A pressure group within the Akwa Ibom State chapter of the All Progressives Congress, APC has been launched in Uyo, the state capital, with Senator Godswill Akpabio, the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, as its chairman.
A former military governor of Ogun and Rivers states, Group CaptainSam Ewang (retd), also emerged as state chairman of the forum.
Others also inaugurated include Hon. Prince Akpabio Ukpa, Deputy State Chairman; Dr. Chris Akpan, State Secretary; Obonganwan Geraldine Etuk, State Women Coordinator; Barr. Chris Okorie, State Legal Adviser; 3 State Vice Chairmen, 3 State Deputy Secretaries, and 10 advisers.
This is even as the party’s state Working Committee, led by Dr. Ita Udosen, distanced itself from the purported inauguration of the Elders Forum.
Speaking during the ceremony which held in Uyo on Sunday, a former Commissioner for Works in the state, Mr. Don Etim, who chaired the event, said that the need to boost the fortunes of the party necessitated the creation of the forum.
He said the forum would serve as a veritable mobilization force within the ranks of elders of the party.
Etim appreciated the stakeholders for their contributions to the party’s growth over the years and urged them to brace up for more responsibilities and demands as APC prepares for the 2023 general elections in the state.
In his remarks, Senator Akpabio, who was represented by a former Deputy Governor of the state, Noble Lady Valerie Ebe, implored all members of the forum to be united in pursuing the common good of the party adding that “APC is waxing stronger by the day and all the stakeholders have to work in unity. It is our collective wish that this party succeeds beyond this, so let us embrace the task of only promoting the interest of the party at all times.”
In his acceptance speech, State Chairman of the forum, Group Captain Sam Ewang (retd.), thanked God for the success of the inauguration, revealing that it occurred after months of wide consultation with the party.
Ewang, a member of the state caucus of the party, advised members of the forum to “shun rancor and steer the APC boat irrespective of divergent personal interests ahead of 2023”.
He revealed that the forum has the blessing of leaders of the party in the state.
However, the state Working Committee led by Dr. Ita Udosen has distanced itself from the purported inauguration of the Elders Forum.
A statement by the Publicity Secretary, Nkereuwem Enyongekere on Sunday threatened that it would deal “decisively with anybody who attempts to undermine the legitimate structures of APC in Akwa Ibom State”
The statement reads in part “The attention of the State Working Committee (SWC) has been drawn to the purported inauguration of a faceless “Akwa Ibom State APC Elders Forum” earlier today – an action which is a direct affront, novel in its recklessness and a defilement of the Constitution of our party by spent-forces.
“It is outrageous that the contractors of the so-called forum and its sponsors, in a distress bid to validate their penchant for illegality embarked on a name-dropping spree and concocting excuses for revered party leaders who have since distanced themselves from the said event.
“SWC unambiguously disassociates the party from this wanton display of desperation and further reiterates its resolve to deal decisively with anybody who attempts to undermine the legitimate structures of APC in Akwa Ibom State.
”SWC urges party faithful to remain calm and disregard unauthorized meetings, as the party is on course to inaugurate the Local Government Chapter Executives after due ratification of the appeal panel report and conduct a State Congress come 16th October, 2021″.