From Fred Itua, Abuja
The Police on Monday grilled Mr. Stephen Ntokekpo, factional Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), in Akwa Ibom State.
The alleged arrest was on the heels of a petition filed against him by the chairman of state congress committee of the party, Banki Sheriff, who had accused him of forging his signature on what Ntokekpo had been parading as result of the state congress where he declared himself winner.
However, Imo Akpan, member of APC and ally of the embattled chairman, dismissed claims that the document was forged as false. He said Ntokekpo honoured an invitation from the police and was later released that day.
“He’s attending to party matters,” he said.
National chairman of APC, Abdullahi Adamu, had, against an Abuja Court of Appeal’s order asking members to maintain Status quo, sworn in Mr Stephen Ntokekpo as chairman of the party in Akwa Ibom State after he secured a judgement of an Abuja Federal High Court which sacked Mr. Austin Ekanem and declared him winner of the congress.
Ekanem had earlier been declared as winner of the state congress after pooling about 1,200 votes. The Congress was conducted at Sheer Grace Arena, Uyo, Akwa Ibom State by the Banki Sheriff’s seven-man congress panel dispatched for the exercise in October 2021 by Mai Mala Buni Caretaker Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee. Leaders of the party have been “up in arms” against Ntokekpo who they say never participated in the congress.
Alarmed by the petition filed since January, a team of intelligence officers swung into action and got Ntokekpo on Monday. He was released on bail and asked not to go far from Abuja and to report for interrogation whenever the police needs him.
“The situation is delicate and complicated for the Akwa Ibom State chapter of the ruling party by the failure of the Adamu NWC to obey court orders and their seeming backing of Mr Ntokekpo after withdrawing an appeal which the Buni Caretaker Committee filed against the judgement of the Federal High
Court Abuja,” a member of the party said.