Former State Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, Obong Paul Ekpo has withdrawn from the 2023 race to clinch the Uyo Senatorial District seat at the National Assembly.
TheMail Newspaper learnt from credible Government House sources that Ekpo was persuaded by Governor Emmanuel to drop his ambition.
It could be recalled that Obong Paul Ekpo on Thursday bought expression of interest and nominations forms in Abuja to enable him contest the May 14, 2022 primary of PDP.
He arrived Uyo on Saturday to a rousing reception by supporters at Victor Attah International Airport. But TheMail understands that Ekpo who left office as state Chair of the party in 2020 later took his nomination forms to show Udom as a way of “notification and show of loyalty” to the governor as the leader of the party.
“The governor met him today after his meeting with the PDP ward chairmen at Government House. He presented his forms to the governor. The governor responded by saying ‘Paul my brother, I know I asked you to run for the election. But I didn’t envisage that my successor would come from same Federal Constituency as you’. The governor also told him that he has been under intense pressure from the people of Uyo Federal Constituency who have genuine agitation that they should produce the next senator.
“The governor’s preferred aspirant for the guber seat, Pastor Umo Eno was there during the brief discussion”, said our source.
Those currently in the Uyo senate race include Speaker of the state assembly, Rt. Hon. Aniekan Bassey, two-term former Member of the assembly representing Uruan, Rt. Hon. Usenobong Akpabio, former State Chairman of PDP, Prince Uwem Ita Etuk, among other lesser known aspirants.
Meanwhile, TheMail understands that Paul Ekpo who is a National Ex-Officio of the party will consider the options available to him and may decide to go for the Etinan/Nsit Ibom/Nsit Ubium House of Representatives seat currently held by former Speaker of AKHA, Rt. Hon. Onofiok Luke.