Politics

2023: APC to adopt NNPP gov candidate in Akwa Ibom — Party chieftain

The All Progressives Congress (APC) may adopt the governorship candidate of the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP), John Akpanudoedehe, as its candidate for the 2023 elections in Akwa Ibom State, a chieftain of the APC has disclosed.

The APC’s governorship candidate in Akwa Ibom, Akanimo Udofia, is not recognised by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) because the commission did not monitor the primary that produced him as required by law.

Etim Etim, a chieftain of the party in the state, disclosed this in an article posted on Facebook on Friday.

Mr Etim said party leaders arrived at the position in an online forum.

He did not, however, mention when the meeting took place.

“Immediately INEC closes the nomination processes and the campaigns begin (12th October for governorship), APC will hold a rally in Uyo to formally adopt Mr Akpanudoedehe as our candidate,’’ Mr Etim quoted a party leader in the state, Don Etiebet, as saying during the meeting.

Mr Etiebet, ex-petroleum minister, is a major supporter of Mr Akpanudoedehe.

Mr Akpanudoedehe, a former national secretary of the APC, recently defected to the NNPP where he secured the 2023 governorship ticket of the party.

He was the 2011 governorship candidate of the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria in Akwa Ibom, but lost at the general election to then Governor Godswill Akpabio of the Peoples Democratic Party.

Mr Akpanudoedehe has been the face of opposition in Akwa Ibom politics for over a decade now.

He dumped the APC for the NNPP when a faction of the party loyal to the former minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Mr Akpabio, outmanoeuvred him and handed over the governorship ticket of the party to Mr Udofia, an entrepreneur, who joined the party a few days to the primary.

Akpanudoedehe’ chances
Although INEC record shows that 18 political parties have fielded candidates for different positions for the 2023 general elections in the state, the governorship race in the state is likely going to be a straight battle for three political parties – the PDP, the NNPP and the Young Progressive Congress (YPP).

Umo Eno is the PDP candidate, while Bassey Albert, a senator, is the YPP candidate.

Analysts think the race, as it is right now, favours Mr Akpanudoedehe because he appears to be the only candidate that is not bogged down by litigations at the moment.

While Mr Akpanudoedehe has been touring local government areas and wards in the state, the candidates of the PDP and YPP are enmeshed in legal tussles.

Mr Eno enjoys the support of Governor Emmanuel. He was Mr Emmanuel’s Commissioner for Lands and Water Resources before he resigned to contest the PDP governorship primary.

Mr Eno’s former colleague in the cabinet, Akan Okon, who was also a governorship aspirant, has sued him over alleged forgery of secondary school certificate.

Mr Etim, a veteran journalist, said “the legal challenge appears like a thunder strike from within, and both Mr Eno and Governor Emmanuel have been particularly devastated.”

The YPP candidate, Mr Albert, a former ally of Governor Emmanuel, who recently dumped the PDP, is being prosecuted by the EFCC for alleged bribery.

He is accused of receiving bribes from a Lagos businessman, while he (Albert) was serving as a finance commissioner in the state under then Governor Akpabio.

Mr Etim believes “the decline in PDP’s strength, the legal troubles of the other two candidates and their loss of reputation in the face of blistering scandals, NNPP’s rising momentum and the expected endorsement of Mr Akpanudoedehe by APC big wigs, an upset is in the offing.”

If this happens, it would be the first time since 1999 that another party outside the PDP will produce a governor of the state.
(Premium Times)
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