good when they win.
“The opposite is the case if someone else emerges. But that is not the way it works. Democracy is not only about who wins or who loses, but also about the process. In disparaging every unfavourable result or judgement, they disparage the entire