The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has insisted that the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio, remains the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the upcoming Akwa Ibom North-West rerun election.
The re-run elected ordered by the Court of Appeal is scheduled to hold on January 25, 2020.
The APC had picked a former member of the House of Representatives, Ekperikpe Ekpo, as Akpabio’s replacement for the rerun election.
But speaking to The Punch, INEC National Commissioner and Chairman of its Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye, said there was no room for withdrawal or substitution.
He said, “The commission has consistently maintained that only duly nominated candidates that contested the nullified election are eligible to contest the court-ordered rerun election. There is no room for withdrawal or substitution at this point.
“The votes of the parties in places not affected by the rerun are warehoused and on hold for integration with the votes that will be harvested during the rerun.
“Only candidates and political parties that contested the nullified election will be on the ballot. New political parties and candidates cannot be admitted into the contest.
“However, if any of the candidates passes on before the election, the commission will postpone the election and allow the party whose candidate died the opportunity to replace the candidate.”