A gubernatorial aspirant of the All Progressives Congress, APC, in Akwa Ibom, Prof Chris Ekong, has challenged the state Resident Electoral Commissioner, Barr Mike Igini, over claims that the party has no governorship candidate in the state.
He described such claims as a fairytale and ridiculous.
Speaking with journalists in Uyo, the state capital, on Thursday, Ekong said whatever sentiments expressed by Igini were personal and not the position of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), adding that the guber primary that produced Mr Akan Udofia as the candidate was sanctioned by the national leadership of the APC.
“I am very happy they are saying that APC might not have a guber candidate. The ‘might’ in their statement tells you explicitly that they are merely insinuating, but I want to tell you that APC has a guber candidate. Primaries were well conducted and the person who won was Akan Udofia.
“Don’t forget I was part of the primaries as an aspirant. I know some of the aspirants want to be talked to while some want to play the spoilers’ role.
“It is even unfortunate that one of us who was the National Secretary of the party and superintended over elections to elect people to fill the leadership structure of the party could not have even an ex officio member in the leadership of the party in the State, from the ward to state chapter levels of the party. And if that has happened and he wants to stoke the fire, he can go ahead. These are the things they have been doing and profiting from.
He expressed regret that Igini has allowed his personal issues with some politicians in the state to override his official assignment.
“You see, Igini works for INEC and he is not the chairman of INEC and he is not INEC and he is privy to the fact that APC National Caretaker Committee, represented by Buni and Udoedeghe went to court and were defeated at the lower court. They went to Appeal Court but later used their hands to withdraw the case, saying and affirming that they recognize Ntukekpo as the State Chairman of APC in Akwa Ibom State.
“The national leadership of APC wrote to Mr. Ntukekpo to inform INEC in the State to come and monitor the APC governorship primaries in the State, and Igini sat here and said no, Ntukekpo can never be even when INEC was part of the Court process. I think something is wrong somewhere. This is suggestive of growing insinuations on ground that Mr. Igini is a ‘factional leader or Chairman of INEC’.
“What I want to tell Akwa Ibom people is to forget that negative propaganda. Akwa Ibom APC has a governorship candidate and he is Akan Udofia and by next week he will be given the flag and when he collects the flag we will bring it here.” Ekong said.
He maintained that the party is no longer factionalized after the exit of the group that perpetrated the crisis adding that unity and reconciliation remained key to the party winning the governorship election which has eluded it since 2011.
“For now there is no faction in the APC in the state. Members can have issues that happen in every party, especially after primaries of this nature. But there is always room for reconciliation. The person that wanted to create factions has moved to NNPP and he is happy there.
“So my message to all APC faithful is that there is no time as beautiful as now for us to take power. We have been trying since 2011 and this is our time. For people that read the Bible, when Jonah was in the boat, people in the boat experienced turbulence and the boat could not sail freely and when they decided to put Jonah out of the boat some of them pitied him that he will die but they still had to.put him out of the boat and immediately that happened the boat returned to its peace and everybody was happy.
“This is what has happened to APC in Akwa Ibom. We are back to our point and position of peace and the turbulence is over, it is now for our members to come, let us hold our hands together and work our party to victory in Akwa Ibom.” Ekong concluded.
In the meantime, another chieftain of the party, Barr. Victor Iyanam has called on the leader of the party in the state, Senator Godswill Akpabio to expediate action aimed at uniting the party and reconciling aggrieved members in order to reposition the APC to win next year’s governorship election in the state.
Iyanam, a former Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice in Akwa Ibom, said such move would save the party from further disintegration and strengthen it to effectively challenge the PDP in next year’s gubernatorial election in the state.
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