The Akwa Ibom State chapter of the All Progressive Congress (APC) has sunk deeper in crises as the party is further divided sharply into two clear tendencies.
Managing Director of Oil and Gas Free Trade Zone (OGFTZ), Obong Umana Okon Umana and the Managing Director of Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) Obong Nsima Ekere are jointly leading one faction of the party while Senator John Udoedehe, Commodore Sam Ewang (rtd) and Rt. Hon. Emmanuel Ekpenyong are leading the other faction.
In what has become a rofo-rofo fight, the bone of contention is which of the factions controls the party structures in the state in furtherance of deploying the structures to support any of the factions to produce the 2019 governorship flag bearer for the party.
While the mutual suspicion lingers, the Umana/Ekere faction seems to have the upper hand for now as the prime movers of this faction are busy recruiting people from other political parties in the state with the promise they will be given contracts if they agree to their terms.
Trust Nigerians, they have been trooping into that faction of the crises ridden party in droves, so as to participate in the contract bonanza.
The Udoedehe faction which clearly looks vulnerable because of paucity of funds, has almost succeeded in winning the war in the media, both on-line and off-line, putting Umana and Ekere weekly on the spot.
What has however heightened anxiety amongst the followership of the two factions is the story that emanated last week from the Umana/Ekere camp after leaders of that faction had met at the Ewet Housing Estate residence of Umana, that they have decided to zone the governorship ticket of the party to Eket Senatorial District, for the 2019 governorship election.
Ekere is from Eket Senatorial District and clearly the financier of the partys faction, while Umana is from Uyo Senatorial District and the man who flew the partys governorship ticket in 2015 general elections.
Nobody needs to be a rocket scientist to know that the decision of the Umana/Ekere faction to zone the 2019 governorship ticket to Eket Senatorial District, is for Ekere to clinch the ticket effortlessly and this very decision is what has further driven the wedge between both factions.
But the other faction not waiting to be outsmarted by the Umana/Ekere faction has since countered the story, insisting that there was never a time the leaders of the party, including Udoedehe, Group Captain Sam Ewang and Rt. Hon. Emmanuel Ekpenyong (TEMPO) met to take a decision on such a fundamental issue.
Also reacting to the story that the party has zoned its 2019 governorship ticket to Eket Senatorial District, a political group in the party, the Real APC Movement described the story by its rival faction as an inanity, stating that the party has not zoned the 2019 governorship ticket to Eket zone and called on party members to discountenance the story.
The group maintained that at no time did the stakeholders, especially the founding fathers of the party in the state sat down to discuss the issue, of zoning the governorship ticket of the party for 2019 general elections to Eket Senatorial District.
The group noted that the purported meeting that came up with the said resolution was a meeting of former PDP members who decamped from their party to find a safe heaven in the APC.
The group further stated that that only two greedy party executives in recent memory (Dr. Amadu Attai, Chairman, and Effiong Etok, Secretary) attended the said meeting said to have be allegedly sponsored by Obong Nsima Ekere.
The group again stated matter-of-factly that the governorship position in Akwa Ibom State vis-à-vis APC, is opened to all members, irrespective of senatorial district, as was done in 2015, asking all members of the party to disregard the selfish political move by the other faction.
The leader of the group, Thomas Thomas in the statement, called on all aspirants in the party (APC) to continue to mobilize their supporters and get ready for the partys governorship primary in 2018.