A former military administrator of Rivers State, Sam Ewang, says the crisis within the All Progressives Congress, APC, in Akwa Ibom State is traceable to John Udoedehe.
Mr. Udoedehe, a former minister of state for the Federal Capital Territory, recently expelled from the party, is fighting back against the APC leadership in the state.
He has repeatedly said that he helped build the foundation of the opposition party in the state, and therefore nobody could push him out.
Mr. Ewang, a member of the APC BOT, from Akwa Ibom State, told PREMIUM TIMES, Tuesday, that the struggle to edge out other politicians from the party is like a circle and that it was started by Mr. Udoedehe.
“Udoedehe started the problem. What is happening now is what he did before,” he said.
“When he (Udoedehe) came in he used people from outside and made sure that he had the structure of the party. That is why he (Mr. Udoedehe) can afford to tell people that he owns the party,” Mr. Ewang said, apparently referring to how the former minister hijacked the entire APC leadership in the state when the party was newly formed four years ago.
The APC was formed as a result of an alliance in 2013 between the three leading opposition political parties then – the Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, the Congress for Progressive Change, CPC, and the All Nigeria Peoples Party, ANPP.
In Akwa Ibom, Mr. Ewang led the now defunct ANPP into the APC, while Mr. Udoedehe led the ACN.
In order to hit back at the current APC leadership in the state for daring to expel him, Mr. Udoedehe has proclaimed the “dissolution” of the state Exco of the party and also “appointed” Mr. Ewang to “replace” a former petroleum minister, Don Etiebet, as the chairman of the party caucus in the state.
But it appears Mr. Ewang is not interested in being the caucus chairman.
“For now, all I am interested in is that there must be peace in the party,” Mr. Ewang told PREMIUM TIMES in the interview.
“I am here to make peace between the warring factions so that we could prepare the party for the (2019) elections.”
Asked if he had accepted to take over from Mr. Etiebet as the caucus chairman, Mr. Ewang quipped in, “For now, I have accepted to be the peacemaker.”
He said further, “Let me tell you, Don Etiebet is an old boy of the Holy Family College, Abak. He is a senior old boy. And I am an old boy of the Holy Family College, a place that we revere too much.
“I can’t insult Don Etiebet for any reason, neither will I allow anybody to insult him. Don is a senior citizen.”
Mr. Ewang, however, rejected the expulsion of Mr. Udoedehe from the APC, saying that such action would not stand.
“Udoedehe was the one who made Amadu Attai (the APC chairman in Akwa Ibom). So, who is Amadu Attai? He (Mr. Attai) cannot expel Udoedehe.
“I am in touch with everybody in the party, and we are working out ways to resolve the conflict,” he said.
When contacted for his response, Mr. Udoedehe said what happened between him and Mr. Ewang was in the past, and that he doesn’t want to go back to it. “I have made peace with Sam Ewang. And for me, that is what is important,” he said.