The National Secretary of the defunct Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC) of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Senator John Akpanudoedehe, has joined the governorship race of Akwa Ibom.
He refuted allegation that he took the party to court.
He spoke shortly after a group of supporters picked the expression of interest and nomination forms for Akwa Ibom governorship on his behalf in Abuja on Wednesday.
He said Stephen Ntukekpo and not himself took the party to court.
He maintained he is in court as a co-defendant with the party, insisting he was being wrongfully accused having been in court to defend his integrity.
According to him: “Let me use this opportunity of my nomination form collection and the payment of the nomination form to debunk the impression created by certain quarters that I’m in court with a party. No. It can never be. Having been a national secretary I understand the rules.
“I was also part of the decision making that you cannot take your party to court. What we’re doing. We actually were third defendants in the case that was that case of Stephen Ntukekpo and the party It was him that took the party to court.
“He sued me as a national secretary, they also sued me in my personal capacity. And they actually tried to…in the affidavit that I mentioned in the letter to the national chairman, they tried to blackmail my character and my tenure as a national secretary, as a person.
“So I have a duty to defend myself in the Court of Appeal. Not that I initiated a case against the party, I have never, and I am not doing it.
“So that impression is blackmail. It’s not me, and it will never be me. I’m not in the court against my party, I will never do it. I’m a true party man. I’m in the court to defend my integrity because of my children and my grandchildren. My character and what I stand for, that’s all.”
On the mode of his preferred primary, Akpanudoedehe advocated for direct primary for inclusiveness and to avoid any post-primary litigation by the opposition party.
“Because of what is going on now, I will appeal for direct primaries because I don’t want the PDP to take us to court or anyone to institute case against us.
“It happened in Rivers, it happened in Zamfara. I don’t want that. We want a direct way. All members, after all we have a register now, they will cast their vote. Well monitored by INEC and being represented by all the candidates,” the governorship hopeful advised.