The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has suspended the announcement of results in Akwa Ibom North-West District, where Godswill Akpabio contested for re-election.
An INEC official in the state told PREMIUM TIMES, Sunday night, that Mr Akpabio’s challenger, Chris Ekpenyong of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), was leading in the results announced so far before the commission took a decision to suspend further announcement.
“We are having some issues with the election in Essien Udim Local Government Area,” said the official who did not want his name mentioned in this report because he was not authorised to speak on the matter.
“If we accept the results from the local government area, Akpabio’s votes will overshoot that of Chris Ekpenyong.
“There are issues in the results which we are yet to be resolved,” the official said.
Messrs Akpabio and Ekpenyong are yet to speak on the development.
Essien Udim, where Mr Akpabio comes from, is said to be one of the local government areas with a large voter’s population in the state.
The senator in a result released on Saturday by INEC in his own polling unit, Ukana West Ward 2, scored 1, 533 votes, while Mr Ekpenyong, a former deputy governor of the state, scored just four votes.
Mr Akpabio’s party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), before the commencement of the elections, had accused the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) in Akwa Ibom, Mike Igini, of being partisan in favour of the PDP.
The APC had called for Mr Igini’s re-deployment from the state.
The PDP responded by saying the APC was agitated because the REC refused to be “compromised” by the party.
Mr Igini has a reputation in Nigeria as being an incorruptible electoral officer.
If Mr Akpabio fails to win re-election, it would be a major political upset in the state.