The factional Chairman of the All Progressives Congress in Akwa Ibom State, Austin Ekanem has narrated how the immediate past minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio botched last minute efforts to save the party from intractable crisis in the oil rich state.
Ekanem, while recounting the well meaning efforts of stakeholders in a statement made available to journalists said:
” During one of the court sessions of the appeal filed by Senator John Udoedehe 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 Udoedehe who was in court should be approached and briefed about an out of court settlement. The legal counsel to Senator Udoedehe, Solomon Umoh SAN, offered to do the briefing and Senator Udoedehe 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 Udoedehe 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 apportunity 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.
“Let me state here without mincing words that Victor Antai/Senator Godswill Akpabio/ADF 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.”
Recall that the gubernatorial ticket and senatorial ticket of Akwa Ibom North West Senatorial District where the former governor is a candidate are both subject of litigations weeks after the conduct of party primaries.