Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio, has withdrawn from the planned Akwa Ibom North West senatorial rerun election.
Akpabio made his decision known in a letter addressed to Adams Oshiomhole, national chairman of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and dated December 2, 2019.
He said a huge responsibility had been placed on him as Minister of Niger Delta Affairs and he won’t abandon a critical national assignment placed on him by President Muhammadu Buhari in pursuit of a rerun election.
He urged the party to write the Independent National Electoral Commission, in line with Sections 33 and 35 of the Electoral Act, 2010, and submit a replacement to run in his place.
Akpabio in the letter, urged the national chairman of APC to prevail on the chairman of INEC, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, to redeploy the State Electoral Commissioner in Akwa Ibom State, Mr. Mike Igini if free and fair elections must be held.
He said, “I have taken into consideration the critical national assignment bestowed on me by Mr. President which will be of immense importance to Nigerians and in particular the indigenes of the Niger Delta region and have resolved to remain as a Minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to further discharge my contributions and services to our great fatherland.
“It is on the premise of the foregoing and particularly in line with the provisions of Section 35 of the Electoral Act, 2010 (as amended) that I want to formally and voluntarily withdraw my candidature as the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) for the forthcoming Court ordered Re-run Election for the Akwa lbom North-West Senatorial District.
“It will be inappropriate in the circumstance and pursuant to Sections 33 and 35 of the Electoral Act, 2010 (as amended) for the party to immediately communicate this withdrawal to the Independent National Electoral Commission and forward to her the name of another candidate of the party to replace me at the Court ordered Rerun Election for the Akwa lbom North-West Senatorial District.
“I want to seize this opportunity to thank our formidable party, the All Progressives Congress, its leadership at the state and national levels for availing me the party platform and the immeasurable support I received throughout the period of the election and beyond.
Meanwhile, Ripples Nigeria had earlier reported that Akpabio wa accused of plotting to get the INEC to substitute his name as the candidate of the APC.
Elections Transparency Group (ETG) made the claim in a statement in Abuja on Wednesday, alleging that the former governor and former Senate minority leader intended to do that for fear of another defeat.