A factional chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Akwa Ibom State, Austin Ekanem, says he would not join the former national secretary of the APC, John Akpanudoedehe, to defect to another party.
The Ekanem-led faction had been loyal to Mr Akpanudoedehe, who had been involved in a protracted political battle with a former minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio, over the control of the party structure in Akwa Ibom.
Mr Ekanem and other members of his executive were edged out of office under controversial circumstances by a man, Stephen Ntukekpo, who had forged the results of the APC Congress in Akwa Ibom to get a favourable court judgement at a Federal High Court, Abuja.
Mr Ntukekpo is backed by Mr Akpabio.
Mr Akpanudoedehe went to the Court of Appeal, Abuja, to challenge the judgement of the lower court, but he appeared frustrated by the support Mr Akpabio and his faction in Akwa Ibom were getting from the national leadership of APC.
The faction loyal to Mr Akpabio, a few days ago, outmanoeuvred Mr Akpanudoedehe, and got Akanimo Udofia, a man who joined the APC in less than a month, to be elected the 2023 governorship candidate of the party in Akwa Ibom.
The Independent National Electoral Commission, however, did not monitor the primary that produced Mr Udofia. The commission has, therefore, refused to recognise the candidate.
Mr Akpanudoedehe, a former senator, defected to the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP), and is now the party’s governorship candidate for the 2023 election in Akwa Ibom.
PREMIUM TIMES, on Tuesday, asked the APC factional chairman, Mr Ekanem, if he was planning to join Mr Akpanudoedehe in the NNPP.
“I am in APC,” he responded. “I am in court.”
“I can’t win an election and then someone forged a document and now says he is the chairman,” he added.
Mr Ekanem said he filed a case at the Court of Appeal, Abuja, “last week” against Mr Ntukekpo.
He said the APC had not been fair to Mr Akpanudoedehe.
“It’s sad, very very sad,” he said of the former senator leaving the APC.
“We put in so much, we were not even thinking about the primary, we were looking at how APC can win the general elections in Akwa Ibom,” he said.
Mr Akpanudoedehe, for close to two decades, was the face of the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria, and later the APC in Akwa Ibom. His resignation, therefore, marks a turning point in the opposition politics in the oil-rich state.
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