Days after Senator Godswill Akpabio sent a letter of withdrawal from Essien Udim Local Government Senatorial rerun election to the All Progressives Congress (National) seeking for a replacement in the rerun, the People’s Democratic Party has reacted to the withdrawal after the senator had secured a rerun win in court.
WITHIN NIGERIA had earlier reported that the former Governor of Akwa Ibom State and the current Minister of Niger Delta, Akpabio stated in his letter that he can’t abandon a critical national assignment placed on him by President Muhammadu Buhari in pursuit of a rerun election.
While reacting on Godswill Akpabio’s letter in which he urged the All Progressives Congress national excos to submit a replacement, the People’s Democratic Party stated that the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs withdrew from the senatorial race to avoid another defeat.
The opposition party maintained that 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.”
The statement partly reads;
“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.
“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.
“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.
“On the funny claim that he has a patriotic task to perform at the Federal Executive Council as Minister, which is why he wants to withdraw from the race, the question is, when did he realize this duty which he claims he owes the Niger Delta? Why did he not withdraw before the Appeal court judgment? If the Court of Appeal had granted the reliefs he sought for, would he have still withdrawn?
“Our party seriously frowns at the clowning attempts by Senator Akpabio to derail the electoral process in Ikot Ekpene Senatorial District, as we have on good authority that he intends to use the judicial process to prevent the conduct of the rerun, by institutions court actions to compel INEC to accept his purported withdrawal- this suit he intends to drag up to the Supreme Court if he loses. Senator Akpabio, who once boasted that he couldn’t lose an election should have been excited as he was earlier, to show the world that he cannot lose an election in his local government area. Why is he afraid of going for an election in his native Essien Udim?”