INTERVIEW: We’re positioning APC to take Akwa Ibom – Iniobong John

The All Progressives Congress, APC, in Akwa Ibom State, over the years, has been enmeshed in internal crisis which has affected its chances of occupying the hilltop mansion and other elective offices in the state. However, the chairman, media and publicity of the party, Otuekong Iniobong John, in this interview with DAILY POST, expressed optimism that the party will come out stronger and take over the state. Excerpts!

The All Progressives Congress, APC, has suffered a lot of setbacks in Akwa Ibom due to internal wranglings, are there steps being taken to address the issues?

You know that politics is a game of negotiation, alignment and realignment. There is bound to be conflict, misunderstanding, fights and crisis. But the bottom line is the resolution of the conflict. It is not strange to experience all these in any political party, but every reasonable party should from time to time set up a machinery to reconcile aggrieved members back to the party.

On our part, the Senate President, Senator Godswill Akpabio, during APC stakeholders’ meeting in the Uyo Senatorial district on Thursday last week directed that a reconciliation committee should be set up to address some of the issues rocking the party in the state. I believe that the chairman of our party, Obong Stephen Ntukekpo, is working towards that.

We will ensure that anybody that is reconcilable would be reconciled back; those who have the interest of the party would surely express their grievances and I’m confident that the issues that will be raised shall be addressed. I believe there is light at the end of the tunnel; APC in Akwa Ibom will come out better, stronger at the end of the exercise. We will take over the state.

One of the contending issues is who would be the leader of the party in the state, has that been addressed?

This is a very glaring case, the leader of a political party in a state is always the governor of that state; in a situation where the party does not have a governor, the highest ranking political office holder from that state in the party will be the leader. As of now, APC does not have a governor in Akwa Ibom and the highest ranking political office holder is Senator Godswill Akpabio, who is the number three citizen in the country. Not just that, Akpabio is the only person who has been a governor in the party, I mean at the state level, so it is undisputed that no other person would come up now to struggle that position with him.

Governor Umo Eno, on December 6, 2023, set up a transition committee for local government administration, are you satisfied with that?

The idea of instituting a transition committee to run the affairs of local government councils is a breach of the constitution. The Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended says that there shall be elected local government council to run the affairs of local government administration nationwide, so there was no provision for unelected local government officials anywhere and to that extent one can safely conclude that the contraption called local government transition committee is strange to the constitution and then it is argued that anything that is in conflict with the provisions of the constitution is null and void to the extent of the inconsistency.

It is an aberration, a contraption and unknown to the constitution, so our party being a believer in due process and in the constitution, we don’t believe in that process.

All things being equal, AKISIEC following the directives of Gov Umo Eno would conduct LG elections by June, 2024, how prepared is APC to grab at least a few local government areas in the state?

Well, you know that nationwide, local government administration is known to be exclusive business of the party in power in that state because the state electoral commission is created to serve the interest of the party in power. So you will agree with me that it’s always in very rare cases that you will see an opposition party defeating the party in power in a local government election that is conducted by the electoral commission set up to serve the interest of the party in power.

The Young Progressives Party, YPP, over the weekend collapsed its structure into APC and two of YPP candidates will be having a rerun next month; is APC working towards supporting those candidates?

Well, the candidates involved- one from Ibiono Ibom State constituency and the Ikono/Ini federal constituency are still the candidates of the Young Progressives Party, YPP, they’ve not defected to APC yet, so they are squarely facing their elections and not a matter of APC. The fact that their leader defected to the APC does not mean that all of them are now in APC; however, it is believed that in due course, they will join their master to our party, APC.

INTERVIEW: We’re positioning APC to take Akwa Ibom – Iniobong John

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