- Senator Godswill Akpabio has been accused of trying to intimidate members of the Akwa Ibom state election tribunal
- The accusation was made by the senator-elect for Ikot Ekpene senatorial district (Akwa Ibom north-west), Dr. Chris Ekpenyong
- Ekpeyong defeated Akpabio in the February 23 National Assembly elections held in the state
Senator-elect for Ikot Ekpene senatorial district (Akwa Ibom north-west), Dr. Chris Ekpenyong, has accused former governor Godswill Akpabio, of trying to stampede the state election tribunal in order to obtain a favourable judgement from them.
Speaking in an interview in Uyo, the state capital, over the weekend, Ekpeyong warned Akpabio to stop the campaign of blackmail and intimidation against the duly constituted election tribunal.
He said Akpabio should be charged for contempt “for continuing to stampede the tribunal with a view to forcing it to change the course of justice.”
Ekpenyong, former deputy governor of the state, who contested on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), had defeated incumbent Senator Akpabio of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the February 23 elections.
But Akpabio, currently contesting the outcome of the exercise, has alleged that the tribunal was denying his counsels unfettered access to inspect the ballot materials used in the conduct of the polls.
Akpabio also accused the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) in the state, Mr. Mike Igini, of compromising and rigged the election in favour of the PDP.
But Ekpenyong, who defeated him with over 118,000 votes as against Akpabio’s over 83,000 votes, faulted the allegation, saying the INEC REC imbibed best practices in the conduct and delivery of the polls in the state.
His words: “Akpabio has never won any free and fair election on a level playing field since 2007 when he became the governor of this state because I was one of the 57 aspirants that stood the election with him and I knew he did not win.
“I only allow peace a chance so that people would begin to think I was fighting my brother from the same federal constituency, so I had to concede and move on thinking he would deploy the wealth of the state to address the challenges of underdevelopment plaguing the rural communities and the poor people of the state.”
Meanwhile, a recent media report indicates that President Muhammadu Buhari appears to be in a dilemma on who to fill the ministerial slot meant for Akwa Ibom state in his new cabinet.
The president is said to be left with the option of choosing his cabinet member from the duo of former Akpabio and Senator Ita Enang, who currently serves as senior special assistant to the president.
Although Akpabio would eminently fit the bill because of his position as a former governor and the strong support he mobilised for the APC, power brokers in the state are said to be frontally opposed to the candidature of the outgoing senator.
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