OrderPaperToday – The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has said that the minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio, remains the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate for a scheduled rerun election in Akwa Ibom North-West District on Saturday.

This was contained in a letter by the commission, signed by its secretary, Rose Oriaran-Anthony and addressed to the APC in December.

Akpabio lost the general elections in February 2019 to Chris Ekpenyong, candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

Following his objection to the outcome of the result filed at the Court of Appeal, Calabar in November,  a rerun was ordered in only one local government area, Essien Udim, in the district.

At the time of the judgment, Akpabio had been appointed minister by President  Muhammadu Buhari and based on his new role, he withdrew from the race and asked INEC to replace him with Ekperikpe Luke Ekpo in the rerun.

Responding to this in the letter, INEC said: “Your letter dated 10 December, 2019, wherein you forwarded nomination forms of one Hon. Ekperikpe Luke Ekpo as substitute candidate of your party for the court-ordered rerun refers.

“Please note that the last day for the withdrawal/substitution of candidates for the 2019 National Assembly elections and the said period has lapsed.

“Further, the said rerun election is to be conducted amongst the same political parties and candidates who participated in the nullified elections.

“Consequent upon the above, the commission cannot accede to your request and Sen. Godswill Akpabio remains the candidate of the APC for the Akwa Ibom North West Senatorial District court-ordered rerun election.”

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