- Niger Delta affairs minister, Akpabio, said he has no interest in the ongoing senatorial rerun in Akwa Ibom
- Akpabio said this in reaction to the allegation levelled against him by the PDP, claiming his "thugs" brutalised a journalist
- Recall that Akpabio and the APC have pulled out of the election, though INEC said the poll would continue with their names included
The minister of Niger Delta affairs, Godswill Akpabio, has dissociated himself from the ongoing senatorial rerun election in Akwa Ibom Northwest senatorial district.
Though Akpabio was the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the first ballot, he had since withdrawn from the election, saying he prefers continuing his position as minister.
Akpabio and the APC first applied to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for replacement of the candidate for the poll.
INEC, however, said the minister cannot be replaced with another candidate either can he and his party pull out of the election.
As the rerun kicks, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), alleged that "Akpabio's thugs" brutalised a journalist.
"This is Sunday Godwin, a journalist with Global Pilot, he was brutalized by Sen Akpabio’s thugs at his polling unit in Independent High way, Essien Udim. Sen. Akpabio is re-enacting his Warsaw principle as promised," the party said on his official Twitter handle.
However, according to the minister's media aide on information, Anietie Ekong, Akpabio said he had no interest in the rerun, The Cable reports.
The minister's aide said his principal is not physically present in the affected local government, adding that he has no interest in the election.
As the APC has pulled out, the rerun was supposed to be an easy walkover for the PDP and its candidate. It is not immediately clear why the election is still witnessing the alleged violence.
Some reactions trailing the PDP's tweet also questioned the validity of the party's claim.
Official Adeolu reacted: "As much as I support decency in election and democratic process, I fail to come to term with most of these reports by @OfficialPDPNig. Where is the brutality on the face of this man now. You can't even show us a scratch on the claimed damaged camera. Don't heat things up."
Another Twitter user, Ivoh, doubted the PDP's claim.
He tweeted: "PDP pls stop showing us these. Device another strategy of curtailing rigging and intimidation. You did a whole lot of this last general elections what did you gain? Oppositions did it against you when u were in power and achieved nothing. Aren't you tired?"
Earlier, Legit.ng reported that a foremost sociopolitical in Akwa Ibom, Akwa Ibom Liberation Movement, called on security agencies to guarantee the safety of voters during the rerun.
The group in a statement sent to journalists on Friday, January 24 by its secretary-general, Solomon Abasiekong, stated that there was palpable tension in the local government ahead of the primaries.
The group accused Akpabio, of planning to cause violence.
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