Of all the 26 State Constituencies of the Akwa Ibom State Legislature, Essien Udim State Constituency remains the sole Constituency that would be participating in the soon approaching Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) scheduled supplementary elections.
Under normal circumstances, only one reason will determine INEC’S declaration of an election as being inconclusive.
According to the provisions of “Margin of Lead” contained in sections 26 and 53 of the Electoral Act and Paragraph 41(e) and 43(b) of INEC Regulations and Guidelines, “the Commission cannot declare a winner if the number of cancelled votes can mathematically affect the outcome of the election”.
Adversely, the inconclusiveness of Essien Udim State Constituency’s result between Barr. Ese Umoh of Peoples Democratic Party and Nse Ntuen of All progressives Congress in the last election was characterised by election malpractices, snatching of election materials, assaults and abduction of INEC officials and the use of Armed Forces and the police by Senator Godswill Obot Akpabio and other APC chieftains in Essien Udim Local Government Area as alleged by peoples Democratic Party, Essien Udim chapter, demostic and international election observers in the State.
With all indications, it looks like the supplementary election will not favour Mr. Ntuen of the APC given the outcome of February 23rd Presidential and NASS elections and March 9 gubernatorial and State House of Assembly elections in the State where PDP unreservedly clinched the 3 Senatorial Districts seats, 10 Federal House of Representatives positions, 25 seats out of the 26 State Constituencies and above all, re-election of Governor Udom Emmanuel for a second term bid, APC is doomed in the State.
Among Ntuen’s sins in the eyes of Akwa Ibom populace is his pivotal role last year in the desecration of the Hallowed Chambers of Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly alongside other four sacked Members of the House, where he paraded himself as the factional speaker of the House following their “self-made” defection, earleir last year.
Mr. Ntuen has over the years been the source of frustration for Essien Udim people, he enjoys the backing of Sen. Godswill Akpabio to the detriment of qualified persons who have genuine blueprints for bettering the lots of the people, but political godfatherism have been eluding them the slightest opportunity of rendering their stewardship to the people.
But all that has come to an end, with the shameful and shocking defeat of Sen. Akpabio at the poll by His, Excellency, Engr. Chris Ekpenyong, former Deputy Governor of the State, and currently, Sentor-elect for Ikot Ekpene Senatorial District, Mr. Ntuen is on a lone journey as his principal, Sen. Godswill Akpabio who defected from PDP to APC is currently battling for his own political survival.
It is also worthy of note that INEC will at this point beam its search light on Essien Udim to ensure the election process in the remaining 9 out of the 11 wards is carried out creditably. Also, there is certainty that Army and other security agents will not be complicit after being condemned of assaults on indigenes of Essien Udim Local Government Area in the last elections.
According to our findings, in a non-binding opinion poll conducted randomly on Essien Udim Constituents, Mr. Ntuen has no edge in the forthcoming supplementary elections, with his present court case on alleged certificate forgery, he is mostly distracted and dearth of funds to stand firm for the election.
There’s more than enough reasons for PDP faithfuls in Essien Udim to be cheerful, with the fact that supplementary elections are always democratic, credible and the choice of the people held and never a time has supplementary elections seen as a game changer, atleast, not in Akwa Ibom State.
The case of Ukanafun 2015 is a recent typical example of State House of Assembly supplementary election in Akwa Ibom State. In 2015, Ukanafun State House of Assembly election was between the incumbent, Hon. Otobong Akpan of Peoples Democratic Party and late Obong Okon Uwah (may his soul rest in peace) of the All Progressives Congress. The accidental demised of Okon Uwah automatically ushered in his significant-order into the race which took the form of supplementary.
History has it that Hon. Otobong Akpan had a landslide victory over his opponent of the APC. It was believed then by some quarters of the State that the APC candidate would enjoy sympathy-votes from her constituents as a compensation for the loss of the husband, but the reverse was the case, Hon. Otobong Akpan won, a clear picture buttressing Akwa Ibom State as PDP State against all odds.
Certainly, history has a way of repeating itself and the case will not be different in the underway Essien Udim State Constituency supplementary election, better still, it is within the confines of Ikot Ekpene Senatorial District.
Yes, APC’s rating following the outcome of last elections is relatively very low and their chances of winning this election very slim. Again the APC has no strong standard-bearer and is widely viewed as rudderless since Senator Godswill Obot Akpabio’s shock defeat on Febraury 23, 2019.
Above all, Akwa Ibom people and not just Essien Udim State Constituency is roaring like a fighter jet engine in defending her democracy against all forms of intimidation, thuggery and imposition of unqualified persons to occupy the representative seat of the people.
Also, PDP in the State has seen the need to win the only one remaining State Constituency seat for oneness of party, purpose and direction in the seventh Assembly of the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly.
Needless to say, a defeat for Nse Ntuen would be significant given his long presence in political cycle. He started from serving as Essien Udim Transition Committee Chairman, occupying the juicy office of the Chairman, Association of Local Governments of Nigeria (ALGON) Akwa Ibom State throughout the 8 years of Sen. Godswill Akpabio’s adminstration as the Governor of Akwa Ibom to representing Essien Udim State Constituency at the sixth Assembly of the State Legislature before his recent sack from the House, Mr. Ntuen has been the State’s longest serving chairman of ALGON.
The forthcoming supplementary election of Essien Udim State Constituency will reveal that Ese Umoh’s presence in the constituency’s race was not just a wake-up call to APC but the beginning of the end of an imposing long political career for Mr. Ntuen