By Emmanuel Ayungbe
IT was a rousing welcome for a man many saw as a folk hero. However, the joy of the homecoming was tempered with the news that Senator John James Akpanudoedehe had been expelled from the All Progressives Congress, APC, by the Akwa Ibom State chapter of the party. The expulsion of the former senator was announced at a press conference addressed by majority of the members of the state executive of the party led by state party chairman, Mr. Amadu Attai.
“As the majority of you here may undoubtedly be aware of, there have been of late attempts by some riff-raffs and characters unknown to our party to mislead the general public to think that there is (a) crisis in the Akwa Ibom State chapter of our great Party,” Mr. Attai said.
“The Amadu Attai-led State Executive of the All Progressives Congress, APC, in Akwa Ibom State with its secretariat at 4 Atiku Abubakar Avenue, Uyo, is intact. Indeed, it remains the one and only Exco of our Party that has been carrying out its official functions. We call on all our members and teeming supporters of our great Party in the State, and indeed, the general public to totally disregard the false reports and the rumours peddled by some uninformed rascals and disgruntled elements who call themselves ‘forum of state officers, chapter executives and ward executives.’ There is no such body known to the Constitution of the All Progressives Congress, APC.”
The announcement of the expulsion came on the heels of the arrival of the former senator from Abuja where he has stayed for some time. Akpanudoedehe arrived the Uyo Airport at about 2.00 pm on Friday and drove in a long convoy along the major streets of the state capital with over 500 supporters to the state secretariat. They reached the secretariat at 5.10 p.m.
Having shown presence in the secretariat for about five minutes, Akpanudoedehe and the crowd proceeded to his country home at Udoedeghe Crescent , off Abak Road where he told the supporters “I have come to take over what rightly belongs to me. A tenant cannot remove the landlord.” Supporters who were carrying banners with inscription: ”Udoedehe for Governor 2019″ chanted, “Umana, Umana go back to your PDP Udoedehe has come back to take over his party.”
While addressing his supporters in his country home, he denied ever betraying the party, saying that if there was anybody who should be talking of betrayal it should be him and his supporters.
Responding to questions from news men, Sen. Akpanudoedehe said he had no problems with the national leadership of the party. “I was in the first 11 that formed APC. I was a member of the merger committee, I know what is right for our people. I left PDP when it was juicy, how many people would have left then,” he asked.