The ongoing war resulting in disunity within the All Progressives Congress,APC in Akwa Ibom State, has reached an alarming stage, with some leaders openly calling themselves out in the media.
While Senator Godswill Akpabio, Minister of Niger Delta Affairs has described Senator John Akpanudoedehe as a greedy politician who is incapable of winning any election in Akwa Ibom State without his support, Udoedehe has slammed Akpabio as a selfish politician who wants control of the party to realised his presidential ambition in 2023
The Acting National Secretary of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Senator John James Akpanudoedehe, speaking through a publicity committee member of his party, Solomon Johnny, said on a live radio programme yesterday morning that the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio, wants to be the president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria at all cost, and wants to wrestle political control of the party on the state illegally.
On Planet FM 101.1, Udoedehe’s spokesman accused the Minister of stirring the ongoing conflict in the state APC to take over the APC structure in the state where he could impose himself as the leader ahead of 2023.
The Ag. National Secretary of APC also accused Akpabio of boycotting all APC stakeholders meetings since last year till date, only to emerge with his own group to cause instability in the polity.
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“Sen. Akpabio has bluntly refused to attend all APC meetings since last year till date. Few weeks ago, we sent him an official invitation for our meeting, he was in Uyo for an event, but he boycotted it and rather chose to Go and inspect projects abandoned by his ministry in the state.
Udoedehe further alleged that instead of the Minister to be present during the inauguration of the Akwa Ibom APC Coalition, AAC, last week Friday, he went to convene a factional stakeholders’ meeting where he made himself the state party leader.
“Our party Constitution does have provisions for party leader. It is only the caucus that is permitted and the chairman of that caucus has to be the chairman of the party in the state,” Udoedehe fired.
He said Akpabio has so neglected the party in the state, that the state secretariat is now an eyesore, while the staffers there are no longer working because of months of unpaid salaries.
Harping on the current state of the state party’s secretariat, Sen. Udoedehe opined that the former Akwa Ibom governor has neglected his core duties as the only Federal Executive member from the state.
“Most times, I’m forced to ask what Senator Akpabio doing in our party. The other day the National Working Committee of our party came to Akwa Ibom, they were perplexed at the current state of our State party’s secretariat. They were forced to ask if truly the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs is from my state.
“How can Akpabio be Minister and our state party’s secretariat is like a rat hole?”
Udoedehe maintained that the Minister does not care about APC, he only cares about his presidential ambition.
But responding to these allegations, Senator Akpabio at a meeting of his own faction of the party last weekend, accused the Acting National Secretary of sowing seeds of hatred and disunity in the state’s chapter of APC. He also used the opportunity to debunk the allegations that he boycotted APC meetings in the state.
The meeting which was streamed live on the social media by his media handlers had Akpabio alleging that, the Ag. National Secretary of his party “is destroying our party because of his unattainable selfish interest. How can he call a stakeholders meeting and Group Captain Sam Enwang, a former state governor and only BOT member of the Federal Executive Council is not invited?’
He also stated that ever since his brother, Sen. John Udoedeghe was inaugurated as the Acting National Secretary of APC last year, he has never invited him for any meeting in Akwa Ibom State.
Speaking on the ongoing rift between members of APC in his state, the Minister revealed that Udoedeghe and his cohorts are tearing the party apart all in a bid to control the state structure of APC because of his 2023 gubernatorial ambition, quipping, “can he succeed to win as governor in 2023 without my support?”
Akpabio insisted that “all their fight is to ensure they hold grip of our party structure because of their gubernatorial ambition of 2023.
“Someone needs to tell our acting Secretary that election is not won with mouth or blackmails and propaganda on social media. There’s more to election than all he’s doing, and one thing I want him to know is that he cannot win 2023 governorship election without me.
“If he likes, let him win the party’s governorship ticket, but can he win the election without my support? If he wins the election, he will not win at the Court, so he can never be governor.
“If he want to be governor, he should then know that he can never do without me.”
The Minister was of the opinion that if the acting Secretary should be allowed to pursue his governorship ambition the way he’s going, then APC will never win any seat in Akwa Ibom State.
The All Progressives Congress in Akwa Ibom has divided into two cartels. Credible information have it that Senator Udoedeghe’s group which formed a new group, Akwa Ibom APC Coalition, AAC, has Bishop Samuel Akpan as the President General, 31 chapter coordinators amongst other bigwigs like Obong Nsima Ekere, Umana Okon Umana, Senator Ita Enang, while Akpabio’s group, Akwa Ibom Democratic Forum, ADF, has the likes of Valerie Ebe, Group Captain Sam Enwang rtd, Idongesit Ituen, the Ag. MD of NDDC, Effiong Akwa, among others.
At the end of a meeting held last weekend in Uyo, the APC faction controlled by Senator Godswill Akpabio, condemned the divisive tendencies of Senator Udoedehe and his cohorts in the state, saying that apart from being anti-party their action could lead to confusion for members.
In a communiqué issued at the end of the meeting and endorsed by the former Military Administrator of Ogun and Rivers State respectively and a national caucus member of the party, Group Capt Sam Ewang (retd), the party stakeholders called on the leadership of the party to work towards the advancement of the party.
According to the communiqué, “The meeting condemned the divisive gathering of factions within the party and resolved to call on all factional leaders to bury their individual interests and come under a united APC in Akwa Ibom State.
“The meeting condemned actions by some persons in leadership positions of the party who work with other political parties in the state and are currently romancing the People’s Democratic Party, thereby engaging in anti-party activities and causing confusion among members.”
The meeting further affirmed the Minister of the Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio, as the leader of the party in the state.
It said: “The meeting settled the issue of who is the leader of the party in Akwa Ibom State, recognised and affirmed that the Honourable Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio, is the Leader of the All Progressives Congress in Akwa Ibom State.”
It also resolved to send a 10 man delegation to the National Chairman of the Caretaker Committee of the Party, His Excellency, Mai Mala Buni, to see ways of addressing the crisis rocking the party in the state.
Reacting to this communique, Udoedehe said through Solomon Johnny that, “Akpabio was looking for an avenue to create the division, instigate a crises and possibly derail the revving progressive movement in Akwa Ibom State and maybe benefit from it given that he really has nothing at stake even if the party loses again.”
He said it has been confirmed that no party officer at any level attended the meeting convened by Senator Akpabio’s faction of the APC.
“Who can call party meeting? The express provision is the Chairman at all level through a notice by the secretary at the level where the meeting is called, is the only authorized entity to summon a party meeting. It is immaterial the status of a party member. He is subject to the leadership of his chairman. That’s why a ward Chairman expelled Comrade Adams Oshiomhole as National Chairman and the court upheld it.”
He said the meeting Akpabio and Enwang held, should rather be tagged an assemblage of ADF, a socio political group he has been trying to establish in recent months in the state.