All Progressives Congress (APC) in Akwa Ibom State has no governorship candidate for the general elections next year, according to an announcement by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
INEC’s announcement is contained in its publication of governorship candidates posted on a notice board at its office along Udo Udoma Avenue in Uyo, the Akwa Ibom State capital.
According to the list, which was signed by INEC’s Secretary, Rose Oriaran Anthony, Umo Eno of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) was cleared for the governorship election and his name published alongside Akon Eyakenyi as the deputy governorship candidate, but that of the APC was left blank.
The commission did not provide reasons why the party did not have a candidate for the governorship poll in the state but checks showed that APC has been embroiled in an intra-party crisis, which resulted in two separate governorship primaries.
A major contender and former Interim National Secretary of the APC, John James Udoedehe, in the aftermath of the crisis that greeted the party’s primaries, moved to the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP) as its governorship candidate and his name has been published by the commission.
The other contender, Ita Solomon Enang, former aide to President Muhammadu Buhari, is currently in court, challenging the alleged nomination of Akan Udofia as the party’s governorship candidate.
Enang had claimed that Udofia was a governorship aspirant on the ticket of the PDP two days to the APC governorship primary, adding that Udofia should not have been nominated to fly the party’s flag.
Udofia, a businessman, has already picked Victor Antai as his running mate and has been busy consulting stakeholders ahead of the campaigns before his name was dropped by INEC in a recent list of governorship candidates.
With the absence of the APC in the governorship election, observers say it will likely be a three-horse race between the PDP governorship candidate, Eno, the candidate of the Young Progressives Party (YPP), Akpan, and the governorship candidate of the NNPP, Udoedehe.
In all, 36 governorship candidates drawn from 36 political parties are contesting the election according to the list published by the commission.
Some of the governorship candidates cleared are Ekpo Ita Bassey of the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) and Udo Anietie Augus as his deputy; Ezekiel Nya Etok of African Democratic Congress (ADC) and Iboro Otu Robert of the AAC.