The 2023 Gubernatorial polls in Akwa Ibom state have been won by the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP), marking their continued dominance in the state since the return of democracy in 1999. The PDP secured a total vote of 354,348, outdoing 17 other political parties in the region.
In a statement made by the State Collation Officer, Professor Emmanuel Adigioh, Vice Chancellor of the Nigerian Maritime University, Okerenkoko, Delta State, the Young Progressive Party came in second place with 136,262 votes, while the All Progressive Congress (APC) came in third with a total of 129,602 votes. The PDP also secured a victory in Essien Udim, which is considered a stronghold of Senator Godswill Akpabio, an APC chieftain and Senator-Elect on the platform of APC.
In addition, the APC Governorship candidate, Obong Akan Udofia, and his Deputy, Rt. Hon. Victor Antai lost their respective local government areas to the PDP, while the YPP Governorship candidate, Obong Bassey Akpan, emerged victorious in his Ibiono In local government area.
The State Returning Officer, Professor Emmanuel Adejoh, the Vice Chancellor of the Nigerian Maritime University, announced the results at 5.10 pm in Okerenkoko, Delta State. He declared: “The Governorship candidate of the PDP, Umo Bassey Eno, having satisfied the requirement of the law by scoring 354,348 votes, is hereby the winner and returned elected as the governor of the state.”
However, the APC agent, Ekperikpe Ekpo, rejected the results of the election, citing reports of thuggery, violence, and cancellations due to electoral infractions and destruction of materials amidst a low turnout of voters. Similarly, the YPP agent, Ambassador Kelvin Umoh, also rejected the outcome, claiming that INEC did not follow due process in the conduct of the polls. “Elections were conducted in people’s houses in Ini, Uyo, and Itu, and we will take legal means to seek redress,” he stated.
Overall, the PDP’s victory in the 2023 Gubernatorial polls is a significant milestone for the party, consolidating its position as a dominant political force in the region. However, the rejection of the election results by other political parties indicates that there may be contentious issues that require resolution through legal means. The outcome of the election, therefore, marks the beginning of a new phase of political activity in the state, as the PDP looks to consolidate its hold on power, while other parties seek to challenge the results and secure their own political influence.