The Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Akwa Ibom State, Obong Stephen Ntukekpo, was on Monday, sworn-in by the Senator Abdullahi Adamu- led National Working Committee(NWC) of the party at the national headquarters, Abuja.
Speaking shortly after the Oath of office and allegiance were administered on Obong Ntukekpo, the National Chairman charged him to ensure the unity, progress, and success of the party in the spirit of no winner, no vanquished.
According to Adamu, ” let me, on behalf of the members of the National Working Committee(NWC) of our great party congratulate you on your inauguration as the Akwa Ibom State chairman of our party. This is a demonstration of our respect for the rule law and as a law-abiding organization.
“We charge you to return home and reunite the members, grow the party and lead it to victory in all elections. Be assured of our support in this task. We are equally confident that you will succeed in this task because we believe in your ability.
“No group has lost out and no group has won because we are one united political family. I know Akwa Ibom State has proven men, that are led by a man; Senator Godswill Akpabio, who is a man of integrity. I know him to be a man that can bring everyone together. What we need is that togetherness,” the chairman declared.
Receiving the chairman and some members of his EXCO in his office, Leader of the party in the state and incumbent Minister, Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio, thanked President Muhamadu Buhari and the leadership of the party for standing firm and ensuring that the the rule of law prevails in the running of the party.
In his remarks, the former Governor of Akwa Ibom State gave a chronological description of how the insistence of some party leaders and stakeholders, that the right thing be done in the running of the party in the state, led to the recognition of Ntukekpo as the authentic chairman of the party.
According to him, “the office of the chairman shouldn’t have been given to anybody from Uyo Senatorial District, because the governorship ticket of the party in 2023 is zoned to Uyo. I took it up with some leaders of the party and they said we are going to change it later and I said how? I reminded them that we have just finished our Congresses and we are lucky that somebody from Eket Senatorial District just emerged the chairman of the party, so why do we behave like to the Ostrich?”
Speaking further, Akpabio noted that, “for us to have harmony in the state chapter of the party and to perform creditably and face the opposition with strength in 2023, we need to give the chairmanship to another District, so that the governorship can come from Uyo Senatorial District. I don’t have any problem with anybody’s aspiration. I can no longer be a governor by Nigeria’s Constitution. I can only be a stakeholder and a man of peace. I can only push you people up and pray that the God that assisted me to where I am today, can also assist you.
The former Senate Minority Leader admonished the chairman to see his victory as the handiwork of God and should therefore, move immediately into uniting the party saying, “you are not APC State Chairman to make me anything. You’re chairman to assist Mr President and the leadership of the party to be victorious in all elections in the state. Make sure you unite all contending forces within the party, so that as a united entity, we will face the opposition, defeat them and take over the reins of the leadership of our dear state. This party almost took over the South-South region including Akwa Ibom State in 2019, but because of internal sabotage we failed. We never knew that after our campaigns, they left from there to another meeting at night”.
Akpabio declared that, “my prayers is that may God almighty push away all those who sabotaged this party in 2019 to leave us alone and join APGA or LP so that this party will get the victory that God kept for us in 2023”.
In his speech, Ntukekpo thanked Akpabio and other members of the party who stood firmly behind him and the party, when the goings were tough, saying, “with all amount of humility, I am here before you to tell you that we are very much disposed having been given this opportunity on trust, to do all these so that we will be able to achieve that onerous task which is to get to the Government House in 2023.”
It is recalled that Ntukekpo’s swearing-in came days after the Court of Appeal, Abuja Division, dismissed an Appeal by the defunct CECPC and affirmed the Federal High Court ruling that was declared in favour of Obong Stephen Ntukekpo.