Leadership of the All Progressives Congress (APC) led by its National Chairman, Alhaji Abdullahi Adamu on Saturday absented at the reception ceremony in honour of the immediate past National Secretary of the defunct Caretaker/Extra-ordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC) Senator (Dr) John James Akpan Udoedehe in Uyo, the Akwa Ibom State capital.
The invitation letters to the well-advertised event which took place at the State Government owned Ibom Hall grounds, shows that President Muhammadu Buhari, was invited as the Principal Guest of Honour, while Governor Mai Mala Buni of Yobe State and former Chairman of CECPC under which Senator Udoedehe served as Secretary was to serve as Chief Guest of Honour. The invitation also indicates that all Governors elected on the platform of the APC were to serve as Guests of honour.
Till the time of filling this report, no reason has been given for the absence of these dignitaries. However, some sources opined that a recent development in the Akwa Ibom State Chapter of the APC over a legal tussle was responsible for what looked like a boycott.
Senator Udoedehe was said to have insisted in dragging the party along in a lawsuit pending at the Appeal Court after the Federal High Court sitting at Abuja had declared Mr. Stephen Ntukekpo as Chairman of its Akwa Ibom State Chapter.
The APC withdrew its Appeal and same was struck out while the party went on to swear in Mr. Stepehen Ntukekpo. But Senator Udoedehe has threatened to initiate contempt proceedings against the national chairman of the party if the swearing in of Mr. Stepehen Ntukekpo is not reversed within 24 hours.
Until the CECPC was rested on March 26, 2023, Senator Udoedehe held sway as the de facto Chairman of the party at its National Secretariat. Shortly before the end of his tenure, a ‘vote of no confidence’ was passed on him by 10 out of the 12-member committee. It is yet unclear what may have led to this fallout but recent events suggest that the Senator may have stepped on many powerful toes while he served as Secretary.
Another source said, “The reception which was chaired by former Petroleum Minister and one-time National Chairman of ANPP Chief Don Etiebet saw the attendance of largely members of the Udoedehe political family. The MD of OGFZA Mr. Umana Okon Umana and Chief Victor Giadom, APC National Vice Chairman South-South were also in attendance and made brief remarks.
“It is doubtful if the recent peace moves of Chief Etiebet to the National Secretariat of the Party seeking for ‘soft-landing’ for the embattled former Secretary is yielding positive results or not.”