Apart from a serving senator, Nelson Effiong, no other aspirant has been cleared by the All Progressives Congress (APC) to contest the party’s primary for the Akwa Ibom South District.
Mr Effiong, who was first elected senator on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) before his defection to the APC, will, therefore, run unopposed in the primary holding on Wednesday.
A former state chairman of PDP, Otu Toyo, who defected to APC since 2015, was one of the two persons who bought nomination form for the primary.
The other is Victor Antai, a former commissioner in the state who was sacked from the state executive council two months ago by Governor Udom Emmanuel for shifting his loyalty to a senator, Godswill Akpabio, when Mr Akpabio defected from the PDP to the APC.
The party has not given any reason for disqualifying the two aspirants.
People interviewed by PREMIUM TIMES on the issue said Messrs Toyo and Antai had higher chances of winning the election against the incumbent senator.
PREMIUM TIMES could not immediately reach the aspirants or the party for their comments.
Mr Toyo, during an interview with PREMIUM TIMES last month, had appealed to the APC and the people of the district to ensure that only the best is given the party ticket for the 2019 senate race.
Akwa Ibom, he said, had not been fortunate to have good representation at the National Assembly.
“Akwa Ibom can’t afford to be like this; we have such good, intelligent, qualified people, why do we send the people we sent? That is self-inflicted, nobody sends them for us,” he said, adding that the time had come for things to be done differently in the oil-rich state.
“In the next assembly, I am expecting that Akwa Ibom will send three very serious people to the Senate because this is a chance in about four generations. The last time Nigeria was restructured was about 1914, it is 104 years now. If we miss that next time, we will probably have to wait another 100 years. And so, we can’t afford to toy with this one,” he said.
The senator representing the Akwa Ibom North-West District, Mr Akpabio, is also running unopposed for the APC ticket; all other aspirants stepped down for him.
For the Akwa Ibom North-East District, three aspirants were cleared by the party to contest for its ticket. They are Kufre Etuk, a former member who represented Uruan State Constituency in the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly; Emmanuel Ekpenyong, a former member of the House of Representatives; and James Ekpe.