By Alexandra Dominic-Chukwu
Enugu, Nigeria (VOICE OF NAIJA)- Udom Ekpoudom, a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Akwa Ibom State, says the former Niger Delta Affairs Minister, Senator Godswill Akpabio, is the reason the party does not have a governorship candidate in the state.
Ekpoudom, a retired Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG) who claims to be the party’s senatorial candidate of Akwa Ibom Northwest, spoke at the weekend in Uyo, the state capital.
According to him, Akpabio allegedly manipulated the governorship primaries to install his preferred candidate.
He accused the former minister of hijacking the materials for the primaries and diverted the exercise to another venue other than the venue that was recognised by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
When asked if he was worried that APC does not have a governorship candidate in Akwa Ibom State, Ekpoudom said: “I am very worried about that. This is the handiwork of my brother (Akpabio)”
The former police chief also alleged that APC youths got information that some people wanted to divert the materials for the primary to rig the poll.
The former DIG said when the suspected election riggers arrived, they did not carry the election materials to the Sheer Grace venue but to another place.
He said, when the youth directed the suspects to the INEC office, they refused, saying they wanted to go to the Department of State Services (DSS) office.
“So, it was getting late. I remember when the state’s Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) Mike Igini put a call to the Director of DSS, he confirmed that they were there.
“They said they came with a man in charge of Abuja and he spoke with him and the man said he couldn’t do election that day because they were traumatised.
“So, around 11 p.m, we had to go. But we were told the following morning that the election had been done. How?
“So, it was the handiwork of Akpabio and many people were not there. So, INEC is saying the correct thing. I will be very sad, if APC dies and can’t have a governorship candidate at the end of the day. The blame will go to Akpabio.”
But Akpabio, through his Chief Press Secretary, Jackson Udom, dismissed the allegation.
He said, “We understand the frustration the former police chief is currently going through with his phantom senatorial candidacy. The frustration has made him to embark on a trip for cheap recognition and unmerited sympathy.
“We will advise retired DIG Udom Ekpoudom to focus his energy on blaming those who took him on political wild goose chase, abandoned him to sink deep into political irrelevance, while they seek political succour for negotiation on another platform and not on the former Minister.”