Godswill Akpabio, Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, says he has no interest in the ongoing rerun election for Akwa Ibom north-west senatorial district.
The minister, who was the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate in the initial poll, insisted he has withdrawn from the poll, contrary to a directive from the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
Akpabio had informed INEC he is withdrawing from the rerun which was announced after he had been appointed minister.
But the commission said he remains a candidate and cannot be replaced by his party. It said this is because the time for nomination of candidates had elapsed.
However, in a statement by Anietie Ekong, his chief press secretary, Akpabio distanced himself from the poll while also denying the rumour linking him to irregularities in the ongoing exercise.
He said: “It is well known that because of higher national responsibilities as Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Akpabio had withdrawn his candidature from the said election. He was replaced by the APC with Obongemem Ekperikpe Ekpo.
“The other candidates who were scheduled for the elections, Rt Hon Nse Ntuen and Rt. Hon Emmanuel Akpan have written to announce their withdrawal from the elections.
”And just yesterday, the State Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Hon Ini Okopido at a widely publicized press conference announced that the APC will not participate in the rerun elections.
“So on what basis would any sane human being link Senator Akpabio to whatever is happening in Essien Udim Local Government Area?”
Ekong said Akpabio is not in the LGA, and “has no interest whatsoever in what is going on there”.