Following the ruling by the Appeal Court in Calabar Cross River State, which ordered a rerun of the National Assembly elections in Essien Udim Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State, the Senator representing Akwa Ibom North-West Senatorial District, Senator Chris Ekpenyong says is confident of coming out victorious in the rerun.
Ekpenyong, along with his party PDP, who said they are unperturbed by the ruling of the Appeal court challenged Godswill Akpabio to, first of all, resign his position as the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs and face a rerun, adding that they would defeat him in the polls as they ‘did before.’
The Appeal Court in Calabar on Saturday cancelled the National Assembly elections in Essien Udim local government area, one out of the ten local government areas that make up the Akwa Ibom North-West Federal zone due to reported cases of irregularities and violence.
The court added that election results in the other nine local governments remained valid, leaving Akpabio to scramble for 38,056 votes in that local government to upturn the victory of his opponent, Senator Ekpenyong.
Results obtained from the other nine local government, excluding Essien Udim local government area showed that Senator Chris Ekpenyong leads with 114, 973 votes while Akpabio has 76,917.
The Independent National Electoral Commission had said that only 19,455 voters were accredited in Essien Udim local government area.
Reacting, Senator Ekpenyong said his mandate remained intact despite the ruling by the Appeal Court and expressed shock at the inconsistency in the judgement, with the court granting a prayer that was not sought by an appellant.
He said, “I just finished interacting with the senate president and we have an assignment on Tuesday, I remain the representative of my people in the senate and nothing has changed.
“Look all through his petition, Akpabio never sought for cancellation of election in the reliefs he sought, he was urging to be declared the winner in lieu of a purported 61000 votes he claimed for himself. I feel it is not right for a relief he didn’t seek to be awarded to him. But since it is the final arbiter in national assembly matters, there is no way we can appeal the ruling.
“I am very prepared to defeat him again in Essien Udim, let’s go to the field, he has to resign first as a Minister(of Niger Delta) in line with the provisions of the constitution.”
According to him, with the election in one local government area only, all focus and attention would be given to it and there would be no room for manipulation and rigging, as was noted in the area based on reports of observers and the electoral umpire.
“He brought war and federal might, but the people’s might and God’s mighty hand me victory. This is another opportunity for the gap of that victory to be expanded,” Senator Ekpenyong added.