2023 A’Ibom APC, INEC Saga: Akan Udofia groans, Tackles Akpabio
INEC’s disowned Akwa Ibom factional APC Governorship candidate, Mr Akan Udofia says his decision to dump the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), for the All Progressives Congress (APC), on the advice of former Minister of Niger Delta, Senator Godswill Akpabio, has become his albatross and the worst political mistake of his life and political career.
Udofia who is alleged to have relocated to the United States after his disqualification by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, said, the position of the Electoral Commission which automatically bars him from participating in the 2023 general elections, makes Pastor Umo Eno and the PDP’s victory in next year’s general election almost a done deal.
Speaking through a close associate who hails from Oron Federal Constituency and pleaded anonymity because he was not authorized to speak on the matter, Mr Udofia said the perennial crisis that has destroyed the APC in Akwa Ibom State does not urgur well for both the party and democracy.
He regretted that the unwillingness of major Akwa Ibom APC stakeholders to shift grounds and concede in the larger interest of the party has led to the almost final demise of the party in the state.
Udofia’s associate noted that if Akpabio had dropped ego and greed and allowed for harmonization of the two factions in the State, comprising of the Senator Udoedeghe and his, the tension would have been doused and reconciliation would have brought about a united APC capable of giving the PDP a good fight in 2023.
“With the way things stand out, APC is beyond repairs with the defection of Senator Udoedeghe to the NNPP. More damaging is that major APC stakeholders in Akwa Ibom will not support anything that has the imprimatur of Akpabio. That is why Akan Udofia’s aspiration is dead on arrival because it’s almost impossible to have the buy in of the likes of Obong Umana Umana, Nsima Ekere, and even some former aides and associates of Akpabio from Essien Udim like Nse Ntuen, Godwin Afangideh and co. So if you can’t win even in Essien Udim where Akpabio comes from, what is the basis of aspiring in the first place” he said.
Mr Udofia who was on the PDP Governorship primary ballot having been cleared to contest the primary, defected to the APC faction loyal to the embattled former Minister of Niger Delta, Senator Godswill Akpabio.
The group held her controversial governorship primary at midnight, where Mr Akan Udofia was alleged to have emerged as its factional Governorship candidate, different from the INEC recognized primary that was billed to hold at Sheergrace Arena, Uyo.
It could be recalled that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has announced that the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Akwa Ibom State has no governorship candidate for the 2023 general elections.
The Resident Electoral Commissioner in Akwa Ibom, Mike Igini, stated this in a report sent to the INEC headquarters in Abuja.
Igini in the letter dated May 27, 2022, said: “We wish to report that the APC governorship primary scheduled to hold on Thursday, May 26, 2022, at the Sheergrace Arena, Nsikak Eduok Avenue, Uyo, Akwa Ibom State did not hold at all,”
The report stated that the commission’s monitoring team, led by Mr Igini, in the company of the Commissioner of Police in Akwa Ibom, Andrew Amiengheme, arrived at the venue of the primary for the third time at 6:45 p.m., without seeing anyone.
The heads of the two federal agencies were informed that the APC election committee members were held up by an angry group of APC members along a major road in Uyo.
The operatives of the State Security Services (SSS) later rescued the APC election officials that night and took them to their (SSS) facility in the city.
The Chairman of the Election Committee, Tunde Ajibulu had told Mr Igini on the phone that he was unable to leave the SSS office because he was traumatised and couldn’t go ahead with the primary.
Mr Ajibulu reportedly told Mr Igini that Sheergrace Arena was not the venue given to him by the party’s national office in Abuja to conduct the governorship primary and concluded that “all activities be postponed until he gets back at the Commission.
Mr Igini at that point briefed the reporters who were present at the venue. He left the venue at about 10:30 p.m. that day.
The APC faction that is backed by Mr Akpabio later held the governorship primary of the party around midnight at a different venue, where Akan Udofia, a man who was less than a month old in the party, was declared winner of the exercise.
A governorship aspirant and former national secretary of the APC, John Akpanudoedehe, because of frustration over the issue, defected to the New Nigerian Peoples Party where he secured the party’s governorship ticket for the 2023 election in the state while Mr Akan Udofia who emerged as Akpabio’s factional Governorship candidate has fled to the USA upon his disqualification by INEC.