By Okon Bassey
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has declared Dr. Christopher Stephen Ekpenyong of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as the winner of the re-run election in Akwa Ibom (Ikot Ekpene) North West Senatorial District.
The PDP candidate in the re-run election held on Saturday in Essien Udim Local Government area polled a total of 134,717 votes to beat his closest rival, the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), who scored 83,820 votes.
“I therefore declared that Ekpenyong Christopher Stephen of PDP having satisfied the requirement of the law is hereby declared the winner and returned elected,” the Returning Officer for the election, Prof. Robert Dode said.
Similarly, the candidate of the PDP, Nsikak Ekong, was declared the winner of the Ikot Ekpene/Obot Akara/Essien Udim federal constituency re-run election in the state.
In the election contested by 19 political parties, the PDP candidate secured a total of 45,356 votes to beat the candidate of APC, Emman Akpan, who got 22,757 votes.
“I Prof. Idara Akpabio certifies that I am the Returning Officer of Ikot Ekpene/Obot Akara/Essien Udim federal constituency election held on the 25th January, 2020 and that Ekong Nsikak of PDP having satisfied the requirements of the law is hereby declared the winner and is returned elected,” he said.
Also, the candidate of the PDP, Esse Umoh, won the state House of Assembly election scoring 18,999 votes against the 7,108 votes scored by the candidate of APC, Nse Ntuen.
The result was announced by the INEC Returning Officer, Prof Victor Ebong.
The Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio, had earlier announced his withdrawal from the re-run election.
The state chapter of APC had on Friday also announced its withdrawal from the election citing lack of confidence in INEC to conduct a credible poll.
Reacting to his election, Ekpenyong described his victory and that of other PDP candidates in the court-ordered rerun elections in Essien Udim Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State as an ‘act of God’.
He thanked God, the giver of victory, for seeing him through the entire political debacle since September 2, 2018, saying: “My victory has put agents of darkness to shame.”
Ekpenyong expressed his commitment to effective representation of the district in particular and Akwa Ibom in general at the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
He lauded President Muhammadu Buhari for keeping to his promise of allowing a free and fair re-run election in Akwa Ibom State and urged the president to uphold these important values in order to strengthen and deepen democracy in Nigeria.
“I also specifically thank the security agencies and Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) headed by Mr. Mike Igini and his team in Akwa Ibom State for remaining resolute and not allowing blackmails to deter them from discharging their responsibilities fairly to the people of Akwa Ibom State.
“I thank Governor Udom Emmanuel, leader of PDP in Akwa Ibom State, the chairman and entire leadership of PDP in the state, the Director-General and leadership of Divine Mandate Organization, the leadership of Ubokutom Abasi 2019 Campaign Organization, party leaders, elders, women, youths of Ikot Ekpene Senatorial District, my sponsors and supporters both at home and in the Diaspora for standing by me,” he said.
Also speaking, the winner of Ikot Ekpene Federal Constituency, Ekong, praised his supporters for reinforcing their belief in him and his party, PDP and assured them of effective leadership for the constituency.
Ekong also commended President Buhari for keeping his promise of ensuring a level playing field for the re-run elections.