With the withdrawal of Akpabio from the race, many would have thought that winning would be an easy task for senator Ekpenyong. But checks by Igbere TV shows that reverse is the case.
Already, a coalition of major opposition political parties and power brokers in the state, with top businessmen as sponsors, have emerged to wrestle power from the PDP senator.
To achieve more, the coalition is seeking the blessings of Senator Akpabio, who is now a minister, to cripple the PDP and its candidate’s chances in the election.
A senior aide of the honourable minister, who spoke to our correspondent over the telephone, confirmed the development.
“Due to circumstances, His Excellency (Akpabio) may be out of the race physically but he is still 100 per cent in the race ‘spiritually’, his pride is at stake. He can not fold his hands and watch Ekpenyong and PDP ridicule him in his backyard”, said the aide.
The rerun election is to be conducted strictly in Essien Udim, Akpabio’s council area which is totally out of the jurisdiction for the PDP candidate, who is from Obot Akara local government.
Checks by Igbere TV on Sunday shows that the Senator won’t be voting on the election day, neither would there be opportunity for him to influence the outcome, coming from an entirely different local government.
Investigations by this online medium equally shows that majority of other political party candidates for the Akwa Ibom North-West poll, are from Akpabio’s Essien Udim.
Comrade Imoh Ekpo, chairman Coalition of Senatorial District Candidates, Ikot-Ekpene senatorial district (Mega Party of Nigeria), confirmed the development.
He said, “I’m fully convinced that Essien Udim people will never leave their own sons from the council and be voting candidate from another local government… This election is going to be conducted in just their LGA so I am certain they will take the lead.
“The chances of Chris Ekpenyong returning as senator is very slim. Don’t forget that the (126,000) voting strength in Essien Udim is big enough to declare anybody winner in any given election.”
Igbere TV reliably gathered that people of the locality have met with other political parties and mobilizing heavily to deliver a block vote for a particular candidate from Abak3. Abak3 is said to have been marginalized for a long time and stakeholders in the area see this as opportunity to correct the injustice.
Already, a high-level committee has been set up comprising of prominent grassroot politicians as mobilization chairmen with the mandate to mobilize at least 500 voters per unit for the elections.
Essien Udim local government area has about 189 units, with 11 wards. At least 126,000 votes are expected from the local government January 25.
Meanwhile, there is a brewing rift between Senator Ekpenyong and his party, PDP hierarchy. The Senator is said to have failed to return home to familiarize with his constituents ahead Jan. 25, and with no viable project to boast with in the constituency.
Our source said the ruling PDP in Akwa Ibom had some time requested for funds to prosecute the election but the senator rebuffed the party leadership.
His performance in the February 2019 election is said to be largely on the goodwill and effort of Governor Udom Emmanuel, but with the Governor’s second term mandate securely in the kitty following the Supreme court verdict, and Akpabio out of the race, insiders say Udom does not want Ekpeyong back.
Contacted, a source close to the senator’s office, who pleaded anonymity said Ekpenyong has been calling on his supporters to give him sympathy vote owing to the demise of his wife.
“His Excellency, Senator Chris Ekpenyong representing Akwa Ibom North-West has been very relaxed and reluctant about the (forthcoming) polls.
“He has been begging for sympathy votes from his supporters, claiming he has been conducting the burial of his wife which he said cost him a whole lot of money.
“…But how can that be? Even his party (PDP) summoned and asked him for money, but he said he had no money to part with. He is maybe waiting to ride on the governor’s goodwill again. But Mr. Governor is not on the ballot. So, how does he (Ekpenyong) hope to win?”, the source said.
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