After a string of victory at the court, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Akwa Ibom has appealed to its members in the State House of Assembly to reach out to people who contested the election against them “for the good of the state”.
“Akwa Ibom people have been very supportive of our party through the years, renewing our mandate every four years since 1999. We cannot take this support for granted,” the party said.
The Chairman of the PDP in the state, Paul Ekpo, made the appeal on Friday in Uyo when he spoke with reporters about the judgments of the Court of Appeal, Calabar, on election petition cases involving the state lawmakers.
The Akwa Ibom House of Assembly consists of 26 members. The PDP has 24 of them and has won all its cases, except one, at the Appeal Court. The court nullified the decision of the election petition tribunal on the Mbo State Constituency and declared that the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate, Effiong Johnson, won the election in the area.
The PDP was victorious at the Appeal Court in the case of Essien Udim State Constituency, where Godswill Akpabio, an APC chieftain and the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, is from.
The appellate court set aside the decision of the tribunal which said the APC candidate, Nse Ntuen, be declared the winner. It ordered a rerun election in the constituency.
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The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had held back the announcement of results for the constituency election, citing electoral violence, manipulation, and vote-rigging.
The appellate court also ordered a rerun in one local government area in the election between Mr Akpabio and Chris Ekpenyong, the PDP candidate who truncated Mr Akpabio’s ambition to return to the Senate for a second term.
The PDP state chairman, Mr Ekpo, told journalists that his party has accepted “in good faith” all the court judgements, including the one that was unfavourable to them.
“To our successful Lawmakers, whose seats have been judicially confirmed, we urge them to see their mandate as a call to service and not a mark of superiority over their constituents,” Mr Ekpo said.
“They should endeavour to reach out to their fellow contestants and share knowledge for the good of the state. A reasonable victor must be magnanimous in victory. We must keep in mind that at the end of the tenure, the verdict of the people will be given on our performance.”
He congratulated the victorious lawmakers and thanked the legal department of the PDP in the state and the lawyers who represented the party and its candidates at the court.
He thanked the Akwa Ibom governor, Udom Emmanuel, for standing by the party and the candidates.
“To our party faithful in Mbo, I urge them to accept the judgement of the Court of Appeal reversing our victory at the polls and exhibit political maturity. They must ensure that a peaceful political environment is preserved in the best interest of the Akwa Ibom project,” Mr Ekpo said.
The PDP chairman said the party is prepared for the rerun elections in Essien Udim.
“We will go to these elections like we went to the previous, with the name of the Lord and as before, we will win again.
“Only God saw us through the most turbulent elections in our state’s history and we are more than certain that with HIM at the fore, our victory in all of the rerun elections is sure.
“Very soon we will roll out our campaign timetable which will be vigorously pursued. We charge our ward and chapter officers in Essien Udim to begin to energise our grassroots structures in preparation for our impending rollout,” he said.
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