Joe Effiong, Uyo

The All Progressives Congress (APC) has described the last Saturday rerun election for Essien Udim state constituency of Akwa Ibom State as null and void and of no effect since the case was already in court.

In the rerun election, the PDP candidate, Mr Esse Umoh, was declared the winner after polling 18,999 votes to beat the APC candidate and former factional speaker of Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly, Mr Nse Ntuen, who polled only 7,108 votes.

But the state publicity secretary of the APC, Mr Nkereuwem Enyongekere, told our correspondent that the party had already obtained and served the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) a court injunction with regard to Essien Udim state constituency election since Ntuen was already an elected member to the state House of Assembly for the constituency.

“We cannot talk about that election for now because we are already in court. Our candidate had been declared a winner of the election in March,” Enyongekere said.

“No court or the tribunal or Court of Appeal ever nullified his election. So the Saturday’s election was an exercise in futility,” Enyongekere said.

He distanced the APC from the violence reported in Essien Udim and the alleged diversion of polling materials and kidnap of electoral officers to the residence of an APC chieftain and a former commissioner in the state from the area.

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According to him, it is habitual for the PDP to look for someone to blame for the party’s own orchestrated election violence.

He said the APC could not react to the allegation of diverting of materials and kidnapping of election officials because its candidates had already withdrawn from the election and, therefore, had no reason to have tried to rig it.

The INEC, however, has said nobody was declared the winner of the Essien Udim state constituency in the March 2019 election because it was inconclusive.

The Public Affairs Officer of the Commission in the state, Mr Don Etukudoh, said only about 22 out more than 130 polling units had valid election results while the rest were not acceptable.

“So the court gave judgment on the senatorial and House of Reps election but advised us to go back and do what we ought to have done, which is conducting a rerun. So last Saturday, what we did was to even obey the court order.

“But anybody can go to court. It is their right. We can wait and see what the court would say. But as far as we are concerned, we have done what we ought to have done by concluding the election in Essien Udim state constituency,” Etukudoh said.