BEING PRESS BRIEFING BY PROFESSOR CHRISTOPHER EKONG

TITLED: We Must Not Allow Individual Goals, Greed, Hatred, Self-centeredness, and Unforgiving Spirit To Kill Our Party

ALL PROGRESSIVES CONGRESS (APC) – AKWA IBOM STATE

Gentlemen of the Press,

I welcome you to this press briefing; while commending your professional conduct and a remarkable goodwill discharged in honouring my invitation even at a very short notice.

As esteemed practitioners in the Fourth Estate of the realm, you will however, recall that soon after the conduct and conclusion of the All Progressives Congress (APC) gubernatorial primaries in Akwa Ibom State, I had promptly issued a Press Statement declaring my clear stand and unconditional acceptance of the entire outcome of that well respected and celebrated exercise.

I did this, first as a frontline contender in the said race; but most importantly, as a critical participant in the exercise; and whose ultimate interest was to emerge as the most preferred and acceptable choice of our great party. This grand desire was expectedly projected to be thrown up as the generally expressed goodwill of a majority delegates of our great party, to whom I had respectfully solicited their popular mandate to fly and indeed, bear the flag of our great party as her prime candidate in the upcoming gubernatorial elections of 2023. Nothing therefore could have been more cherished; and nothing could have been felt more accomplished than by clinching this great and most invaluable goal.

It should therefore be seen as certainly unarguable, that I did not participate in the race to be easily compromised, or at any rate, allow myself or the fate of my other compatriots in that race, who in the instance represented some of the finest crop of Akwa Ibom great sons, to either be defrauded or shortchanged in a race to offer the best leadership and governance solutions to our beloved state.

However, with the close of that august and benchmark event which saw one of the most accomplished sons of our great state emerge and become declared the democratically preferred choice of our esteemed delegates at the polls, I had acted in the true spirit of sportsmanship, appreciated and as well, accepted the position and decision of the All Progressives Congress (APC) as being sacrosanct and supreme in the concluded exercise.

But in a most unremarkable sense, though not entirely too surprising, incidents that have since gained momentum after this epochal exercise have left us with more than what ought to be desired. Sadly, these originate from otherwise, somewhat very respectable politicians and great party men. A fair segment of our party men and compatriots have so far reflected an unimaginable proportion of needless grievances by electing to voice their perceived rejection of the result and outcome of that free and considerably a fair rated exercise.

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In my clear consideration, these have all occurred, and are invariably steered at seizing every available media space, including opportunities, but most particularly, the new media, to inveigh against the All Progressives Congress Party conduct of the said exercise; and this, in the most inveigled manner. While their adopted procedure is held eternally suspect as being directed at voluntarily invoking invidious positions against our great party, it is however determined, and in its entire actuality, sought in every material and inelegant means to verily invalidate the concluded party exercise. To us, their action while being perceived as certainly objectionable is equally left very intrusive.

Predictably, I so perceive as well as every other right thinking and well-meaning member of the All Progressives Congress, that the set act targeted at holding every media space and employing every form of sensationalism for the slightest attention, is strangely deployed to gain some fraction of acceptability, evoke some levels and substantial degree of despicable sympathy, and thus mobilize a gullible and largely unsuspecting public to be widely drawn into sharing their highly subjudiced and obviously intransigent opinions.

The predictive strategy is therefore designed with a view to discrediting the sincerity of our great party to offering Akwa Ibom State a responsible and responsive leadership more adapted to steering the state and her people on a new course. But more worrisome, their action is however, also projected to destroy the spirit, credibility and faith in the wholesome and widely acceptable exercise and so, exclusively set its content to misrepresent the All Progressives Congress in the most uncharitable manner and character. All of this is centred on their insularity to accept the result of a plain and fair contest. These, they have ultimately revealed in their thinly veiled plots to actively destabilize the party through a divide and rule procedure.

Gentlemen of the Press, I can boldly therefore reveal that the action of some of these respected and not too respected compatriots, in the APC is nothing new. They are deliberately setting it on course, to however, grapple with the destiny of the party; and themselves, remaining some serial political entrepreneurs whose traditional stock-in-trade is to trade the fortunes of the party for their often see through personal and vaulted gains.

