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Why I haven’t congratulated Gov Eno on Supreme Court victory – NNPP governorship candidate

By admin Jan 30, 2024
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The 2023 governorship candidate of the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP) in Akwa Ibom State, John Akpanudoedehe said he was reluctant to congratulate Governor Umo Eno on his victory at the Supreme Court because of the “different interpretations” that people may give to it.

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had declared Mr Eno, the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as the winner of the 18 March 2023 governorship election in the state.

Mr Eno won in 29 of the 31 local government areas in the state, with a total of 354, 348 votes.

The Young Progressives Party candidate, Bassey Albert came second with 136, 262 votes. The All Progressives Congress candidate, Akanimo Udofia, followed with 129, 602 votes, while Mr Akpanudoedehe, of the NNPP, with 12, 509 votes, came fourth.

Dissatisfied with the outcome of the election, the opposition parties challenged the declaration of Mr Eno as the winner of the election but lost at the Election Tribunal and the Appeal Court.

The legal battle was laid to rest on 11 January when the Supreme Court validated Mr Eno’s election and dismissed the appeals filed by the opposition parties, including that of Mr Akpanudoedehe and his party, for lacking in merit.

In an interview with PREMIUM TIMES on Thursday, Mr Akpanudoedehe said he would love to congratulate the governor on his victory but because many people would think he has been bribed to do so.

“Not that I will not love to do it. We understand that politics is a sport. You must have the spirit of sportsmanship but the interpretation will be different. The Supreme Court has declared Mr Eno as governor, if you want to protest, you will protest to heaven because that is the final.

“You know I have a very large support base. People will say this your man before he did that he must have taken money from the PDP,” he said.

Asked if he is considering contesting in the 2027 governorship election, Mr Akpanudoedehe declined to offer a direct answer to the question.

“We’ve just finished one. The Supreme Court has just declared someone as governor. For now, it is governance. Give him space to govern, you don’t talk about politics. Don’t discuss the politics of 2027 because it is God that gives power,” he said.

Originally a member of PDP

Mr Akpanudoedehe is a former senator. He was originally a member of the PDP, a platform where he was elected a senator and later served as the minister of state for the FCT.

He was the director general of the governorship campaign committee of Godswill Akpabio (now Senate President) in 2007. He later fell out with Mr Akpabio and defected to the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), a platform he contested the 2011 governorship against Mr Akpabio, who contested under the PDP platform.

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For close to two decades, Mr Akpanudoedehe was the face of opposition politics in the state, after defecting from the PDP to the ACN which later metamorphosed into the APC.

He was a national secretary of the APC, a platform he aspired for the 2023 governorship election, but was outmanoeuvred by Mr Akpabio and others who helped Mr Udofia to win the party ticket despite Mr Udofia joining the party about a week before the party primary

The frustration triggered Mr Akpanudoedehe’s resignation from the APC and defection to the NNPP where he secured the party ticket for the 2023 election.

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