The immediate past Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio, has appealed to retired Deputy Inspector General of Police Udom Ekpoudom and his supporters that it was time to sheathe sword over Akwa Ibom North West senatorial seat in the interest of the party.
Akpabio made the appeal while reacting to a statement issued by Ekpoudom’s Senatorial Campaign organisation following the submission of his name to the Independent National Electroral Commission (INEC), by the All Progressives Congress (APC) last Friday.
This is contained in a statement issued by Media & Publicity Directorate of Senator Godswill Akpabio Senatorial Campaign Organization, titled: “Accept the turn of events if you have the interest of the party at heart”.
The statement obtained yesterday reads: “But this continuous exchange of recriminations can never forge the needed unity the party so badly needs to win the upcoming election. It is time therefore to sheathe the sword and look at the bigger picture in the interest of the party and the State.
“We appeal to DIG Udom Ekpoudom as an Elder of the party and his supporters to close ranks and embrace the olive branch that shall come with inclusiveness and benefits for all.
“We enjoin them to join Obong Akan Udofia, Senator Akpabio, others and work towards delivering Akwa Ibom State to APC in acknowledgement of the fact that with the party on the saddle, the social contract would be renewed and reinvigorated and our members and faithful shall take pride in the new dawn Akwa Ibom state shall witness”
The statement, however, reiterated that Stephen Ntukekpo’s led State EXCO of APC was the one recognized by the National hierarchy of the party and known to Law.
It stressed that therefore any authorization pertaining to congress which does not emanate from Ntukekpo’s executive, the outcome would be deemed illegal, illegitimate and a mere bogus claim.
“DIG Ekpoudom (rtd) has made serial but hollow claims that he won the ticket of APC to be on the ballot for the election of North West Senatorial district.
“But it is on record that Rt Honourable Ekperikpe Ekpo contested and won the nomination which took place on May 28, 2022 at Ikot Ekpene township in accordance with the timetable published by the party with necessary notifications served relevant agencies of government preceding the primaries as required by Law.
“However, leadership of the party citing infractions ordered for a rerun via a letter signed by the National Secretary of APC and Ekperikpe willingly withdrew from that rerun primary urging his teeming supporters to nominate Senator Akpabio as the flagbearer of the party for NorthWest Senatorial district.
“DIG Ekpoudom’s claim that he is the rightful holder of the ticket of Ikot Ekpene Senatorial District is patently against the grain of reality and truth and contemptuous to the wellbeing of the party.
“For the Resident Electoral Commissioner to claim that he monitored the illegality rather than the approved primary which was widely publicized smack of a conspiracy deliberately arrayed against a section of the party” , the statement added.
Ekpoudom had in a swift reaction to the submission of Akpabio’s name to INEC expressed the optimism that he is the one who would be on the ballot for 2023 polls as the one duly recognised by the INEC as the authentic candidate of APC, for Akwa Ibom Northwest senatorial district.