But the times, certainly have changed and we perhaps need to see these in the critical light of our political history as a political party in Akwa Ibom State. Let me transparently present the APC history and fate in this manner.

The APC Akwa Ibom State since 2015 has suffered several bouts of self-inflicted loses at the polls. Many of the loses had derived from inflexibility of persons who had contested for the rights to the gubernatorial slot of the party with venom that makes them decide that they cannot at any point accept the choice of the party men and women except, when such decisions were taken exclusively in their particular favour.

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The Party however has been very clear on how the decision and process to throw up candidates for elections is made. All the aspirants that participate in the election process of the party had long known of these processes. It is always disappointing that the people that know the processes of the Party and have benefitted variously are the ones that create the most problems of the APC.

The uncompromising clash of the beneficiary stakeholders had over the years robbed the Party of success at the polls in the State and had totally weakened the Party‟s ability to help maintain her teeming members, supporters and admirers in the State who always bear the brunt of these stakeholders covetous attitude. They refuse to loose grounds and mend fences in order to win elections in the State for the sake of her teeming members‟ participation in government. After killing the aspirations and yearnings of serious party members to win elections in the State, these covetous stakeholders run to Abuja to buy themselves and cronies into various national appointments. Once they land the Abuja appointments with the 20% votes they milked from the impoverished and famished party members, they will only return after 4 years to contest another election with intention to repeat the same cycle.

Our eyes are now open. “Our mumu don do”.

At the risk of repeating myself, I went into the governorship race with a clear and committed vision to return Akwa Ibom back to her greatness. I called on the party delegates to support me in this wise. Others in the race did same. We all knew the day of the primaries and we all participated. Party delegates from all the Local Government Areas in the State were present and presented. The election Panel from the National Party and monitors from INEC were all on ground and as well introduced to us. All the aspirants had the opportunity to woo delegates, which we all did. Delegates voted as they desired and produced their choice and same was returned by the electoral panel. If there was any contention among voting delegates at the primaries, there would have been protests and even fights by the contending delegates. What I rather saw was jubilation and outright acceptance of the process by the voting party delegates.

Now some salient questions would suffice here: If aspirants are complaining today about list of delegates, where were those aspirants in the meeting we had the night before the primaries with the Party Leader and the State Party Executive Council? If aspirants did not have the delegates list, which delegates were they canvasing and camping? If one of us had done better, we have the bounden duty to support him in order for us to win the Akwa Ibom State general elections for the first time. The „protest convention‟ always aimed at weakening our party prior to elections must in this consideration be stoutly resisted by all devoted members of our great All Progressives Congress (APC), in Akwa Ibom State.

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Some protesting aspirants had their different version of the party by conducting parallel congresses; they had no business to go and fight for primaries‟ materials that was not sent by the National Party to their version of the Party.
I was initially convinced to join in the protestation against Akan Udofia‟s late entry into our Party for the governorship race until I went studiously through the Constitution of our party and realized that in line with the powers of the APC as stipulated in Article 31(2) of the APC Constitution (as amended), Akan Udofia applied for and was duly granted a waiver to contest the governorship primary election of the APC, as conveyed by the National Working Committee of the APC (through the National Secretary). The said provision of the party Constitution states thus: “2. WAIVER

Subject to the approval of the National Executive Committee, the National Working Committee may in special circumstances grant a waiver to a person not otherwise qualified under Article 31(1) of this Constitution if, in its opinion, such a waiver is in the best interest of the Party.”

Obong Akan Udofia had been declared winner of the APC governorship primaries‟ in Akwa Ibom State. I had since accepted the result as declared by the Party. I want to use this opportunity to call on all other aspirants in the race to sheathe their swords and open the doors for reconciliation and healing to support and work with the flag bearer, Obong Akan Udofia to win the governorship elections come 2023.

The clearest opportunity open to APC to win the elections in AKS is now. So every obstacle on our road and quest to realize this must be avoided. We must accept the choice of the people and that of the party as a sacrosanct mandate that should be allowed to rule the day.

This is the greatest price and respect we can pay to building our democracy.
Thank you and may God bless you all.

Prof. Christopher Nyong Ekong
Uyo.
31/05/22