An aspirant in the just concluded governorship primaries of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Akwa Ibom State, Senator John James Akpan Udoedehe, has rejected the result of the election as announced by the committee which conducted it, declaring the Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Nsima Ekere, as the winner.
The committee, headed by Yamah Momoh, on Monday said Mr Ekere scored 160,458 across the state, out of 167,896 valid votes, while his closest rival, Bassey Dan-Abia, a former managing director of NDDC, had 4,189 votes.
Mr. Udoedeghe and another aspirant, Edet Effretuei, had 2,015 and 1,234 votes respectively, while eight votes were voided in the primary.
“I am rejecting the result in totality,” Mr Udoedehe told reporters in his residence in Uyo, shortly after Mr Ekere was declared winner.
The former minister, who said he has petitioned the National Working Committee (NWC) of the APC on it, said the primary was characterised by “outright rigging, misuse of the police force, and high-level corruption.”
He said he hopes to get justice from the party and lamented that he has been unfairly treated, despite his numerous contribution to the APC.
“In 2015, John Oyegun, came to this town and presented Umana Okon Umana before me, and said this is the new face of APC in the state. It was unwarranted.
“What do they have against me? They told me ‘Oh, Umana has money, you don’t have money!’ Today, it is the same thing. Must I be the managing director of NDDC to steal money before you know I have money to run election?’
“The system cannot continually be against one man; I have done nothing wrong, rather I have sacrificed so much for this party. What kind of evil is that?” he said, adding that he has only been betrayed, but not defeated.
Mr Udoedehe told reporters that the Senior Special Adviser to President Muhammadu Buhari on National Assembly Matters (Senate), Sen. Ita Enang, bit his finger and wounded him when election materials were about to be distributed at the APC state secretariat, along Ikot Ekpene Road, Uyo, on Sunday.
The presidential aide is an APC chieftain from Akwa Ibom. He is one of the major backers of Mr Ekere’s governorship ambition.
“The instruction from the primary committee was that only aspirants and their agents should be present at the point where sensitive materials were to be distributed inside the party secretariat.
Others who were there left because they were asked to. I turned to Ita Enang and asked him to leave since he wasn’t an aspirant, or a party official or an agent to any of the aspirants.
“Ita Enang suddenly grabbed my hand and bit my finger,” he said while displaying his thumb for reporters to see the plaster on it.
Mr Udoedehe said he went to the hospital and got treated for bite injury.
“And now, he is trying to paint the picture that I fought him, which, of course, is not true,” he said.