The All Progressives Congress, APC, in Akwa Ibom State, says it remains resolute in its expulsion of a former minister of state for the Federal Capital Territory, John Udoedehe, from the party.
Mr. Udoedehe, who is also a former senator, has been in a longstanding feud with other party leaders in the state since he was beaten by Umana Umana at the party’s governorship primaries in 2015.
Mr. Udoedehe is insisting that he was rigged out of the primaries.
He has refused to accept a former minister of petroleum, Don Etiebet, as the leader of the party caucus in the state, and has also put up adverts in local papers proclaiming the “dissolution” of the party leadership in the state.
The APC Chairman in the state, Amadu Attai, told journalists, Friday, in Uyo that Mr. Udoedehe stands expelled and excommunicated from the party.
Mr. Attai, surrounded by the 17 members of the party Exco in the state, accused Mr. Udoedehe of sponsoring media attacks against the APC and its leaders in the state, so as to hurt the party’S image and put the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in an advantage ahead of the 2019 governorship election.
“As the majority of you here may undoubtedly be aware of, there have been of late attempts by some riff-raffs and characters unknown to our Party to mislead the general public to think that there is (a) crisis in the Akwa Ibom State chapter of our great Party,” Mr. Attai said.
“The Amadu Attai-led State Executive of the All Progressives Congress, APC, in Akwa Ibom State with its secretariat at No.4 Atiku Abubakar Avenue, Uyo, is intact. Indeed, it remains the one and only Exco of our Party that has been carrying out its official functions.
“We call on all our members and teeming supporters of our great Party in the State, and, indeed, the general public to totally disregard the false reports and the rumours peddled by some uninformed rascals and disgruntled elements who call themselves ‘forum of state officers, chapter executives and ward executives’. There is no such body known to the Constitution of the All Progressives Congress, APC.”
As the APC press briefing was going on at about 2.30 p.m. at the party secretariat, Atiku Abubakar Avenue, Mr. Udoedehe was being driven in a long convoy into the city from the Akwa Ibom International Airport where he had just landed.
Those who witnessed Mr. Udoedehe’s entry into the city told PREMIUM TIMES that the atmosphere was similar to that of a political rally.
Mr. Udoedehe’s expulsion was first carried out at the ward and then the Uyo local government chapter of the APC before it was ratified on January 26 by the state executive of the party.
The sins of the former minister, the party says, is that he sponsored some thugs to attack the executive members of the party at the party secretariat.
The former senator told PREMIUM TIMES that the APC at his ward, Ward 6, Uyo, did not expel him.
“Those names and signatures are completely fake,” he said.
He accused the MD, Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, Nsima Ekere, of manipulating the party against him because he (Mr. Ekere) wants to contest for the governorship in 2019.
“He (Mr. Ekere) bribed the party members to sign documents against me,” Mr. Udoedehe said. “I am not accusing Umana this time around. I’m saying it is Nsima that did it. Let him come out and defend himself.
“My ward chairman’s name is Monday Utuk. My chapter chairman is Emmanuel Andy. Everybody knows that.
“I have told the party at the national that ‘it’s like you are tying my hands to allow my enemies to box me’.
“If people were in the PDP when we formed the party, and because they have money they throw their morals into the gutter.
Mr. Ekere did not respond to telephone calls and text message from PREMIUM TIMES.