June 11, (THEWILL) – As the deadline for party primaries ended on June 9, 2022, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has said the All Progressives Congress (APC) did not conduct any Governorship Election primary in Akwa Ibom State.
This was contained in a report sent to the INEC headquarters in Abuja by the Resident Electoral Commissioner in Akwa Ibom, Mike Igini.
“We wish to report that the All Progressives Congress (APC) Governorship Primary, scheduled to hold on Thursday, 26th May 2022, at the Sheergrace Arena. 8/10 Nsikak Eduok Avenue, Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, did not hold as scheduled at all”, Igini said in a letter to INEC headquarters in Abuja dated May 27.
THEWILL gathered that the commission’s monitoring team, led by Igini, in the company of the Commissioner of Police in Akwa Ibom, Andrew Amiengheme had on “Thursday, 26th May, 2022, arrived at the venue of the primary for the third time at 6:45 p.m. without seeing anyone.”
The heads of the two federal agencies were informed that the APC election committee members were held up by an angry group of APC members along a major road in Uyo.
The operatives of the State Security Services (DSS) later rescued the APC election officials and took them to their (DSS) facility in the city.
The Chairman of the Election Committee, Tunde Ajibulu, had told Igini on the phone that he was unable to leave the DSS office because he was traumatised and could not go ahead with the primary.
Ajibulu reportedly told Igini that Sheergrace Arena was not the venue given to him by the party’s national office in Abuja to conduct the governorship primary and concluded that, “all activities be postponed until he gets back at the Commission.”
Igini at that point briefed the reporters who were present at the venue. He left the venue at about 10:30 p.m. that day.
According to Premium Times, the APC faction in the state, backed by a former minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio, later held the governorship primary of the party around midnight at a different venue, where Akanimo Udofia, who decamped from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) a few days before the exercise, was declared winner of the exercise.
A governorship aspirant and former national secretary of the APC, John Akpanudoedehe, because of frustration over the issue, defected to the New Nigerian Peoples Party (NNPP), where he secured the party’s governorship ticket for the 2023 election in the state.
Before Akpanudoedehe’s exit from the party, the APC in Akwa Ibom had been torn into two factions because of a protracted battle between him and Godswill Akpabio, over the control of the party structure in the state.
Akpabio on Thursday, “won” the senatorial primary for the Akwa Ibom North-West District, conducted by a faction loyal to him.
However, a report on the APC gubernatorial primary election by the INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner for Akwa Ibom State, Mike Igini, addressed to Commission Chairman, said no election was held in the State.
The letter read: “I forward herewith, the Report of the Non-conduct of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Governorship Primary, scheduled to hold on Thursday 26th May, 2022, at Sheergrace Arena, 8/10 Nsikak Eduok Avenue, Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, for your information and necessary action.
“We wish to report that the All Progressives Congress (APC) Governorship Primary is scheduled to hold on Thursday, 26th May 2022, at the Sheergrace Arena. 8/10 Nsikak Eduok Avenue, Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, did not hold as scheduled at all.
“The EPM Calendar of Political Party Primaries had earlier scheduled the APC Governorship Primary for 26/5/2022. Equally, the APC State Chapter Office in its letter of notification, dated 23/5/2022, herewith attached, notified the Commission of the date, venue and time of the Governorship Primary. Commission did not receive any other or contrary Notification from the APC National Office.
“Following this, the Commission set up a monitoring team, made up of Management Staff, EPM Staff and led by the Resident Electoral Commissioner to monitor the Primary.
”We wish to report that the Akwa Ibom APC Governorship Primary, scheduled to hold at the Sheergrace Arena, Nsikak Eduok Avenue did not hold because the APC Primary Election Committee did not come to the venue and did not hold the primary in any other venue monitored by the Commission.”