By Isaac Job
A governorship aspirant on the platform of All Progressives Congress (APC) in Akwa Ibom, Prof. Chris Ekong, said he has swallowed the defeat from the party gubernatorial primaries and will work for the success of Obong Akan Udofia in 2023 general election.
Addressing a press conference in Uyo on Tuesday , Ekong observed that APC had suffered several defeats in the past because leaders holding on to their ego refused to acknowledge party supremacy causing them to lose to PDP at different times in the state.
He said the decision to support the winner of the gubernatorial primaries in the state was for the interest of the party. He maintained that the conduct of the party primaries was free, fair and credible for every aspi- rant to accept adding that parallel attitude of party chieftains in the past was the cause of loosing the state to PDP for many years. He listed unforgiving spirit, greed, self centredness and vendetta as characteristics of party chieftains that worked against their success adding it will never happen in 2023.
He observed that some chieftains frustrated the party in the past and run to Abuja to negotiate appointments only to return after four years in another election season leaving supporters in the lurch.
“They are deliberately setting it on course, to however, grapple with the destiny of the party; and themselves, remaining some serial political entrepreneurs whose traditional stock-in-trade is to trade the fortunes of the party for their personal and vaulted gains.”
Ekong , a renowned professor of Economics, noted that APC had suffered defeats from 2011 in the days of Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) to 2019 as those defeats were caused by inflexibility of political gladiators who contested with bitterness that gingered them not to accept the choice of party men except such decision were taken in their favour.
He said uncompromising clash of the beneficiary stakehold- ers had over the years robbed the party of success at the polls in the state and had totally weakened the party’s ability to help maintain her teeming members, supporters and admirers who always bear the brunt of these stakeholders covetous attitude.
“After killing the aspirations and yearnings of serious party members to win elections in the State, these covetous stakeholders run to Abuja to buy themselves and cronies into various national appointments.
“Once they land the Abuja appointments with the 20percent votes they milked from the impoverished and famished party members, they will only return after 4 years to contest another election with intention to repeat the same cycle.” He said his participation in the governorship race was with a clear vision committed to return Akwa Ibom to her greatness through APC and nothing can stop it.
He therefore enjoined all delegates and supporters to join him in the move to support the winning candidate and prepare for 2023 general election in the state.
But a group under the aegis of Movement for Better Nigeria (MBN) has urged the National Chairman of All Progressives Congress (APC), Abdullahi Adamu, to expel Senator Godswill Akpabio and Senator John James Akpan Udoedehe from the party in Akwa Ibom State.
Addressing a press conference in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State capital, on Tuesday, spokesman of the group, Dr. Paul Dowell, said the duo of Akpabio and Udoedehe have been identified as the two factions that drove the party backward in the past.
The group insisted that the two gladiators have caused downfall of APC in Akwa Ibom State from 2011 to 2019 adding that the party will not fold her arms to see these personalities fighting for party to lost out in the battle for the soul of Akwa Ibom State in 2023.
He observed that out of 329 wards in Akwa Ibom State, APC never had even councillor, in ten federal constituencies , the party had no representative as well no seat for the three Senatorial Districts in the state.
The group spokesman said Udoedehe and Akpabio have grounded APC in the state because of their personal and selfish interest and cannot accept such disposition in 2023.
“What we have been suffering in this state, since 2011 is ownership and entitlement mentality of a member who feels that without him there is No APC in Akwa Ibom.
That is why we have remained down politically in the state. In 2015 that same person came again claiming to be the owner of APC when the likes of Comrade David Ekanem, late Idongesit Udoekpo, late Steve Ibanga and others who went to his house and lobbied him to leave PDP and join APC did not claim ownership.
That same fight began and APC lost the election. “We will no longer fold our arms and watch these people take us back to the dark days. It is said that when two elephants fight, the grass suffers. In this case, APC in Akwa Ibom suffers the fight between the two persons in the party which has led to the polarisation of the party.”
The group explained that Akpabio was admitted into APC in 2019 but he came with a lot of troubles while Udoedehe claims ownership and entitlement mentality in the party.
He said these two factions are not helping APC to succeed in Akwa Ibom and urged the National Chairman of APC, Abdullahi Adamu, to exit them from the party in the state if it must succeed in 2023.
“In 2019, we brought Akpabio to the party, he came again with a lot of trouble, the duo were championing their selfish interest embellished with sabotage which made APC to lose again.
“Though Akpabio was com- pensated with the office of the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, taking the glory of other people who worked tirelessly for the party while Udoedehe became the National Secretary.”
He argued that the above compensation never settled them as they went about destroying chances of the party during election times in the state. He said all the aspirants and the generality of Akwa Ibom people are confused on who to follow adding that “enough is enough” to internal wranglings in Akwa Ibom APC.
“Now again! 2022, that same person and his likes are here, we say never again! APC has gone a long way and should allow internal democracy to thrive and not to allow one person who sees the party as his birth right to have his way. We expect the party to sit down and strategize on how to win the state and not to allow internal fighting,” he said.
The group spokesman recalled that ambushing of APC governorship primaries materials from Airport to where there shootings along Oron Road in Uyo City was a manifestation of the two factions working for themselves instead of the party in the state.
“The ambush of national officers from the Obong Victor Attah’s International airport, the sporadic shooting and the fracas between the two groups were indicators that peace is still far from the two groups in the party,” he said.