The Peoples Democratic Party’s candidate in the rerun senatorial election scheduled for Saturday (today) in Essien Udim Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State, Senator Chris Ekpenyong, is set for a revalidation of his mandate with the withdrawal of the All Progressives Congress from the poll.
Ekpenyong was representing Akwa Ibom North-West in the Senate after defeating former Governor Godswill Akpabio, in the 2019 elections until he was removed by the tribunal.
Akpabio, who is the minister of Niger Delta withdrew from the rerun election while APC chose Emem Ekperikpe to replace him.
The withdrawal of APC was announced on Friday by the Akwa Ibom State Chairman of the party, Ini Okopido, at a news conference in Uyo.
Okopido said the party withdrew from the re-run election in Essien Udim Local Government Area because it was dissatisfied with the conduct of the Independent National Electoral Commission in the state.
He said both Senator Godswill Akpabio, whose candidacy has been replaced with Emem Ekperkpe for the Senatorial District election, and Nse Ntuen for Essien Udim State Constituency, will not participate in the elections.
He said the party has instituted a court process against INEC for failing to affirm the election of Ntuen as the member representing Essien Udim in the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly.
The party also accused the INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner, Mike Igini, of bias.
Okopido said: “We have officially as a party withdrawn from the rerun elections in Essien Udim local government area.
“We are so dissatisfied with the conduct of INEC in Akwa Ibom State and we have withdrawn from the elections.
“As far as we are concerned, Igini has shown unprecedented bias against APC.
“We know he does not like APC in Akwa Ibom State and if he conducts any election in Akwa Ibom, the party will withdraw.
“Igini has not been fair to us as a state.”