The Managing Director of Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Mr. Nsima Ekere has emerged the winner of the governorship primary election of the All Progressives’ Congress (APC) held in the 329 wards of Akwa Ibom State on Sunday.
Announcing the primary results during a news conference at the APC State Secretariat in Uyo on Monday, the Chairman of the Gubernatorial Primary Election Committee for Akwa Ibom State, Barr. Yamah Momoh, said Ekere polled 160,458 votes to defeat his closest challenger and former NDDC Managing Director, Barr. Bassey Dan-Abia, who trailed behind with 4,189 votes, in the direct primary.
Former Minister of State for the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, Senator John Udoedehe, finished third with 2,015 votes, closely followed by Dr. Edet Efretuei who scored 1,234 votes.
Ekere won in 29 of the 31 local government areas of the state, losing narrowly with 332 votes (2,331 to 2,663) in Esit Eket, Dan-Abia’s local government area.
The result of Uyo, home local government area of Udoedehe, was cancelled following violence, no voting and counter-petitions by two rival groups.
Momoh pointed out that Akwa Ibom APC was the first in the country to successfully conduct its governorship primary election using the direct primary mode and commended the aspirants and party leaders for ensuring that their supporters conducted themselves peacefully.
He advised aggrieved persons, especially those who filed the two counter-petitions in Uyo to channel their grievances to the Governorship Primary Election Appeal Committee within 72 hours.
Accepting the nomination, Ekere dedicated it to the party faithful who voted overwhelmingly for him.
He declared that there was no victor or vanquished in the contest and extended an olive branch to other contestants in the primary.
His words: “The nomination process has brought no victor, no vanquished. I extend my hands of fellowship to all. We shall begin immediately to heal the wounds of the nomination process. I will ensure that all aspirants are carried along. We must work together. We must plan together to win the election.”
The APC State Caucus Chairman, Atuekong Don Etiebet, said the primary election results were not unexpected, given the tremendous outpouring of support for Ekere during the various rallies by the party in recent times.
The APC State Chairman, Mr. Ini Okopido, said the primary was the freest, fairest and most transparent in the history of Akwa Ibom State, stressing that original election result sheets were released alongside other ballot materials to the 329 wards of the state.
Present during the event were APC chieftains including the Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly (Senate) Matters, Senator Ita Enang, the Managing Director of Oil and Gas Free Zones Authority, Mr. Umana Umana, the NDDC Commissioner for Akwa Ibom State, Mr. Samuel Frank, the Chairman of Uyo Senatorial District Elders’ Forum, Otuekong Sunny Jackson Udoh, Senator Aloysius Etok and Members of the APC State Executive Committee.
The Resident Electoral Commissioner for Akwa Ibom State, Mr. Mike Igini, observed the event.