2019: Tension in Akwa Ibom APC over Rivers State Appeal Court judgment ••• Nsima Ekere May not Stand Election

•••Suit seeking dissolution of Okopido led SWC threatens Ekere’s ambition

There is panic within the Akwa Ibom State Chapter of the All Progressives Congress following Wednesday’s judgment of the Court of Appeal in Rivers State which affirmed the disqualification of Tonye Cole as the APC Governorship candidate for Rivers state and the non recognition of all the ward, chapter and state executives of the party following the faulty primary that brought them to office.

The tension within the Okopido led State Working Committee, SWC, is because the same scenario of Rivers state is about playing out in Akwa Ibom state following a suit by some aggrieved party members who are seeking the dissolution of the Okopido led executives on the grounds that their emergence did not follow laid down procedure.

The suit which has as Claimants Rev Samuel Ukut, Elder Sunday Akrasi and Barr. Monday Udofot, are praying the court to declare the Okopido led executives illegal. The implication of this is that, using Rivers state as a reference point, any court judgement declaring Ini Okopido and his executives as illegal automatically disqualifies Obong Nsima Ekere as the party’s governorship candidate and jeopardizes the chances of all APC candidates from contesting the 2019 election as valid candidates of the party.

Aware of the dangers that lies ahead if the suit leads to the dissolution of the Okopido led executives, there is pressure on the petitioners to withdraw the suit and seek an out-of-court settlement.

The plaintiffs have also gone underground following death threats by some elements within the APC loyal to two leading chieftains of the party.

It could be recalled that the aggrieved party executives are insisting that Ikot Ekpene Senatorial district alone has gotten more than enough positions to the detriment of Uyo Senatorial district, hence their call of Mr Ini Okopido to step aside for proper power balancing for equity and fair representation and also to correct the faulty process of the primary that brought him into office.

According to a source who pleaded anonymity, the APC SWC members are of the opinion that the office of the State Chairman should be moved from Ikot Ekpene to Uyo Senatorial district since the Caucus Chairman; Otuekong Don Etiebet, State Leader; Senator Godswill Akpabio, State Woman Leader; Ekaette Uloma Akpabio and Deputy Governorship candidate; Dr Amadu Attai are all from the same Senatorial district leaving Uyo Senatorial district with no significant position in the power equation of the party.

The Case with a suit No. HU/357/201, assigned to Court 1 Federal High Court Uyo, had the APC National Working Committee, State Working Committee and INEC, joined as defendants in the suit.

The aggrieved party executives mostly from Uyo Senatorial district are asking the court to among other things; a declaration that the Wards and Chapters Congresses held in consonant with congress guidelines on the 5th and 12th of May 2018 be declared as the authentic executive of the party, that Mr Ini Ikopido should cease to parade self as chair because his acclaimed nomination and declaration by selected elders was in breach of any known party law, a declaration that all actions and deeds emanating from his table be declared null and void and an order seeking to compel the APC to conduct a valid State congress among others.

Culled From The Guide Newspaper.

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