The candidate of the All Progressives Congress in the rerun election for Oron/Udung Uko State constituency of Akwa Ibom state, has withdrawn from the race, few hours to the poll.
Voting in the election started at 8a.m. Saturday (today).
Victor Okon told a press conference on Friday afternoon that he was withdrawing from the election for “very personal reason”.
Mr. Okon also announced that he had resigned his membership of the APC.
He surprisingly also congratulated his erstwhile opponent, the Peoples Democratic Party candidate, Effiong Bassey, in advance.
Mr. Bassey had won the House of Assembly election conducted on April 11, 2015, and went on to become deputy speaker of the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly.
But Mr. Okon challenged his election at the election tribunal and at the Court of Appeal which voided it, and ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission to conduct a rerun.
Immediately after the Friday press conference, Mr. Okon was said to have been led by the former minister for housing, Akon Eyakenyi and the Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs in Akwa Ibom state, Victor Attai, to the PDP candidate’s house where they celebrated the ‘victory’ and took some photographs together.
The Chairman of the APC in the state, Amadu Atai, has asked INEC to reschedule the election so that his party could present another candidate for it.
“Despite the treacherous acts of our former candidate which culminated in his formal withdrawal from participation in the election on Friday 11th March, 2016, the party has not waived its constitutional right to participate and sponsor a candidate for the rerun election,” Mr. Atai said, in his letter to INEC.
“We are mindful of the fact that the ninety days period given to the Commission by the Court of Appeal to conduct the rerun election in its judgment delivered on Saturday 21st December, 2015 will not elapse until or not earlier than the 18th of March, 2016,” the letter added.
It is unclear if INEC will reschedule the election in Oron/Udung Uko State Constituency or not.
The rerun election is also holding today in four other state constituencies – Etinan, Ibesikpo/Asutan, Ikot Ekpene/Obot Akara, and Itu.