2nd September, 2015
The People’s Democratic Party (PDP) on Wednesday confirmed that it nominated former governor and Senate Minority Leader, Chief Godswill Akpabio, as candidate for Akwa Ibom North-West senatorial district in the 2015 general election and not Akwa Ibom North-East as written on his form by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
National Secretary of the party, Prof. Adewale Abiodun Oladipo, who appeared before the Justice Goddy Anunihu led Akwa Ibom State National and State Assembly Election Petition Tribunal in Abuja, added that, what was intended to be written and what ought to have been written in the Form besides the 1st respondents name was “AKS North-West Senatorial District” or “Ikot Ekpene Senatorial District”, but that instead of that, INEC national headquarters wrote Akwa Ibom North-East.
Chief Inibehe Okori, the All Progressives Congress senatorial candidate in Akwa Ibom North West is before the tribunal challenging the conduct of the senatorial election and declaration of Chief Godswill Akpabio as winner.
APC is contesting the fact that Akpabio contested for the senate in Akwa Ibom North-West/Ikot Ekpene Senatorial District with a form that read Akwa Ibom North-East.
In his statement, the PDP National Secretary told the tribunal that the PDP national headquarters wrote Akwa Ibom North-East Senatorial District on its forms.
Oladipo said despite the clerical error on Akpabio’s INEC Form CF 002C, INEC knew that the 1st respondent was nominated and sponsored by PDP for the Akwa Ibom North-West Senatorial District seat, because “INEC was present at the PDP primary that was won by the 1st respondent”.
Prof Oladipo told the tribunal that he is a member of the PDP National Caucus, National Executive Committee (NEC) as well as the National Working Committee (NWC) of the party and therefore privy to the internal workings and structure of the PDP.
“In regard to my duties and functions as the PDP National Secretary, the constitution of the People’s Democratic Party 2012 (as amended) stipulates in Section 36(1) that as the National Secretary of PDP, shall have responsibility to supervise the day-to-day activities of the party and conduct or direct conduct of correspondences of the party among others.
“Section 49 of the PDP’s Electoral Guidelines for Primary Elections 2014 also vests in the PDP National Chairman and National Secretary the exclusive joint responsibility of conveying final results of primary elections as approved by the National Executive Committee of the party containing a detailed list of party candidates for various elective public offices to the Independent National Electoral Commission,” he said.
The PDP scribe said that by virtue of his office and responsibilities, he was fully involved in all the processes leading to the PDP participation in and contest of offices in the 2015 general elections, including the party’s primary that “nominated Akpabio as PDP candidate for the senatorial election”.
Meanwhile Akpabio, who was billed to open his defence at the tribunal Tuesday, is out of the country for medical treatment abroad. Akpabio was involved in an auto crash in Abuja on Monday. Due to the development, he will now open his defence on September 12, 2015.
The tribunal’s ruling on whether or not to allow the petitioner tender forensic report on the outcome of the inspection order granted Chief Inibehe Okori to inspect, copy and scan election materials used in the conduct of the election earlier scheduled for Tuesday, was also rescheduled for September 5, 2015.