Former Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio, on Sunday replied ex-Deputy Inspector General of Police, Udom Ekpoudom (retd.), urging to him to stop his media propaganda about a non-existent ticket.
Ekpoudom had, in a statement issued earlier on Sunday vowed not to hand over his senatorial ticket to Akpabio.
But the former Minister replied to Ekpoudum in a statement on Sunday by his Chief Press Secretary, Jackson Udom titled ‘Re: Akwa Ibom North West Senatorial District APC Ticket: Matters Arising’.
Akpabio explained that Ekpoudum lost out in the district because he belonged to the Udoedehe’s faction not recognised by both INEC and the APC National Secretariat and so not probably aware of the notification of cancellation and order for a fresh election.
Akpabio’s statement partly read, ” We have read a statement with the above headline, being circulated in the social media on who is the authentic candidate of the ruling All Progressives Congress, for the Ikot Ekpene Senatorial District also known as Akwa Ibom North West Senatorial District in the 2023 elections.
“We have also read of how a self acclaimed ‘party member’ Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG), Udom Ekpoudom (retd), is laying claim to the senatorial ticket of the district, when he never took part in both the cancelled primary and the reordered primary.
“Ordinarily, we wouldn’t have dignified this falsehood with a response, but because the unsuspecting members of the party and supporters of Senator Godswill Akpabio, could be misled by this tissue of lies, we therefore, decided to put the record straight.
“Udom Ekpoudom, is a bonafide and committed member of the Senator John James Akpanudoedehe Support Group, led by Mr Austin Ekanem. That contraption is not recognised by law, then national leadership of the APC, the Independent National Electoral Commission, as well as the leadership of the Akwa Ibom State chapter of the APC.
“Therefore, that contraption that purportedly conducted the senatorial primary, where Udom Ekpoudom, was allegedly declared a ‘winner’, is not known to law and he couldn’t have been said to have won the party’s ticket, because you cannot build nothing on nothing.
“The authentic party leadership of the party in the state is led by Obong Stephen Leo Ntukekpo. He is recognised by the INEC and the law and the national leadership of the party and based on that, all actions taken by him on the conduct of the party primaries at all levels, are known to law and remains the accepted position of the national leadership of the APC and the INEC.
“The Akwa Ibom North West Senatorial District primary, as directed by the national leadership of the party all over the country was conducted on 28th May, 2022, and not on the 27th May, that the Udoedehe contraption purportedly conducted its phantom primary.
“For even claiming to have conducted its primary on the 27th instead of 28th May, 2022, indicates the fact that their purported primary, was not done as provided for by the APC approved schedule.
“At the 28th May, 2022 primary, former member, House of Representatives, Rt. Hon Ekperikpe Ekpo, emerged the winner. That was the only recognised primary by INEC, because it was organised by Electoral Officers sent from the party’s headquarters.
“It was that same primary won by Hon Ekperikpe, that was later cancelled by the national leadership of the party citing security infractions caused by hoodlums and miscreants who disrupted the exercise and a fresh primary was ordered.
“At the fresh primary, DIG Udom Ekpoudom, Hon Ekperikpe Ekpo, Senator Godswill Akpabio and Engineer Joseph Akpan, all took part in the election.
“However, before the commencement of voting, Hon Ekpo, who won the cancelled election, voluntarily stepped down for Senator Akpabio. He there and then, called on all his supporters to cast their votes for Senator Akpabio.
“The reordered primary took place on the 9th of June, 2022, at the Skill Acquisition Centre, Ikot Ekpene, Akwa Ibom State.
“At the end of the election, Senator Akpabio was declared winner and returned as duly elected candidate for the Ikot Ekpene Senatorial District on the APC platform.
“Ekpoudom should note that he couldn’t have been aware of the notification of cancellation and order of a fresh election, because he belonged to the Udoedehe contraption which is not recognised by the INEC and the national leadership of the party based on the judgment of the Appeal Court of the Abuja Division, which recognised Ntukekpo as the chairman of the state chapter of the party and not Austin Ekanem .
“We, therefore, advise DIG Udom Ekpoudom rtd, to channel his annoyance of being placed on the off-side track of politics in the district, on the illegal contraption led by Austin Ekanem and not pollute the media space with falsehood of a non existing senatorial ticket, not being for sale. Nobody will buy a fake, illegal and non existing ticket”.