I have just come across a spurious publication perpetrated by Mr. Ini Okopido, Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Akwa Ibom State with the titled ” THERE IS NO ELDER EKEFRE OR UDOM EMMANUEL SUPPORT GROUP IN AKWA IBOM APC”
Ordinarily, I would have ignored this attempt by the mischief maker to score cheap political points in his perilous voyage, because I am confident this falsehood like many others would collapse on its own accord. But I am impelled by necessity to react to issues raised in the frivolous publications thus:
That I am Enefiok Ekefre, a bonafide citizen of the Federal Republic with an address and also a native of Anua Offot in Uyo local government area of Akwa Ibom State.
That I am a caucus member of the All Progressive Congress, APC in the state with a letter of appointment dated 4th November 2016 and a caucus membership tag with copies attached. These afford me license and authority to attend all caucus meetings of the APC in the state.
That denying my existence as an APC party chieftain is baseless because as a citizen of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, my freedom of association and assembly is guaranteed by the statutes of the constitution which is the supreme document of the country.
That Mr Okopido, probably, needs to be re-enlightened by party administrators and experts that a support group in any political setting does not need an approval or license from the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC to operate if it believes in a certain principle.
For that reason, I don’t think it is appropriate to confer legitimacy on an uninformed party chairman and his position because, I Enefiok Ekefre has been in party politics for a very long time not as a supporter. I was the Director General, Obong Victor Attah Campaign Committee for the 1994 constitutional conference, Chairman of various defunct political parties like the National Centre Party of Nigeria, Democratic Party of Nigeria (DPN), state Chairman contact and Mobilization Committee ANPP and the founding chairman of PDP Uyo Local Government Area including chairmen of various campaign committee to various senators and governors . With my experience and exposure, I am conversant with party administrations and I know the difference between a support group and party structure.
A Support group, for the enlightenment and information of the state chairman of APC, Mr Ini Okopido is a pressure group and a group of like minds on ad hoc basis with no permanent structure. It does not need constitutional approval or backing of the state party structure to advocate or campaign for a candidate of its choice. This aspect will serve as a lesson to Ini Okopido who has never head a party or elective position until now.
For that I don’t want to dignify his position, after all, he was not a popular choice of APC members. He was drafted into that position by the so-called consensus arrangement which is not recognized by international best practices after stepping down a day before his appointment. For this reason, I am in sympathy with his ignorance because he is not conversant with party administration.
That I am a member of APC as stated, since he is not conversant with party administration, that the process of expelling a member originates from the ward and the accused must be put on notice and a panel constituted to look into the allegation and after that the recommendation has to be forwarded to the chapter, state, zonal and national level for ratification.
That I have never for one day been found wanting and unfaithful by the APC at all levels. The issue of expulsion smacks of ignorance on the part of the state chairman.
The allegation that I was entrusted with the party funds to finance certain campaign activities which I did not perform at the end is a clear case of character assassination and gutter politics which I have decided that I will never be part of since leadership is supposed to be a noble profession. I have instructed my attorney to put him on notice that politics has nothing to do with character assassination and insult and also to enlighten him on record that my birth date is in the public domain and that I was born on 21st March, 1956. For that reason, he has no right to falsify my age since I am not a fraud. The public should discountenance this.
That I remain a member of APC but anytime the party’s directive is in conflict with the constitution of Nigeria, I will take side with the constitution because it is the constitution that legalizes the existence of the party and my loyalty is primarily to the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
That I and the support group owe nobody any apology for the community interest of Akwa Ibom state is superior to any party inclination because we cannot practice politics without peace. We as a group refuse to aid or abide by the decision of a selected few that feel that leadership must not have a social content through popular participation. As human beings we are entitled to associate with any idea and aspiration that will take Akwa Ibom to greater heights devoid of party coloration because community interest comes first before party affiliation. That is why we are supporting Udom Emmanuel for a second term.
Finally, we appeal to well meaning people of Akwa Ibom State across all political parties to come out en masse on the 9th of March. 2019 to re -confirm the social contact between Governor Udom Emmanuel and Akwa Ibom people.
Long Live Akwa Ibom State
Long Live the Federal Republic of Nigeria