Barely a month after the immediate past National Secretary of the All Progressives Congress, Senator John Akpanudoedehe, dumped the APC, the Akwa Ibom chapter of the party on Tuesday says his absence has not been felt by its members and supporters.
Akpanudoedehe, who announced his resignation on June 6, defected from the APC for the New Nigerian Peoples Party where he became the party’s governorship candidate in Akwa-Ibom State.
“Henceforth, I cease to be a member of the APC in my ward (Ward 6, in Uyo LGA) or anywhere for that matter. I hereby relinquish all rights accrued to me as a member of the APC, member of the National Advisory Council and member of the National Caucus of the APC,” he said.
The former Senator representing Akwa-Ibom North-East Senatorial District also apologised to his supporters and reassured them that the move is for the best.
His exit from the ruling party was somehow shrouded in controversy and kept many pondering whether he was pressured or forced out by the leadership of the crisis-riddled Akwa Ibom APC.
In an exclusive interview with The PUNCH two weeks after his exit, an emotional Akpanudoedehe broke his silence on why he left.
The politician told our correspondent that he opted to leave because of the manner he was treated.
“But I took it in good faith. I don’t want to make an issue of it because as the immediate past national secretary, I expect the party to treat me with modesty and fairness. There is this issue that keeps repeating itself in the party.
“In 2015, some people came from the Peoples Democratic Party and the party gave them the (governorship) ticket. I was not given. I built the structure and the movement, yet people came from the PDP and were given tickets.
“In 2019 and now 2022, the same thing happened. The principals of the party did not extend that hand of fellowship to me, so I had no option but to leave. I am a capitalist, not a communist.”
Reacting to his claim, the Welfare Officer of the Akwa Ibom APC, Sunday Obanga Umoh, on Tuesday attacked Akpanudoedehe who he said has not brought anything positive to the state chapter of the APC.
He made the statement at the conference organised by Tinubu Support Group for APC Women in Abuja on Tuesday.
Umoh fumed that the former APC National Secretary was not a sellable candidate and can’t be relied on to bring in any electoral value to his people.
“That man is like Brazil. He doesn’t miss a World Cup. For every little thing, he will come out. Akpanudoedehe was just opportune to be made the former National Secretary of APC. I don’t even believe that a cheap man can win an election even in his ward.
“He tried in 2011, he didn’t win. Being the selfish man that he is, he likes packing everything to himself. But we have shown him that he is not the owner of Akwa Ibom.
“The last election that we lost, we knew he supported PDP and not APC as he wanted people to believe. His continued presence won’t bring anything to APC. He is minus one to us in the party,” he said.
The crisis rocking the Akwa Ibom chapter of the APC deepened two weeks ago when the Independent National Electoral Commission admitted that the state’s primary which produced Akanimo Udofia as a governorship candidate was not monitored by the commission’s officials.
INEC also confirmed that the primary, which produced former minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio, as the APC senate candidate in the state was also not monitored by its officials.
Investigation revealed that both primaries were held around midnight on May 26 and June 9 respectively.
Consequently, the ruling APC may not have a governorship candidate in Akwa Ibom ahead of the 2023 general elections.