It is official. Godswill Akpabio, a senator from Akwa Ibom State, has lost his bid to return to the Senate for a second term.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Tuesday afternoon finally declared Mr Akpabio’s opponent, Chris Ekpenyong, the winner of the election in Akwa Ibom North-West District.
The INEC declaration was done at the commission’s headquarters in Uyo.
There was suspense and tension in the state after INEC suspended the release of the result of the election in which both the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the PDP claimed victory.
According to the result announced by the returning officer, Peter Oban, a professor, Mr Akpabio, a former governor of the state, scored 83,158 votes, while Mr Ekpenyong scored 118,215 votes.
The INEC spokesperson in Akwa Ibom, Don Etukudoh, told PREMIUM TIMES the commission had to declare the election result in Uyo because of the “security situation” in the Akwa Ibom North-West District.
The Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) in Akwa Ibom, Mike Igini, had said earlier on Monday, INEC would not declare the election result in Uyo because of legal implication.
“The results are ready, but INEC can’t declare it in Uyo. The law says the election results must be declared at the senatorial district,” Mr Igini had told journalists at the state collation centre in Uyo.
“The report we are getting about the security situation in Ikot Ekpene is that it is not okay for INEC to go there and announce results,” he added.
Mr Akpabio has already petitioned the INEC over what he described as unfair treatment by the REC against the APC.
PDP’s candidate, Nsikak Ekong, has also won the House of Representatives election in Mr Akpabio’s Ikot Ekpene Federal Constituency.
Mr Ekong defeated the incumbent, Emmanuel Akpan of the APC, with 29,849 votes. Mr Akpan scored 22,056 votes, according to the result announced also in Uyo by INEC.