A factional state chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Akwa Ibom chapter, Austin Ekanem, has explained why the former Minister of Niger Delta Chief Godswill Akpabio and the former national secretary of the party Senator James Akpanudoedehe, could not resolve their differences ahead of the 2023 general elections.
Ekanem in a statement made available to newsmen Thursday in Abuja, blamed the former Minister Akpabio for the problem which may deny the party from fielding governorship and other candidates for various elective seats in the 2023 poll.
“Let me state here without mincing words that Victor Antai/Senator Godswill Akpabio should be held responsible for whatever happens to our great party the APC in Akwa Ibom State. But for his arrogance, we would’ve still had a party called our own,” he alleged.
Shedding light on how the move for an out of court settlement between Akpabio and Akpanudoedehe was failed to see the light of the day, Ekanem claimed thus: “During one of the court sessions of the appeal filed by Senator John Akpanudoedehe against the judgement obtained by Stephen Ntokekpo and co in respect of the State Congress of APC in Akwa Ibom State at the court of appeal. The judges didn’t sit on time and afforded the legal counsel on both sides time to interact and share their experiences regarding such cases.
“The legal counsel on both sides agreed that this case will not help the party at that time especially as the APC Primaries Election was fast approaching. They decided that Senator John Akpanudoedehe who was in court should be approached and briefed about an out of court settlement.
“The legal counsel to Senator Akpanudoedehe, Solomon Umoh SAN, offered to do the briefing and Senator Akpanudoedehe agreed with them and the court was approached for an out of court settlement, which the court promptly agreed and set a date for parties to return to court with a resolution, otherwise the court will commence the hearing of the appeal.
“The legal counsel on both sides met, set a date and venue for the settlement meeting, each side was to setup a five man negotiating team. On the date of the meeting, the group backed by Senator John Akpanudoedehe came up with the five persons that was agreed upon, who were led by; Archbishop Samuel Akpan, Chief Godwin Afangide, Engr. Akanimo Edet, Dr. Ndem Ndem and Rachel Akpabio.
“On the other side, the ADF backed by Senator Godswill Akpabio could not even raise the five persons required, they came with four persons, led by; Victor Antai, Dr. Emaeyak Ukpong, Barr. Imo Akpan and Hon Pat Etete Ineme. The legal counsels for the teams briefed them on why the meeting was convened.
“Victor Antai was the first to respond as the leader of their team, arrogantly asked, ‘on whose instance was the meeting convened? and braggadociosly told everyone seated in that meeting that they were comfortable with the situation as it is’ . Archbishop Samuel Akpan responded telling Victor Antai that it appears he was not properly briefed by his leadership and the much talk about out of court settlement meeting ended in less than 10 minutes. That was how Akwa Ibom APC lost a golden opportunity to reconcile because of ego and arrogance.
“I want to ask; Where is that arrogance now? I have heard of the ongoing begging, petitions and protest emanating from their camp. I want to ask Victor Antai if he is still comfortable with the situation as it is today.”