• Sunday, June 23, 2024
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Three-horse race in Akwa Ibom guber poll as INEC drops APC

INEC presents certificates to Saturday’s by-election winners

The All Progressives Congress (APC) has failed to present a governorship candidate for the general election next year as the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has announced that the party has no flagbearer in the gubernatorial poll.

INEC’s announcement followed the release of the governorship candidates’ list published by the Commission and posted on its notice board at its office along Udo Udoma Avenue in Uyo, the Akwa Ibom State capital.

According to the list which was signed by INEC’s secretary, Rose Oriaran Anthony, while Umo Eno of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) was cleared for the governorship election and his name published alongside Akon Eyakenyi as the deputy governorship candidate, that of the APC was left blank.

The commission did not provide reasons why the party did not have a candidate for the governorship poll in Akwa Ibom State but checks showed that APC has been embroiled in an intra party crisis which resulted in the governorship primaries held early this year to be conducted in two locations.

The main contenders, former interim national secretary of the APC, John James Udoedehe in the aftermath of the crisis that greeted the party’s primaries moved to the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP) as its governorship candidate and has had his name published by the Commission as made available to the public.

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The other contender, Ita Solomon Enang, former aide to President Muhammadu Buhari is currently in court challenging the alleged nomination of Akan Udofia as the party’s governorship candidate and whose name was not published by the Commission.

Ita Enang had claimed that Akan Udofia was a governorship aspirant on the ticket of the PDP two days to the APC governorship primaries, adding that Udofia should not have been nominated to fly the party’s flag.

Udofia, a businessman, has already picked Victor Antai as his running mate and had been busy consulting stakeholders ahead of the electioneering campaign before his name was dropped by INEC in the recently released list of governorship candidates.

With the absence of the APC in the governorship election, observers say it is likely to be a three-horse race between the PDP governorship candidate, Umo Eno; the candidate of the Young Progressive Party (YPP), Bassey Albert Akpan, a senator whose name has been published by the Commission and the governorship candidate of the NNPP, James John Udoedehe.

Some of the governorship candidates cleared include Ekpo Ita Bassey of the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) and Udo Anietie Augus as his deputy who presented Senior Secondary School Examination certificate while his principal is a lawyer.

Others include Ezekiel Nya Etok of the African Democratic Congress (ADC) and Iboro Otu Robert of the AAC, who have all been cleared and their names published by INEC to contest the governorship elections.