Akpabio Loses Again As PDP Wins A' Ibom Rerun

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has won the rerun elections for the senate, state and federal constituencies in Akwa Ibom.
The election took place at the weekend in only one local government area, Essien Udim, in the state. It was, however, characterised by violence and ballot-stealing.
Some election officials were held hostage in the area, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) said.
Announcing the senatorial result at the INEC collation center in Ikot Ekpene, the returning officer, Professor Robert Dode, said that Ekpenyong polled 19,924 to defeat Senator Godswill Akpabio who polled 6,903 votes in Essien Udim. In the House of Representative's rerun, the returning officer, Professor Idara Akpabio announced the victory of Nsikak Ekong of the PDP with 20, 235 over APC'S Emman Akpan who scored a paltry 6,903 votes. Earlier at the Essien Udim Local Government Collation Centre, Professor Victor Ebong, the returning officer announced the victory of Mr Esse Umoh of PDP who having polled 18,999 votes trounced Mr Nse Ntuen of APC who had 7,108 votes.
Akpabio lost his bid to return to the Senate for a second term in 2019 when INEC declared Ekpenyong winner of the poll.
Amid complaints of election fraud and a petition to the tribunal, the former Senate minority leader who was later appointed minister of Niger Delta Affairs, said he was no longer interested in a repeat poll, but INEC rejected a replacement of candidate.
The PDP candidate for the Ikot Ekpene/Essien Udim/Obot Akara Federal Constituency in the election, Nsikak Ekong, scored 45,366 votes, while his closest rival, Emmanuel Akpan of the All Progressives Congress (APC), scored 22,757.
For the Essien Udim State Constituency, the PDP candidate, Esse Umoh, scored 18,999 votes, while the APC candidate, Nse Ntuen, scored 7,108 votes.
The APC and its candidates for elections into the state and federal constituencies had announced their withdrawal from the poll hours before its commencement.
Giving reasons for his withdrawal, Mr Nse Ntuen, the APC candidate for the Essien Udim State Constituency election, claimed he won 2019 election and that the Court of Appeal did not order for a rerun election.
Ntuen said in a statement Friday that he had filed a suit in court to "compel INEC to release my Certificate of Return and disembark from conducting any election without further delay.
On his part, Mr Emmanuel Akpan, the APC candidate for the Ikot Ekpene/Essien Udim/Obot Akara Federal Constituency election, said he withdrew from the rerun because he did not trust the resident electoral commissioner in the state, Mike Igini, to organise a free and fair election.
However, a release by the head, Voter Education and Publicity, INEC, Akwa Ibom State, Mr Odaro Aisien, said the court-ordered rerun elections in Essien Udim commenced on schedule. As at 8.00am, following early deployment of men and materials, polling had opened in over 90 per cent of the polling units (PUs)
He disclosed that  when the commission had thought that lessons would have been learnt from what led to the nullification of the 2019 elections, the same acts of brigandage were on full display, as abduction of poll officials were reported.
These reports, according to him, were corroborated by video clips on social media showing corps members and other officials who were abducted to private premises outside their PUs.
"They were further confirmed by the INEC Monitoring and Compliance Team of the rank of directors of the commission, who were assigned to various wards. Disruptions were reported in Ukana West (Ward 11), Units 5, 8, and 9 as well as Ikpe Annang (Ward 5), Unit 12. Some of the abducted poll officials have been rescued by the police while efforts are being made to ensure the safe release of others.
Nigerians will recall that these rerun elections were ordered by the Court of Appeal on account of what it described as "acts of unparalleled thuggery, intimidation, ballot-box snatching, abduction ... and other acts of hooliganism that pervaded the entire Essien Udim LGA, during the 2019 elections. Again, these acts have been repeated in today's re-run exercise. He concluded.

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