The crisis rocking the state chapter of the All ProgressivesCongress (APC) seems to have taken another twist as the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), on Friday, published the names and particulars of 18 candidates for 2023 governorship and state assembly elections in the state without the party having any candidate.
The list of the governors and deputy governorship candidates contesting the 2023 election in the state include: AA: Ekanem Abasiekeme Mfon/Asuquo Eddy Edet, AAC: Otu Iboro Robert/Hitching Uduak Caroline, ACCORD: Coffie Emem Samuel/Archibong Love Charles Efiom, ADC: Nya-Etok Ezekiel/Namkere Blessing Etim, ADP: Essien Ekere Sunday/Effiong Godwin Okon, APC: Nil, APGA: Ekpo Ita Bassey/Udoh Anietie Augustus, APM: Ekong Eyo Eyo/Umoette Raphael Edwin, and APP: Mbaba Ehpraim Okon/Essang Ebiange Nelly Edet.
Others are, BP: Ekpenyong Akaniyene Efiowe/Itoneeshiet Amaiso, LP: Okon Lincoln Charles/Edet Emem Edet, NNPP: Akpanudoedge John James/Afangideh Godwin Michael, NRM: Etang Kubiat Bassey/Ekpe Mfon Effiong, PDP: Eno Umo Bassey/Eyakenyi Akon Etim, PRP: Ekanem Sunday Francis/Ene Emmanuel Effiom, SDP: Udoh Emem Monday/Ukut Benedict Asuquo, YPP: Andy Nyeneime Eno/Ebieme Affiong Edet and ZLP: Thomas Nsikak Hogan/Udoyo Essi Umo.
With this development, the APC may not be on the ballot for the 2023 governorship election.
This is the outcome of the infighting and battle for the soul of the party which has seen the APC enmeshed in a protracted crisis and superiority battle between a faction loyal to former minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio and former caretaker secretary of the party, Senator J. J. Udoedeghe.
According to INEC, the none publication of names and particulars of any APC governorship candidate is sequel to the inability of the party to conduct a valid governorship primary monitored by the commission in line with the Electoral Act 2022.
Though Mr Akan Udofia from the Akpabio’s camp was alleged to have emerged as the factional governorship candidate of the party, INEC insisted the midnight primary which purportedly produced him was not monitored by the commission as required by law, a flaw that invalidates his candidacy.
The protracted crisis led to Senator Udoedeghe who was one of the party’s leading governorship candidates defecting to the NNPP where he emerged as the party’s standard bearer.
The development has not only dampened the morale of APC members in the state but has jeopardized the chances of the party also having candidates for the Senatorial, House of Representatives and State House of Assembly seats as almost all were in contention by the two factions up to when the deadline for submission of names elapsed.
Reacting to the development, an APC chieftain, Chief Ita Awak, in an open letter to the party titled, “The tragic follies of megalomania and unbridled greed”, lamented that the party has been rendered near paralysis with no hope of revival.
“As I write this in the morning of Saturday, 16th July, 2023, no member of the A’Ibom State Chapter of the APC is aware of our governorship candidate for the 2023 election. In addition, nobody seems aware of the 26 State House of Assembly, 10 Federal House of Representatives and three senatorial candidates that emerged from the primaries lawfully conducted by the party and supervised by INEC as stipulated in the new 2022 Electoral Act”, he lamented.
He noted with dismay that the pall that overshadows and puts the APC in a condition of near paralysis is the resultant consequence of the crisis that Senator Godswill Obot Akpabio and Senator J. J. Akpanudoedeghe and their supporters in ADF and AAC respectively engineered in their selfish effort to be in and exercise absolute control of the soul of the party.
According to Chief Awak, “as things stand now and with Senator Akpanudoedeghe and his enablers defecting to pursue his ambition in the NNPP, I have a few questions for the remnants of the AAC still in the APC and the hard core operatives of Senator Akpabio’s ADF now strutting around emptily and dishonestly mouthing reconciliation and unity: What are the immediate and positive political gains that has accrued to you individually and collectively from the bitter divisions you people sowed into the body and soul of the APC in Akwa Ibom State?
“If you dare to ask me, I will tell you very truthfully that you guys have immeasurably lost much more than the abject infinitesimal you delude yourself to be your gains. For instance, recall how some of you secretly schemed to exclude others and put yourselves forward as the National Delegates. We are all witnesses to how the jamboree of both AAC and ADF teams suffered a disgraceful shipwreck in Abuja. This disaster got Akwa Ibom APC exposed on the national stage, despite the ludicrous and imbecilic grandstanding, that our delegates had no genuine votes and did not contribute a single vote to the eventual victory of the party’s flag bearer”, he stated.
Chief Awak berated the APC national leadership for its complicity that have left the party practically prostrate in A’Ibom State. “Have the needed lessons been learned? It is very doubtful”, he concluded.