The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Akwa Ibom state has revealed that the Niger Delta Affairs Minister, Senator Godswill Akpabio withdrew from the court-ordered senatorial rerun poll to avoid another defeat.
The PDP in a statement signed by its State publicity secretary, Comrade Iniobong Ememobong on Friday said it was inappropriate for Akpabio to seek to be replaced by another candidate for the Ikot Ekpene Senatorial district rerun poll.
He described as a joke the former governor’s withdrawal from the rerun election, insisting that he and the All Progressives Congress(APC) must submit themselves for “confirmatory” defeat.
“Senator Akpabio was a party before the court and the order of the court is that he should go back for a rerun in Essien Udim- that’s an order of the court and as a lawyer, he should obey that order and submit himself for confirmatory defeat”.
“Some days ago, our party, like other members of the reading public, saw a letter infixed in the headed paper of Senator Godswill Akpabio attempting to convey the purported withdrawal of the Senatorial candidate of the All Progressives Congress candidate in Ikot Ekpene Senatorial District.
“Due to the cunning and comical nature of the dramatis persona, we had to wait for a reasonable time to be sure that he will not make his habitual volte-face and claim that he didn’t write the letter or it was one of the skits in his newfound hobby of national comedy.
“Having not had any rebuttal either from him, his official media sources or his litany of online guttersnipes, we can now ascertain that the said letter emanated from the once revered former Governor, then-seemingly invincible Senate Minority Leader, recently defeated former Senator and now compensated and controversial Minister.
“Our response to that joke taken too far is that the rerun is a court ordered election to complete an earlier started electoral exercise, which by the judgement of the court has been declared inchoate.
“The only way the APC can substitute a candidate is if the incumbent candidate dies a physical death, not a political death as that currently witnessed. Senator Akpabio was a party before the court and the order of the court is that he should go back for a rerun in Essien Udim- that’s an order of the court and as a lawyer, he should obey that order and submit himself for confirmatory defeat”, he said.
The party’s spokesman further said, “The purported withdrawal of the Senatorial candidate is a clear face-saving attempt by Chief Akpabio, in a bid to avoid a recurring defeat by Senator Chris Ekpenyong, whom he had earlier boasted was not a match for him.
“But like it’s common knowledge, pride goes before a fall. Senator Ekpenyong Defeated Chief Akpabio in 8 local government areas with a large margin of more than 38,000 votes-which is Akpabio’s present nightmare.
The party urged the Independent National Electoral Commission to treat the withdrawal letter of Senator Akpabio as a concession of defeat and hold that APC has no candidate in the forthcoming Senatorial rerun due next year.
“Additionally, we ask the commission to ignore and discountenance the shameless demand for the removal of Mike Igini as REC. This call is ill-motivated as he wants REC that will allow him the liberty to concoct results in Essien Udim during the rerun, as that is the only way he can win elections there”, he said.
Meanwhile in a swift reaction, the Senior Special Assistant on Media to Senator Akpabio, Anietie Ekong has described the statement by the PDP as their “usual trash” which deserves no official response.