The All Progressives Congress (APC) in Akwa Ibom State has held a meeting to find ways to restore peace to the party ahead of the 2023 general elections.
The meeting, convened by the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Umana Umana, was held on Thursday in Uyo.
A former minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio, and former military administrator of Rivers State, Sam Ewang, attended the meeting.
Akanimo Udofia, whose election as the APC governorship candidate in the state was recently nullified by a Federal High Court, Uyo, also attended the meeting which had in attendance several chieftains of the APC across the state.
All the participants at the meeting unanimously agreed it was necessary to unite the APC in the state before the general elections.
It was the first time in several months the party would hold such a large and all-inclusive meeting in Akwa Ibom, and also the first time Mr Umana was meeting with the party in the state since he assumed office as minister in July.
“Let us move away from petty bickering and wrangling over the past,” Mr Umana appealed to the APC chieftains.
“Now, we are to focus on the APC presidential rally while strategic steps are being taken to peacefully redress the protracted challenges in our party.”
The minister informed the gathering that the APC would hold its presidential rally on 12 January, and that a former senator, Nelson Effiong, has been appointed the chairperson of the planning committee for the rally.
He appealed to the chieftains, members, and supporters of the APC in Akwa Ibom to come out for the presidential rally.
The minister used the opportunity to thank President Muhammadu Buhari for giving him the opportunity to serve in his cabinet.
Mr Buhari, the minister said, means well for Akwa Ibom and Niger Delta region, and that Akwa Ibom was going to be a major beneficiary of the “core projects” proposed by the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) such as the rehabilitation of the Azumini-Ikot Ekpene Road.
‘Child of destiny’
Mr Umana informed the gathering that the APC National Executive Committee had presented to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) the name of Mr Udofia as the party’s governorship candidate and that the party was waiting for a court ruling that would compel INEC to publish his name.
Mr Udofia, who described himself as a “child of destiny”, commended the APC members in Akwa Ibom for their “resilience” and “faithfulness” to the party.
“I am a man of peace and a child of destiny. I have come in peace to build with you. Let’s work together to prosecute the coming general elections. Let us bury all the court cases that have held the party back.
“Our challenges and frustrations stem largely from poverty, hunger and lack that has enveloped the majority in the state. I dare say that if we unite to win the election, we shall banish poverty and hunger in our state,” he said.
Mr Akpabio thanked Mr Umana for convening the meeting and joined the minister to appeal for peace within the APC in the state.
The APC in Akwa Ibom has been bedevilled by crisis since 2021 after its state congresses and primaries.
At the end of the meeting, a committee headed by the minister, Mr Umana, was set up to find a solution to the party crisis in the state.
The APC Deputy National Welfare Secretary, Chris Akpan and the APC Zonal Secretary, South-south, Ita Udosen, were among those who attended the meeting.
Others were the former managing director of the NDDC, Bassey Dan-Abia; a former chairperson of the APC in the state, Amadu Attai; a former deputy speaker, Akwa Ibom House of Assembly, Uwem Udoma; and a former deputy inspector general of police, Udom Ekpoudom.
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