The crisis rocking Akwa Ibom State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has worsened, following the inauguration of an elders’ forum by a faction of the party loyal to the Niger Delta Affairs Minister, Senator Godswill Akpabio.
The forum, which has an ex-military governor of Rivers and Ogun states, Group Captain Sam Ewang (retd), as chairman, was inaugurated yesterday in Uyo.
The body, said to be a pressure group, would serve as a veritable mobilisation force within the ranks of elders of the party.
However, in a swift reaction, the state working committee of the party, chaired by Dr. Ita Udosen, has distanced itself from the inauguration of the forum, saying it was a creation of those determined to destroy the party.
The state publicity Secretary of the APC, Mr. Nkereuwem Enyongekere, in a statement yesterday dissociated the party from the forum.
The attention of the State Working Committee (SWC) has been drawn to the purported inauguration of a faceless ‘Akwa Ibom State APC Elders Forum’ earlier today – an action which is a direct affront, novel in its recklessness and a defilement of the constitution of our party by spent forces.
It is outrageous that the contractors of the so-called forum and its sponsors, in a distress bid to validate their penchant for illegality, embarked on a name-dropping spree and concocting excuses for revered party leaders, who have since distanced themselves from the event.
However, an ex-commissioner for Works in the state, Mr. Don Etim, who chaired the inauguration, said the need to boost the party’s fortune necessitated the creation of the forum.
Thanking the stakeholders for their contributions to the party’s growth over the years, Etim urged them to brace for more responsibilities and demands, as APC prepares for the 2023 general election in the state.
Senator Akpabio, represented by an ex-deputy governor, Noble Lady Valerie Ebeh, implored members of the forum to be united in pursuing the common good of the party.
APC is waxing stronger by the day. We have to work in unity. It is our collective wish that this party succeeds beyond this. So, let us embrace the task of only promoting the interest of the party at all times, he said.
Ewang thanked God for the success of the inauguration.
He said it was held after months of consultation within the party.
Ewang, a member of the state caucus of the party, said the forum had the blessing of leaders of the party.
He said the Senior Special Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Ita Enang, failed to attend the inauguration after missing his Uyo bound flight.
He advised members of the forum and party to shun rancour and steer the APC boat irrespective of divergent personal interests ahead of 2023.
The newly inaugurated state chairman of the forum promised to perform well in his new capacity.
Inaugurated with Ewang were the Deputy State Chairman, Prince Akpabio Ukpa; state Secretary, Dr. Chris Akpan; state Women Coordinator, Obonganwan Geraldine Etuk; state Legal Adviser, Mr. Chris Okorie; three state vice chairmen, three state deputy secretaries and 10 advisers.