Akpabio petitions INEC over his election

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Godswill Akpabio, a senator from Akwa Ibom State, has petitioned the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) in the state over the results of the elections in the Akwa Ibom North-West District.

Mr Akpabio, a former governor of the state, represents the district in the Senate, on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC). He contested Saturday’s election, hoping to return to the Senate for a second term.

INEC on Sunday suspended the release of results of the election, saying there were “unresolved issues” with the votes from Essien Udim Local Government Area, where Mr Akpabio comes from.

“There are issues in the results which we are yet to be resolved,” an INEC official in Uyo told newsmen.

On Monday afternoon, the REC, Mike Igini, told journalists at the State Collation Centre, Uyo, that the result for the district was ready, but that INEC could not declare it.

“The results are ready, but INEC can’t declare it in Uyo,” Mr Igini said.

“The law says the election results must be declared at the senatorial district. The report we are getting about the security situation in Ikot Ekpene is that it is not okay for INEC to go there and announce results.”

Mr Igini’s remark came shortly after the returning officer for Essien Udim, William Olusunde, a lecturer at the University of Uyo, presented the result for the presidential election in the area, which was won by the APC.

Mr Olusunde, said after the election in the area they checked through the card readers and were able to discover that the number of votes was more than the accredited voters at some polling units. “Because of that we had to cancel some votes in some units,” he said.

Mr Akpabio, in his petition to the REC, is accusing him of “considering reversing the announced cancellation of result from Obot Akara”.

Mr Akpabio’s opponent, Chris Ekpenyong of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), is from Obot Akara.

“It is the law that a pronouncement on a result has been made, only a court of law can reverse such decision. An attempt to reverse same is total illegality,” Mr Akpabio said in the petition, dated February 23, and signed by his brother, Ibanga Akpabio, who was the APC senatorial agent in the election.

The senator said it was unfair to the APC for the REC to single out Essien Udim’s votes for a recount.

“We demand querying of card reader/recount of votes from all 10 Local Government Areas of Ikot Ekpene Senatorial District.

“We call on INEC to fix a date for a rerun election in Obot Akara and announce the Essien Udim results,” the senator said.

Meanwhile, the PDP, which has also claimed victory in the election, has called on INEC to release the result of the election for the Akwa Ibom North-West.

“We hereby demand that INEC should without further delay announce the results of the Senatorial District and House of Representatives.

“We also demand that security operatives provide sufficient cover for the movement and announcement, in the light of recent developments threatening the announcement. There is no need for any further delay,” the PDP spokesperson in the state, Ini Ememobong, said in a statement on Monday.


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