The opposition All Progressives Congress, APC Akwa Ibom State chapter has said it does not have a candidate for the Ikot Senatorial seat election slated for January 25, 2020 after Senator Goodwill Akpabio announced voluntary withdrawal from the race.
Senator Akpabio had notified INEC his decision to back out of the race, but INEC says it cannot replace him, since his name was in the ballot and it is against the law.
But speaking with newsmen at INEC office after a meeting at the commission head office in Uyo, the State Chairman of the APC, Mr. Ini Okopido said his party has no candidate for the contest.
“As you can see we have written to INEC”. Okopido disclosed that he had received a letter of Akpabio announcing his withdrawal from the race”.
He said the party is waiting to decide on who would be the candidate. However, with few days to the conduct of the election and with the APC not being able to shop for a replacement, it appears the opposition may have given up on the rerun.
But INEC is insisting that the ballot paper knows Akpabio as the candidate of the APC as it cannot replace him at this time.
Meanwhile, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), says it is set to conduct the rerun in Essien Udim local government area for the three elections as ordered by the Court of Appeal.
Recall that the Court of Appeal sitting in Calabar, Cross River state ordered the rerun following an appeal on election petition on Akwa Ibom North West senatorial election, the Ikot Ekpene federal constituency and Essien Udim state constituency elections brought before it by candidates of the All Progressives Congress.
The Resident Electoral Commissioner, REC, in Akwa Ibom state, Barr. Mike Igini while addressing journalists in Uyo, on Monday, said the rerun will hold on the 25th January.
He said elections will take place in all the polling units for the Senate and House of Representatives election, and in 137 polling units for the House of Assembly election.
“We will have election in all the 159 polling units for the senate. We will also have election in the 159 polling units for the House of Representatives election.”
“For the House of Assembly, we will have election in 137 polling units. In line with what we have done with the two layers of court on the election, there will be no ballots in 22 units for the House of Assembly because in the 22 polling units the Form EC8A of the those units are available.”
Igini said the commission has provided documents to stakeholders to guide them on the polling units where the rerun will take place in the House of Assembly rerun.
Essien Udim local government area where the rerun will be held has 105,555 registered voters but 95,987 only have collected their Permanent Voters Cards.