By William EFFIONG
The All Progressives Congress, APC, in Akwa Ibom state has pulled out of the proposed November 11 local government election in the state.
In a press statement signed by the acting state publicity secretary of the party, Edet Eyo Bassey, APC says “the decision of the party is predicated on the absolute lack of trust and confidence in the capacity of the state electoral umpire, Akwa Ibom state Electoral Commission (AKISIEC) to conduct a free, fair, and credible local government election”
According to the release, the party’s resolve not to participate in the election “is sequel to the antecedent of AKISIEC and the unpalatable experience of opposition political parties in two (2) previous local government elections (2007 and 2012) superintended over by AKISIEC under the very sane Chief Electoral Commissioner whom we reasonably believe lacks the integrity, fair-mindedness, and probity to conduct a fair, credible and acceptable local government election.”
Checks by Propellerng.com however show that the ongoing crisis within the state chapter of the party may have prompted the party’s withdrawal from the election. APC in Akwa Ibom has not in the last 6 months been able to produce a state chapter executive owing to internal agitations and wrangling by principal officers within the party.
Sources within the party say the three main factional leaders within the state APC namely Sen. John Akpanudoedeghe, Chairman of the Niger Delta Development Commission, Nsima Ekere, and Obong Umana Okon Umana, governorship candidate of the party in the 2015 governorship election in the state, were unable to unite on the setting up of a machinery to prepare the party for the November polls.
The decision to boycott the election is staged by the Nsima Ekere faction, according to a chieftain of the party.
In the 4-point statement on Thursday, the party says it has instructed “our team of lawyers to institute legal action in a competent court of law against AKISIEC.” It says the APC “has chosen to challenge the legality, actions, and inactions of AKISIEC vis-à-vis it’s (sic) capacity to conduct a fair, credible and acceptable local government elections.”
It would be recalled that no opposition party in Akwa Ibom state won election into any of the 31 local government councils in the state in the 2012 local government election. The ruling Peoples Democratic Party won all seats. In 2007 however, an ANPP candidate won election into Etim Ekpo local government council. The council chairman later defected back to the PDP.