The House of Representative candidate for Eket Federal Constituency under the platform of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Mr Eseme Eyibo has tackled the Akwa Ibom State Resident Electoral Commissioner, Mr Mike Igini, over claims that the party does not have a gubernatorial candidate for the 2023 general elections.
It could be recalled that APC gubernatorial primary held on May 27, 2022, at No 6 Ekpo Obot Street, Uyo, which saw the emergence of Mr Akanimo Udofia as the candidate having polled 1276 votes had been vehemently opposed by Igini.
Igini had gone on air to announce the nullity of the exercise stressing that he(Igini), together with the Commissioner for Police, Andrew Amiengheme, were at the Sheer Grace Arena, the supposed venue of the primary till 6 pm and no primary nomination took place hence his position that there was no governorship candidate for APC in the state.
He stressed in the report he sent to Abuja, “We wish to report that the APC governorship primary scheduled to hold on Thursday, May 26, 2022, at the Sheer Grace Arena, Nsikak Eduok Avenue, Uyo, Akwa Ibom State did not hold at all.”
However, Eyiboh, a former member of parliament, described Igini’s assertion as a ‘voyage to self-destruct’ wondering why he (Igini) failed to go to the stipulated venue of Ekpo Obot, where the primary took place rather than Sheer Grace Arena even as he said that Igini’s absence will neither invalidate the process nor result to the party not having a gubernatorial candidate who was duly nominated.
According to him, “what was Mike Igini doing at the sheer grace arena? was it the venue communicated to INEC for the primaries? The answer is No! we also posted on the platform the notice sent to INEC for the primaries and it acknowledged receipt, that the gubernatorial primaries will take place at 6 Ekpo Obot street, the NWC of the party in confirmation of that action set up a committee and sent them to Akwa Ibom and showed them the location which is No 6 Ekpo Obot, no correspondence between INEC and APC that the venue is Sheer grace.
“While it is the duty of a political party to notify INEC of its political activities, it cannot drag the Commission into coming to observe them. It is the responsibility of INEC to go to the designated venues to carry out their own duty.
“In the event that Mike Igini left the approved venue of the primaries to go to Sheer Grace Arena, you can then appreciate the fact that he may have been on a voyage of self-destruct.”
Speaking on Igini not recognizing Stephen Ntukekpo’s led executive council, Eyiboh said the Commissioner is making himself a supreme court who has the powers to upturn the judgement of the high court.
He recalled the judgement of the Abuja Federal High Court delivered by Justice Taiwo Taiwo on March 16 declaring Ntukekpo as the APC Chairman in Akwa Ibom adding that thereafter the former Caretaker Extraordinary Committee Secretary of the party, Sen. James Udoedehe withdrew his appeal and the matter was subsequently dismissed by the court of Appeal.
Asked if the state chapter of the party was disappointed in Akpabio having collapsed his presidential structure for Ahmed Tinubu, the presidential candidate of the party, Eyiboh said no, adding that Akpabio’s action was strategic.
In his words, “His Excellency, Senator Godswill Akpabio took a decision that was of strategic relevance for our future endeavors, the act of senator Akpabio soliciting support for Asiwaju was strategic and will be rewarding for the benefit of this State and we should eulogize him for engaging in national politics and Akwa Ibom is better for it.”
On the controversy surrounding Akpabio’s emergence as the Senatorial candidate for Akwa Ibom North West, Eyiboh said, “APC wrote to INEC notifying it of the plans to reconduct the election because Obong Ekperikpe Ekpo in the previous primaries he won said that he was withdrawing from the race that means APC will not have a candidate, and the reconducted primaries was within the time frame and Akpabio won and his name is on the list.”