The Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio, won’t be contesting the forthcoming Akwa Ibom North-West senatorial rerun election.
He announced this in a letter dated 2nd of December, 2019, addressed to the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Adams Oshiomhole.
Akpabio who was a former Minority Leader of the Senate said the decision was due to huge responsibility now placed on him as Minister, adding that he cannot afford to jettison a critical national assignment given to him by President Muhammadu Buhari in pursuit of a rerun election.
He, therefore, urged the party to inform the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), is his withdrawal from the race in line with Sections 33 and 35 of the Electoral Act, 2010, and submit a replacement to run in his stead.
“I have taken into consideration the critical national assignment bestowed on me by Mr President which will be of immense importance to Nigerians and in particular the indigenes of the Niger Delta region and have resolved to remain as a Minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to further discharge my contributions and services to our great fatherland.
“It is on the premise of the foregoing and particularly in line with the provisions of Section 35 of the Electoral Act, 2010 (as amended) that I want to formally and voluntarily withdraw my candidature as the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) for the forthcoming Court ordered Re-run Election for the Akwa Ibom North-West Senatorial District.
“It will be inappropriate in the circumstance and pursuant to Sections 33 and 35 of the Electoral Act, 2010 (as amended) for the party to immediately communicate this withdrawal to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and forward to her the name of another candidate of the party to replace me at the Court ordered Rerun Election for the Akwa Ibom North-West Senatorial District.
“I want to seize this opportunity to thank our formidable party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), its leadership at the state and national levels for availing me the party platform and the immeasurable support I received throughout the period of the election and beyond,” part of the letter reads.
A Court of Appeal had in November ruled that a rerun election should be held in some parts of Ikot Ekpene Senatorial District after Akpabio challenged the declaration of Chris Ekpenyong, won the poll on the platform of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Akpabio in the letter, therefore, urged Oshiomhole to prevail on the chairman of INEC, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, to redeploy the State Electoral Commissioner (REC) in Akwa Ibom State, Mr Mike Igini, to allow for a free and fair rerun election.