By G9ija

Governor Udom Emmanuel preferred successor, Umo Eno, Wednesday, won the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governorship primary in Akwa Ibom State.

Eno, a former commissioner for lands and water resources in the state, scored 993 votes to clinch the party ticket for the 2023 governorship election.

His closest defeat rivals, Onofiok Luke, and Akan Okon, tied on three votes each in a primary that recorded two void votes from the 1,018 delegates accredited for the exercise.

With the victory, Eno will fly the PDP flag as the gubernatorial candidate of the party in the state in March 2023.

Declaring the winner, Philip Shuaibu, the deputy governor of Edo State and chairman of the governorship primary, said Eno satisfied the conditions of the party guidelines and has been declared the winner.

In his victory speech, Eno, who became emotional, promised to consolidate on the achievements of Emmanuel.

He thanked the governor for seeing what others could not see in him and extended hands of fellowship to other aspirants to join him to build the party and the state.

A total of 14 aspirants including one woman were cleared to participate in the primary held at the Godswill Akpabio International Stadium, Uyo in Akwa Ibom State.

Two aspirants, however, refused to participate in the election.

Bassey Albert, a serving senator, refused to participate in the primary citing existing court order.

The second aspirant, Luke, a serving House of Representatives member, who also refused to participate in the primary, cited the inability of the statutory delegates to vote in the primary.

Section 84 (8) of the Electoral Act 2022 excludes other categories of party members from party in the primaries.

Luke said the statutory delegates whom the Electoral Act 0222 excluded from voting in the primary constitute his largest support base, and therefore he would not take part in the primary.

The Federal High Court in Abuja had directed parties in the suit challenging the Akwa Ibom PDP ad-hoc delegate list to “maintain status quo antebellum” pending the hearing and determination of the suit.

The suit which was scheduled for hearing Wednesday (today) is reported to have been adjourned to June 1, for further hearing.

Mike Igini, the Akwa Ibom State Resident Electoral Commissioner, led other officials of the Commission to monitor the primary.

Heads of security agencies in the state were also on ground to monitor the election and provide security at the venue.