By; PATRICK TITUS, Uyo
Apparent anti-party crises has rocked the leadership of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Akwa Ibom State, with party faithful calling for urgent intervention by the national leadership before the general elections slated for February next year.
At the APC rally for the re-election of President Muhammadu Buhari into office and formal declaration of governorship ambition of Sen. James Akpan Udoedehe held on Monday at Uyo Township Stadium, the party faithful passed vote of no confidence on Atuekong Don Etiebet who until Monday, was the caucus chairman of the party in the state.
They denounced Atuekong Etiebet for allegedly going against the popular demand by openly endorsing the chairman of Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Obong Nsima Ekere as governorship candidate of the party against other aspirants, ahead of the party governorship primaries slated for this Saturday, September 29th in Uyo, the state capital.
Various speakers, in their goodwill messages at the rally, expressed disappointment over such endorsement, describing Etiebet’s action as imposition, just as the national leadership of the party has not given mandate to any aspirant in the state as such negates the spirit of fair play and justice which the party stood for.
One of them and a frontline member, Retired Group Captain Sam Enwang said, the party should not delay as such may lead to the party not getting the expected result come 2019.
He alleged that, most of those that were elected to lead the party in the state have been bought over, stressing that he would speak the truth not minding whose oars is goad.
“All the leadership of the party should listen to me, there is problem in Akwa Ibom APC and the problem is that the leaderships we struggled to put up in the state have now become campaign directors. If we are not in hurry to streamline this, the future of APC is bleak in the state, the leaderships have failed to make the party great in the state”, he said.
Enwang who is a former time military administrator of Rivers state expressed dismay in the way the party under the leadership of Atuekong Don Etiebet was scheming to circumvent the position of the party as regards the conduct of party primaries.
According to him, the position of the party nationally and in the states is that of conducting direct primaries, wondering why the leadership of the party in the state is clamouring for consensus arrangement.
He disassociated the APC on what he described as a purported consensus arrangement for the senatorial seat in Ikot Ekpene Senatorial district, positing that such was unacceptable to the party in the state.
“Every aspirant will face party members through direct primary and anyone that wins will be supported by all. I will stand for justice, fairness and equity so that Akwa Ibom might e great again.
“Akwa Ibom APC is in problem, we must come out of the problem, we are not going to accept a consensus candidate”, he added.
Earlier, Senator John James AkpanUdoedehe who is aspiring to become governor of the state assured the people that, if given the mandate, he would create employment opportunities so as to reduce the unemployment rate in the state.
He called on the party supporters to vote him on Saturday during the governorship primaries, stressing that, the time of imposition and impunity was over in the state.
“We are here to change impunity, by your popular mandate we will change Akwa Ibom state for better”, he said.
Other speakers at the rally, who spoke in support of the party and canvass for votes, included the South-South and zonal officer of the party Mrs. Rachael Akpabio, the state chairman of the party, Mr. Ini Okopido, another governorship aspirant Mr. Dan Abia among others.