By Emmanuel Aziken
ALL Progressives Congress, APC caucus leader in Akwa Ibom State, Chief Don Etiebet, has rebuffed insinuations of favouritism towards Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC Managing Director, Mr. Nsima Ekere, by some party leaders.
In a sharp rebuttal of the allegation, Etiebet said he remained opened to all camps in the party saying that his presence at the Ekere reception was because he was invited.
Former Military Governor of Ogun State, Group Capt. Sam Ewang, retd, and former Minister of State, Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Senator John James Akpanudoedehe, who is also a governorship aspirant on the party’s platform, had in a statement on behalf of the 31 local government chapter chairmen and 329 ward chairmen, vowed to resist alleged efforts by Etiebet to advance Ekere as the governorship candidate.
The two while expressing disappointment with Etiebet for allegedly introducing impunity into the party warned of serious consequences for the party if a level playing field was not given to all contestants.
Responding at the weekend, Etiebet said: “They are just talking because I have worked to bring sanity, decorum, and lawfulness to the Party and eschew violence they were used to. They are accusing me of making the party to be law abiding. I have told them to direct their energies to mobilizing voters support for themselves in this Era of Direct Primaries, but they would not appreciate that.
“Have they organized one single rally of their supporters in any place and invited me, and I have refused to attend? So if Nsima Ekere’s supporters organize a rally and invited me to attend, I should refuse so as not “to bring impunity into the Party and provide level playing field.”
As a party leader in the state, what do I do when at a rally organizers call me out to present a nomination form or souvenir to Mr. Nsima Ekere, am I to refuse?
The point is that I carry a lot of support throughout the state so that whenever they hear I am attending a rally, they all show up to applaud whosoever invited me and I cannot stop that.”