Godswill Akpabio, Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, has said the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) should be held responsible for the violence which characterised the Akwa-Ibom North-West senatorial rerun election on Saturday.
Akpabio, who is the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) but announced his withdrawal from the polls, said this in a statement issued by Anietie Ekong, his Chief Press Secretary, on Saturday.
There have been reports of violence in Essien Udim Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State, where the rerun was conducted, with a journalist reportedly assaulted and his camera damaged.
But Akpabio wondered why such activity was being linked to him since he announced that he has withdrawn from the rerun.
He insisted that he is not monitoring the rerun election in Essien Udim as he is currently in Uyo, the state capital.
The statement read: “The news linking Senator Godswill Akpabio to any rerun election in Essien Udim Local Government Area is fake.
“It is well known that because of higher national responsibilities as a Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Akpabio had withdrawn his candidature from the said election.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, Nse Ntuen and Emmanuel Akpan have written to announce their withdrawal from the elections.
“And just yesterday (Friday), the State Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, Ini Okopido at a widely publicised 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?”
The minister claimed that the violence was orchestrated by the PDP, adding that the party plans to blackmail him as the perpetrator and sponsor of the disorderliness.
“We have however gathered that PDP sponsored thugs were planning to carry out a sinister plot during the rerun elections and link it to Senator Akpabio.
“Security agencies should be on the watch out for miscreants and sponsored thugs, apprehend them and visit the full weight of the law on them,” the statement added.