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The All Progressives Congress (APC) National Working Council (NWC) has dumped the winner of the Yobe North senatorial district ticket, Bashir Sheriff Machina, and his counterpart in Akwa-Ibom North-West senatorial region, DIG Udom Udo Ekpoudom (retd).


Speaking in an interview with the Nigerian Tribune on Tuesday, national publicity secretary of the ruling party, Felix Morka, said the pair of Senate president, Ahmad Lawan, and the immediate past Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Honourable Godswill Akpabio, remained candidates for the party in Yobe North and Akwa-Ibom North West, respectively.


The place of the APC went against the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) claim that the Senate president and former minister of Niger Delta Affairs did not contest the valid primaries and could not have emerged candidates in their senatorial districts.

Both Lawan and Akpabio were presidential aspirants at the last June APC convention, where Bola Tinubu emerged as flag bearer.


Festus Okoye, national commissioner and chairman of voters education and publicity at the commission, in a recent interview, kept up with the fact that the ruling party had no candidates for Yobe North and Akwa Ibom North-West senatorial district.

He said: “In these two constituencies, two names were forwarded and the commission made a determination that the names were not persons who emerged from a validly conducted party primaries, and we did not publish their names. That is where we are.

“Their (Lawan and Akpabio) names were uploaded by the APC to our candidates’ nomination portal, but the commission made a determination that they were not the candidates that emerged from valid party primaries.

“The commission did not publish their names and their particulars in their constituencies. So, the implication is that as of today, the APC does not have candidates in those two constituencies.”


In the midst of speculation that INEC had accommodated the nominations of Lawan and Akpabio as candidates for the 2023 general election, the commission through Okoye likewise denied doctoring and backdating documents to oblige the nominations of the duo as senatorial candidates for the 2023 general election.


In Akwa Ibom, Ekpoudom and Akpabio had been making claims for the senatorial ticket of the APC. Ekpoudom has maintained that he appropriately partook in the Akwa Ibom North-West APC senatorial district primary held on May 27, 2022, in accordance with the 2023 election timetable and guidelines of the party.


Akpabio, nonetheless, asserted that he emerged the winner in the rescheduled primary for the same senatorial district.

The immediate past Resident Electoral Commissioner, Akwa Ibom State, Mr Mike Igini, was embroiled in a Cold War with the Akwa Ibom State faction of the APC, led by Mr Stephen Ntukekpo and the South-South zonal chairman, Victor Giadom, as Iginni insisted that INEC would only recognise the winner of the primaries it observed.

He denied the claim that INEC monitored the re-run APC primaries that produced Akpabio. He added, “The primary was concluded on the 27th of last month. The one that was conducted was monitored by INEC and the report has been submitted to Abuja. INEC is not aware of any senatorial primary conducted on Thursday (June 9) that was monitored by INEC.”


Morka, however, told the Nigerian Tribune that the party has the final say on valid candidates for the general election.


He said: “The party is the party and the party has conducted its primaries and submitted the list of its candidates to INEC. In the case of Akwa-Ibom North-West, Godswill Akpabio and in the case of Yobe North, we have the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan.”


Asked why Machina who won the Yobe North-East was dropped, the APC national publicity secretary declined further comments as he noted that there was a subsisting case in court.

He said: “I believe they are in court at the moment, that’s the last I heard, they are in court and I won’t speak to it. “ I have told you that Lawan is our senatorial candidate, I will like to leave it at that. They are in court and I would not like to be interrogated further on that.”



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