The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the Akwa Ibom State does not have a governorship candidate for the 2023 general elections.

INEC stressed that its officials did not monitor any primary organised by the party in the State.

INEC’s Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) for Akwa Ibom State, MIKE IGINI disclosed the development in an interview with our correspondent on Saturday.

MIKE IGINI said the Commission did not monitor the primary election of APC slated to hold last month (May 26, 2022).

was later informed of another primary which held at a different venue, but added that INEC officials didn’t monitor the exercise.

Recall that the REC had in a report dated May 27, 2022, which was submitted to the Commission on the conduct of primaries in the state maintained that APC did not conduct any primary election in Akwa Ibom State.

According to IGINI: “We wish to report that the APC governorship primary scheduled to hold on Thursday, May 26, 2022 at the Sheergrace Arena, Nsikak Eduok Avenue, Uyo 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”.

“The Resident Electoral Commissioner, the Commissioner of Police and the State INEC Monitoring Committee were present at the venue for the duration earlier stated but left at about 10:30pm after the Chairman of the Primary Election Committee notified the REC on phone that they would not come to the venue.

“Equally, the APC State Chapter Executives and the entire State delegates were at the venue but the primary election did not hold because of the failure or refusal of the Primary Election Committee to come to the designated venue”.

Brave Views gathered that the Electoral Committee members were held hostage in their way to conduct the primary by some persons.

They were later rescued by operatives of the DSS, who took them to their facility for safety.

From there, the Chairman of the Primary Electoral Committee communicated the REC of how traumatized they were and their inability to conduct the primary that night.

However, with the June 9 deadline for all primaries now over, the implication is that APC has no candidate for the 2023 governorship election in Akwa Ibom.

Meanwhile, MIKE IGINI in the interview on Saturday, confirmed to our correspondent that the Commission was later informed of another primary, which held at a different venue but added that INEC officials did not monitor the exercise.

He said: “It is not INEC that conducts party primaries, we only monitor. It is the APC that said they could not do the primary, so we said okay.

“By the time we woke up in the morning, they said at some location, they have done governorship primary. We are not aware of it; we didn’t monitor it.

“Having said they have done so, we are required to write our report. That report is what we wrote and submitted to Abuja”.

We had reported that despite the “multitude of delegates” present at the Sheergrace Arena, the APC Election Committee said they would not conduct the exercise there.

And so, after hours of back-and-forth over which venue was the approved for the exercise, the APC Primary Election Panel was said to have eventually gone to one Obot street venue to hold the primary.

AKAN UDOFIA, who recently defected to the APC from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), was announced as the party’s governorship candidate on May 27 but INEC maintained that its officials didn’t monitor that exercise.

The development comes amid leadership crisis in the party over factions loyal to a former minister of Niger Delta affairs
a former National Secretary of APC Caretaker Committee, JOHN JAMES AKPANUDOEDEHE.

In October 2021, parallel congresses were held in the state, which produced two sets of executives; one led by STEPHEN NTUKEKPO and the other by AUSTIN EKANEM, with the former said to be loyal to AKPABIO, and the latter loyal to AKPANUDOEDEHE.

In February 2022, when Niger State Governor, ABUBAKAR SANI BELLO, took over as Acting National Chairman of the Caretaker Committee, EKANEM was sworn in as the party’s state chairman.

Shortly after, a Federal High Court in Abuja nullified the swearing-in of EKANEM and recognised NTUKEKPO as the party chairman.

Following the development, AKPANUDOEDEHE filed a suit seeking a stay of execution and he also appealed the judgment.

However, in April 2022, the APC national chairman, ABDULLAHI ADAMU swore in NTUKEKPO as the chairman of the party in Akwa Ibom State, despite an appeal court ruling ordering the parties involved to maintain status quo, pending determination of the matter.

Already, AKPANUDOEDEHE, who made efforts to clinch the governorship ticket of APC has defected and is now the governorship candidate of the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP).

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