National Chairman of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Abdullahi Adamu, has inaugurated the Stephen Leo Ntukekpo-led faction of the party of the party, in a move seen as endorsing Senator Godswill Akpabio’s recognition in the state.
However, the faction of the party in the state led by the outgone national secretary of the defunct Caretaker Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC), John James Akpanudoedehe, has dragged Adamu, as it warned him to respect a subsisting court order mandating status quo in the state.
Ntukekpo, who was the factional Chairman of the party before now, as the then Mai Mala Buni-led APC chose to recognise the executive committee endorsed by the former National Secretary of CECPC, Akpanudoedehe.
Last Monday’s inauguration of the Stephen Leo Ntukekpo committee with the latter as chairman was witnessed by other members of the National Working Committee (NWC) Monday at the Party’s National Secretariat, Abuja.
Ntukekpo’s swearing in came days after the Court of Appeal, Abuja Division, dismissed an Appeal by the defunct CECPC and affirmed the Federal High Court ruling that was declared in favour of Obong Stephen Ntukekpo.
The inauguration means the Mr. Austin Ekanem-led committee is no longer recognised to run affairs of the APC in Akwa Ibom State.
“Let me, on behalf of the members of the National Working Committee of our great party congratulate you on your inauguration as the Akwa Ibom State chairman of our party. This is a demonstration of our respect for the rule of law and as a law abiding organisation.
“We charge you to return home and reunite the members, grow the party and lead it to victory in all elections. Be assured of our support in this task. We are equally confident that you will succeed in this task because we believe in your ability.
“No group has lost out and no group has won because we are one united political family. I know Akwa Ibom State has proven men, that are led by a man; Senator Godswill Akpabio, who is a man of integrity. I know him to be a man that can bring everyone together. What we need is that togetherness”, the APC National Chairman, Adamu, said.
Adamu advised Ntukekpo to ensure the unity, progress and success of the party ‘in the spirit of no winner, no vanquished.’
Receiving the chairman and some members of the newly-inaugurated executive committee, in his office, Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Akpabio, detailed how the insistence of some party leaders and stakeholders that the right thing be done in the running of the party in the state, led to the recognition of Ntukekpo as the authentic chairman of the party.
“The office of the chairman shouldn’t have been given to anybody from Uyo Senatorial District, because the governorship ticket of the party in 2023 is zoned to Uyo. I took it up with some leaders of the party and they said we are going to change it later and I said how? I reminded them that we have just finished our Congresses and we are lucky that somebody from Eket Senatorial District just emerged as the chairman of the party, so why do we behave like the Ostrich?
“For us to have harmony in the state chapter of the party and to perform creditably and face the opposition with strength in 2023, we need to give the chairmanship to another District, so that the governorship can come from Uyo Senatorial District.
”I don’t have any problem with anybody’s aspiration. I can no longer be a governor by Nigeria’s Constitution. I can only be a stakeholder and a man of peace. I can only push you people up and pray that the God that assisted me to where I am today, can also assist you.”
However, Senator Akpanudoedehe has written to the APC National Chairman urging the latter to ‘quickly reverse the action he took so as not to foist a state of helplessness on the appellate court.’
In the letter by his lawyers, Akpanudoedehe maintained that Ntukekpo, INEC and APC, respondents in the case were all present in court when the order was granted.
“We have the instruction of Senator John James Akpanudoedehe herein after referred to as our client to write to you regarding the aforesaid subject matter.
“According to our client he was personally in the Court of Appeal on the 7° of April 2022 and in the presence of the 1* Respondent Stephen Leo Ntukekpo) and their Counsel as well as the Counsel to All Progressives Congress (4° Respondent) in the Appeal amongst other Respondents, who were all represented In court when the Court of Appeal directed all the parties In the Appeal to maintain the Status Quo pending the hearing and the determination Of the pending applications being Motion for Stay of Execution as well as challenge on the Courts Jurisdiction on the 17” May 2022 A copy of the said Order for emphasis is attached hereto for ease of reference and marked annexure J3A01.
‘”Our client further confirmed, that the order has also been served on the All Progressives Congress at its National Head Quarters.
”Surprisingly in spite and despite your Party’s presence in court and the service of the order on your party, you proceeded to take deliberate steps to overreach the order of the Court of Appeal by purporting to swear-in the It Respondent ‘as the State Chairman APC Akwa Ibom State on the 11th of April 2022, long ‘after the order of the Court of Appeal had been made to your knowledge.
“One ‘wonders to what end this will lead as the Independent National Electoral Commission was represented in court and is under a duty to obey the extant orders of the Court, the order for of Status ‘Quo that was made in this case.
“There Is no doubt that your action is allowed to stand would have foisted a ‘situation of helplessness on the Honourable Court with respect to the hearing. and the determination of the pending Motion for Stay of Execution. This Should not happen as courts are act known to make orders in vain.
“Take notice, therefore, that by this letter you are accorded 24 hours to reverse every action taken by you that has overreached extant orders of the Honourable Court of Appeal directing that status quo be maintained”.
Akpanudedehe warned that should the APC National Chairman fail to heed the wording of the letter, he will not hesitate to seek necessary legal remedies.
“In the event that you fail to comply with the dictates of this letter, we shall without reverting to you any further, take appropriate procedural steps within, ‘the law to ensure that your actions are referred and brought in line with the extant Orders of the Honourable Court amongst other sanctions known to law ‘The Rule of Law should prevail at all times. We say no more.”