Some chieftains of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Akwa Ibom State have rejected the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio, as their political leader in the state.
Ahead of the 2023 general elections, the APC in Akwa Ibom has been divided into two camps; one for Mr Akpabio, the other for John Akpanudoedehe, a former senator and current secretary of the party’s caretaker committee at the national level.
Mr Akpanudoedehe is planning to run for governor of Akwa Ibom in 2023, and it appears Mr Akpabio, a former governor of the state, may not support his ambition.
The APC faction that is loyal to Mr Akpabio met last month in Uyo and announced that the minister was the political leader of the party in the state.
But some party chieftains in the state convened another meeting on Sunday where they adopted a decision of the State Executive Council (SEC) of the party to nullify the declaration that Mr Akpabio was the party’s political leader in the state.
The Sunday meeting was attended by Mr Akpanudoedehe, the Managing Director, Oil and Gas Free Trade Zone Authority, Umana Umana, President Muhammadu Buhari’s aide on Niger Delta Affairs, Ita Enang, and the Sole Administrator of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Effiong Akwa.
Interestingly, Sam Ewang, a former military governor of Ogun State, who heads the faction that is loyal to Mr Akpabio, was also in the meeting.
Mr Akpabio sent in his apology for not being able to attend the meeting.
“The stakeholders endorse the decision of the State Executive Committee (SEC) to declare as a nullity the unilateral proclamation and announcement of Senator Godswill Akpabio, as the State Party Leader of APC in gross violation of the Party’s Constitution in the unauthorised and illegal Stakeholders meeting of Sunday, March 28, 2021,” the party chieftains said in the communique issued after the meeting.
“The Party hereby reminds every member and the general public that the State Chairman (or Caretaker Chairman as applicable here) is the Chairman of the State Caucus as provided for in Article 12.9 Sub (i) of the party Constitution (October 2014 As Amended) and remains the Party Leader in the State until further notice.”
Mr Ewang, in the meeting of their faction, said Mr Akpabio, being the “highest political office holder” from the state, should naturally assume the position of the political leader of the party in the state, in the absence of an elected governor.
Mr Akpabio, before now, had said he would not impose a governorship candidate on the party for the 2023 election in Akwa Ibom State.
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