A pressure group, Akwa Ibom Progressive Coalition (APC), has faulted the purported endorsement of a governorship aspirant, Senator John Akpanudoedehe, by some stakeholders in that state chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
The group, in a statement by its National Coordinator, Otuekong Iniobong John, described the action of the said stakeholders as capable of derailing the prospect of the party in the forthcoming general election.
Similarly, the group advised members of the party in the state to discountenance the purported inauguration of Mr Augustine Ekanem as the state chairman of the party.
It said “no such decision was taken and those lies and falsehood on what transpired in our party headquarters in Abuja, on 3 February, 2022, is a figment of the imagination of those peddling them.”
Otuekong Iniobong John warned that the purported inauguration of Ekanem as the state chairman of the party, if not properly handled, was capable of causing disunity among members.
The statement, titled: That Purported Endorsement Of Senator Udoedehe By APC Chieftains At Chief Don Etiebet’s Residence”, reads:
“Ordinarily, we wouldn’t want to join issues with elderly and eminent personalities whom we hold in high esteem.
“But it is necessary and urgent we point out fallacious and erroneous impressions consciously or unconsciously created by them in their communique which has caused well-meaning members of the party serious embarrassment, at this point in our great party.
“Such desperate act was not expected of anybody in the party. As a body within the party, we’ve vowed not to allow any person or group of persons cause us the electoral calamity we suffered in the 2019 elections. No affliction shall rise a second time.
“We are not against any form of adoption or endorsement in politics nor are we against the communique, using whatsoever nomenclature.
“Anybody is free to adopt, endorse or come up with a communique for anybody or group of persons and if anyone is not satisfied with such adoption or endorsement, it is left for such a person of group of persons to equally organize his/her own adoption and communique. We don’t think there’s a limit to that.
“However, there’s something clearly wrong with this adoption/communique and that is the lies being told specifically in Paragraph 5,which states as follows:
‘That we felicitate with Mr. Augustine Ekanem on his inauguration as the state chairman of Akwa Ibom APC on Thursday, 3 February 2022 by the chairman of the CECPC in Abuja, and also appreciate him for promptly inaugurating other members of the State Executive Committee in Uyo on Thursday, 4 February, 2022.’
‘The stakeholders wish him and his state executive members a successful tenure in the pilot of the party affairs in Akwa Ibom State.’
“Whereas there was nothing like inauguration of state party chairmen on the 3/2/2022 by the chairman of the Caretaker Committee of the party in Abuja.
“Nobody, and we repeat, nobody, including Ekanem took the Oath of Office and Oath of Allegiance on the said date as the chairman of APC Akwa Ibom State and as such Ekanem cannot assume and infact perform the duties of the state chairman of the party (APC) just yet.
“What took place was the issuance of Certificate of Return to Ekanem and this is on record.
“Even Senator Udoedehe, while presenting the Certificate of Return, had said and we quote: ‘I have been directed to issue you with Certificate of Return, as the duly elected state chairmen of states’.
“These are the exact words of Udoedehe on that day and on that occasion. That is the only thing that took place as carried out by Udoedehe himself. We can safely state that it was a one-agenda event; the issuance of Certificate of Return.
“The twist was in clear contrast of what was supposed to take place that day as was stipulated in the party time table released earlier.
“On the Time Table, the inauguration of state chairmen was scheduled for that day. Why and how that changed to issuance of Certificate of Return is one big question that has not been answered by the Caretaker Committee and that is the crux of the matter.
“Something is definitely not adding up. It seems to us that the Caretaker Committee was compelled, forced, coerced or directed to rather issue only Certificates of Return on a day that was meant for inauguration and that’s a story for another day. There was no inauguration and no oath was administered to anybody.
“How the above translates into Ekanem being inaugurated as state chairman to the extent of conveying legitimacy on him to further inaugurate the state Exco is completely unimaginable and unacceptable. This is iberiberism, apologies to Rochas Okorocha.
“We challenge the promoters of this charade to make public pictures or video clips of where any state chairman of APC was inaugurated on 3 February, 2022.
“If they do, we will instantly withdraw this statement and tender an unreserved apologies to them. But if the reverse is the case, they are also free to believe their lies.
“This act is against Article 29 of the APC Constitution which mandates every elected or appointed officer of the party to subscribe to Oath of Office: ‘Every Officer elected or appointed as an Officer of the Party shall subscribe to the Oath of Office as provided in Schedule II to this Constitution before an appropriate Principal Officer of the party’.
“Chief Don Etiebet and his group of endorsers were expected to work for the cohesiveness and formidability of the party before resuming their business of endorsing candidates.
“They were the same people who endorsed Obong Nsima Ekere for the 2019 elections, but overtly and covertly worked against his candidacy and the APC in the elections.
“Since 2003, Chief Don Etiebet has been in the business of endorsing candidates who never won any election. In 2003, he was the national chairman of the defunct ANPP. He endorsed the late Dr Ime Umanah in that year’s gubernatorial election and he lost it.
“In 2007, he endorsed himself for the PDP’s gubernatorial race after resigning his position as national chairman of the defunct ANPP. He was one of the 57 persons who were heavily defeated by Senator Godswill Akpabio for the PDP gubernatorial ticket.
“In 2015, Etiebet endorsed Obong Umana Umana and, of course, Obong Umana was defeated in that election. In 2019, he assembled his ilks at his residence to endorse Obong Nsima Ekere for the gubernatorial race. No endorsements by Chief Don Etiebet has ever worked in Akwa Ibom State
“President Muhamadu Buhari and the national leadership of the party cannot be misled or hoodwinked by such charade by Chief Etiebet and his group of endorsers.
“When Chief Etiebet assumed the national chairmanship of the defunct ANPP, the party had nine governors, but by the time he defected to the PDP in 2006, the party was left with only two governors.That was how well he grew the party.
“Going forward, we want to urge well-meaning members of the party to continue to remain calm, resolute and tenacious in their loyalty and commitment to the cause of the party
“The leadership issue in our great party would soon be resolved and we will have a capable leadership that will lead us to victory in the 2023 elections.
“Let nobody be distracted, perturbed nor dismayed by such charade. There is no cause for alarm. To rescue the party and win the 2023 elections is a task that must be done.”