A WELCOME ADDRESS PRESENTED BY SIR DR. INYANG DAN-ABIA KJW, THE STATE CARETAKER COMMITTEE (CTC) VICE CHAIRMAN OF APC, AKWA IBOM CHAPTER AND CHAIRMAN, CTC AKWA IBOM SOUTH (EKET) SENATORIAL DISTRICT ON THE OCASSION OF THE INTERACTIVE STAKEHOLDERS MEETING HELD AT THE CHRISTIAN RETREAT AND EVENT CENTER, AKPAUTONG, ESIT EKET LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREA, AKWA IBOM STATE ON SATURDAY, 9TH JANUARY 2021

PROTOCOL,

Dear Esteem Leaders and Stakeholders,

It is my pleasure and honour to sincerely welcome you to this interactive-stakeholders meeting of our great Party (APC) in Akwa Ibom South (Eket) Senatorial District (ESD). This meeting is auspices of the Senatorial District Caretaker Committee (CTC) for which I am privileged to be the chairman. As I look ahead of me, I see an array and assembly of men and women who have distinguished themselves in their various professional and occupational pursuit congregate under one roof in the name and banner of APC. As I relish your esteem presence in this hall, I am reminded of one of the profound quotes of Thomas Jefferson (3rd President of the United States) who in the Declaration of American independence in 1776 stated thus “. . . the search for liberty brought us here”. He was indeed referring to the purpose of their migration from England to the New World – America. During my contemplation for this gathering, I asked myself repeatedly, what shall I say brought us to Esit Eket? What are the compelling or propelling factors that prompted us to spend time and resources to assemble here in Esit Eket today? Our answers maybe varied but at the heart of it all is the future of APC in ESD nay, Akwa Ibom state.

My dear Leaders and stakeholders, please permit me to say that “a political Party is as strong as its members desire it to be”. There is no magic wand to party strength and cohesion other than commitment and sacrifice by members. We are here in Esit Ekit for an interactive meeting to remind ourselves of the much-needed commitment and sacrifices from all and sundry in order to build a strong, vibrant and contest ready political party preparatory to 2023. This subject shall be discussed exhaustively in our interactive session with everyone making his/her input.

Before then, I will like to thank the Almighty God for His goodness and mercies; particularly for sparing our lives and families from pain and grieve of the dreaded covid-19 pandemic that has caused untold hardship and deaths to humanity. Across the globe including Nigeria, it has been tales of human resilience and deaths since the advent of the pandemic. We thank God that we are alive and still standing.

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I wish in the first instance to commend and appreciate HE, President Muhammadu Buhari for the astute management of the pandemic through the Presidential Task Force on Covid-19 that has provided direction and assistance in the containment of the pandemic. I wish to further commend President Buhari for effectively stirring the ship of state despite the global economic down-turn, sensitive insecurity, End SARS protest and unpatriotic conspiracies of the opposition to rock the ship of state. We in APC, ESD, nay Akwa Ibom state appreciates Mr. President for giving ESD and Akwa Ibom state her pride of place as a major oil producing state as reflected in the regular payments of accrued statutory revenue in that regard and appointment of the state indigenes into strategic positions in the Federal Government. Particular mention must be made of the recent appointment of Barr. Effiong Akwa as the Sole Administrator, Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC); HE, Senator Godswill Akpabio (CON), Hon. Minister, Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs; Senator Ita Enang, SSA to the President, Niger Delta Affairs; Mr. Umana Okon Umana, Managing Director/CEO, Oil and Gas Free Zones Authority; Sir Barr. Bassey Dan-Abia, Federal Commissioner 1, Nigeria Law Reform Commission; Engr. Benedict Ukpong, FNSE, Hon. Federal Commissioner, National Population Commission; Senator J. J. Akpanudoedehe (Ph.D), National Secretary, APC CTC and a host of others.

My Party leaders, please permit me to express my heartfelt commendation to the National Chairman, APC, Caretaker Extra-Ordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC) HE, Mai Mala Buni, Governor of Yobe State alongside our indefatigable, astute and dynamic National Secretary, Pastor Senator J.J. Akpanudoedehe (Ph.D) and other members of their team for the cohesion, tact and vision they have brought to the Party since their inauguration on June, 25th 2020. The CECPC is indeed repositioning the Party by providing leadership, direction with renewed hope and rising expectations for the Party and its teeming members. Admittedly, the CECPC has saved the party from the throes of disintegration sustaining its structure from the ward, chapter, State, Zone, and National levels through the various CTC emplaced to manage affairs of the Party.

