Members of the All Progressives Congress in Akwa Ibom state have frowned at the attempt by the national leaders of the party to crown former senate minority leader, senator Godswill Akpabio, as the state leader of the party.
Prince Emmanuel Sam, a stalwart of the APC, on Thursday, said, they can not accept Akpabio as their leader.
“We can not be led by a man who was brutal to us. We have not forgotten that his brutality costs the lives of some members of the defunct ACN who dissolved into what is called APC today. He can never lead us. We will resist it”.
Sam was among members of the party who reacted to Akpabio’s repeated declaration of himself as leader of the party and his wife, Ekaette Unoma, as “mother of APC” in Akwa Ibom state during his reception rally in Ikot Ekpene.
Akpabio was officially received into the APC by the National leader of the party, Alhaji Ahmed Bola Tinubu, and the party’s national chairman, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, on Wednesday 8th August.
The former Governor repeatedly used the phrase, “under my leadership in the party” in a remark he made extemporaneously to confirm his acceptance of membership of the party.
Members of the party believe that Akpabio’s repeated announcement of himself as leader of the party cowed the national chairman of the party into calling Akpabio the leader of the party without a second thought.
Also, Obong Mike Edem, a chieftain of the APC from Itu said right thinking persons in the party can not indulge Akpabio to superintend over them.
He explained that it will be a broad self contradiction for Akpabio who left the PDP because a new entrant was rewarded over those who stood by the PDP in her trying times, to want to be rewarded over those who laboured and built the APC over the years.
“He can not be our leader. He will be contradicting himself, because he can not reject a skewed reward system which favours newcomers in his former party, yet wants to be rewarded in APC through similar skewed arrangement”.
Edem insisted that Akpabio should not be given preference over senator Nelson Effiong, another APC senator from the state who joined the APC earlier or the 2015 governorship candidate of the state who have been around longer than Akpabio.
“Currently, Akpabio does not have any leadership position which makes him superior to the other senator. When he resigned his position as senate minority leader, he became but an ordinary senator. There are other people in the party who have been senators before, who are more knowledgeable in party leadership and administration than Akpabio”.
The party stalwart said reasonable members of the party will not work with Akpabio.
“We will not work with Akpabio. He persecuted us out of the PDP. When some of us left, Akpabio led the PDP to doom. Now, PDP is no more, he is coming to destroy the APC in the pretext of coming to build”.
He insisted that the APC will fail just as her main opposition, the PDP, if the party leadership takes to celebrating and rewarding newcomers over old members who have kept faith with the party over the years.
Also, a group, Akwa Ibom Progressives Watch says the APC will be more disunited under Akpabio if he is made leader of the party in the state as rumoured.
The group at a press conference addressed by her chairman, Mr. Innocent Sylvanus, on Thursday, warned that many people who left the PDP to the APC because of Akpabio’s impunity can not work again with Akpabio.
“It will be a disaster to allow Akpabio lead the party. We want the national leader and chairman of the party to know this”.
“We left PDP because of the kind of impunity Akpabio dished out to us. There is no guarantee that he has changed, so he will bring on the same kind of impunity he used which killed his former party”, Sylvanus added.
The group called on President Muhammadu Buhari to instruct the national chairman of the APC, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, to convene the state caucus of the party for the purpose of choosing a state leader that will be accepted by all members.
It was gathered that very senior members of the APC in Akwa Ibom state are not happy over the seeming preference the national leadership of the party attempts to accord senator Godswill Akpabio.
‘It is unnecessary. It will split the party. He can not lead us’, a caucus member of the party in the state said on Wednesday.
Many members of the APC were killed in Ikot Ekpene in 2011 during a gubernatorial campaign. It is believed that the killings were masterminded by supporters of the PDP. No one has been charged for the killings.
Akpabio’s administration caused the arrest and detention of the 2011 governorship candidate of the party, senator John Udoedehe, over trump up charge of arson.
Senator Akpabio during his reception on Wednesday pleaded for forgiveness from those he offended who are already in the party.