The All Progressives Congress (APC) in Akwa Ibom State looks set to contest the 2019 elections as a united front with the coming on board of one of its erstwhile governorship aspirants, Senator John Udoedehe.
Bassey Dan-Abia and Dr Edet Efretuei, two of the four aspirants that contested the APC governorship primary election had since thrown their weight behind the party’s governorship candidate, Obong Nsima Ekere, but Senator Udoedehe had been silent, fuelling speculations that he was going to support Governor Udom Emmanuel, the standard of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Addressing his supporters at his residence in Uyo on Saturday, Senator Udoedehe directed them to support Obong Ekere and all APC candidates in the election.
“I have given direction in the open. Don’t sit on the fence. If you do it, you are not my person. This is the governor (Obong Ekere). We have all agreed that we will support our party’s candidates. Let me tell you, APC is determined to take Akwa Ibom,” he said.
He threatened to disown any of his supporters that supports the PDP, saying, “Any deviation by any member of my group nicodemously will be met with expulsion and we will have nothing to do with him. If you are my follower, don’t nicodemously follow PDP. If they tell me, you are on your own. We have made this man (Obong Ekere) governor.”
Udoedehe assured his supporters of integration in the incoming APC administration of Ekere.
Ekere, the APC governorship candidate, announced that the APC state leadership will immediately set up a high-powered integration committee to work out the accommodation of Udoedehe’s supporters in the campaign structure.
“Unity has returned to the APC family in Akwa Ibom. The election is finished. Look at those that are here, the timbres and calibres of Akwa Ibom politics. This is the strength of Akwa Ibom,” he said.
Ekere was confident that the APC will win all the elections in Akwa Ibom State next year.
Senator Godswill Akpabio, a former Governor of the state, described Udoedehe as a political juggernaut and colossus and congratulated Ekere for going into the election with a united party behind him.
“Udoedehe has done something significant. He has collapsed his team into Obong Nsima Ekere’s team. Therefore, there is no division. Henceforth, it is APC all the way.
“Let me congratulate Ekere as the first governorship candidate of the APC in Nigeria today that has no single court case or faction in his state. Everybody is totally behind him. We have all queued behind him and the masses have queued behind him. And I want to say, Your Excellency, God willing, you will win your election with a landslide,” he said.
He also assured President Muhammadu Buhari of a convincing victory in Akwa Ibom State.
Chief Don Etiebet, the APC Akwa Ibom State Chairman vowed that the state will be the foothold of President Buhari’s victory in the South-south and South-east zones.
Senator Ita Enang, the Director-General of the APC Campaign Organisation, announced that the party leaders have agreed that the campaign organisation will be all-embracing and accommodate the interests of the aspirants for various positions in the primaries.