In that regard, I wish to thank and sincerely appreciate the Chairman APC, CTC, Akwa Ibom Chapter, Dr. Ita Udosen for giving his all to hold-forth the structure and fortunes of the party in the state. As an off-shoot of the state structure, Eket Senatorial zone of the party which by the grace of God is entrusted to my care as Chairman shall do no less nor allow the fortunes of the party in the zone to diminish under any guise or circumstance. As Chairman, my Exco and I are poised to work in unison with the twelve CTC Chairmen representing the twelve Local Government chapters of the zone. Besides, by this interactive meeting, I trust and hope that our leaders and stakeholders shall set a template for a worthy party/member relationship in the zone which expectedly will foster unity and provide the requisite leadership and vision for the advancement of the ideals of the party.

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Unquestionably, ESD is not only the bread basket of Nigeria from where a substantial percentage of the nation’s resource is derived, it is also a stronghold of the All Progressives Congress. Amidst electoral malfeasance, Oron Federal constituency has remained the bastion of APC in Akwa Ibom state winning one of the twenty-six seats in the state House of Assembly elections in 2015 (Urue Offong/Oruko) and in 2019 (Mbo). Our principal party men and women have continued to remain resilient and tenacious resisting every inducement to jump ship. As we strategize to set a new tone of engagement for our party, I implore all our leaders and stakeholders not to relent in their support for the Party. Your moral support is as valuable as your financial support.

Though it may seem inappropriate, courtesy and necessity dictates that as Chairman, I exercise my discretion to acknowledge leaders who have been supporting the party in the zone as I sincerely hope they and others not mentioned here will continue to do so. They are in no specific order of importance as I recognize and celebrate Obong Nsima U. Ekere; Sir Barr. Bassey Dan-Abia (KJW); Senator Udoma Udo Udoma; Chief Edet Nkpubre; HH, Lady Valerie Ebe; Senator Eme Uffot Ekaete; Senator Nelson Efiong; Engr. Benedict Ukpong, FNSE; Arc. Otu Ita Toyo; Pastor Barr. Effiong Akwa and others.

Fellow Party men and women, as mentioned earlier, a political party is as strong as its members want it to be. My thinking is that everyone of us here desire and cherish a strong, vibrant and united political party. That is the only way we can win elections. Just as we find time for the desires of our heart, let us find time, make commitments and be ready to make sacrifices for our Party. We must be willing to provide sustainable support for our party in order not to only sustain the existing structure but to expand and build new frontiers. As you are aware, Party membership registration and revalidation commences on the 25th of January 2021. We cannot afford to sit on the fence. We must be on the offensive and go out aggressively for membership recruitment. This calls for public enlightenment and sensitization of potential members who have either been politically passive in the past or just attained the constitutional age of voter registration.

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As we are all aware, it is important to note that the on-going restructuring and repositioning of the party is geared towards the conduct of ward, chapter, state, zonal and national congresses culminating in the National Convention of the Party scheduled for June 2021. In the midst of these activities, there shall be zoning of Party offices/positions. Where does ESD stand? What is our interest in the scheme of things to come in the state and National levels? ESD MUST be in a position to define its interest and immediately commence advocacy and negotiation for the attainment of such interest. Afterall, politics and power concede nothing without demand.

I am not in a position to publicly comment on unsubstantiated rhetoric oozing out from certain quarters. However, I am convinced it’s time we set our own agenda and begin to work towards it else we get caught unaware in the political chess board. For instance, it is widely reported that 2023 governorship slot is zoned to Uyo Senatorial District (USD), if that be so, what is our interest in the power sharing structure in the state? What is ESD coming away with should it support USD for governor?

Finally, my distinguish stakeholders and great leaders, it is my fervent hope and expectation that at the end of our deliberations today, leaders and stakeholders of APC, ESD will come up with a communique that shall clearly define the interest of the senatorial zone in both Akwa Ibom state and the nation at large.

There, I rest my case and declare the interactive session open.

God bless us all in Jesus Name.

Long live APC, ESD

Long Live APC, Akwa Ibom Chapter

Signed:

Sir Dr. Inyang Dan-Abia (KJW)

APC, ESD, CTC Chairman.

09 – 01- 2021