Pastor Akpan Udoedehe

Former Senator and leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), in Akwa Ibom State, John Akpan Udoedehe, has announced in his Facebook page, that he is now a pastor alongside his political and business career.

He stated with emphasis that his desire to become a pastor would not interfere with his political career.

Udoedehe, who had contested for the governorship of the state twice under the APC,  added the phrase “ I am now a Pastor….alongside my political and business career, as a role model to this generation” to his Facebook post.

Udoedehe who once contested elections at different as the gubernatorial candidate of the former ACN also directed the campaign for the election of Senator Godswill Akpabio as governor under the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in 2007.

He, however, fell apart with Mr. Akpabio and left the PDP for the then Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) where, as the party’s governorship candidate, he contested the 2011 election against Mr. Akpabio.

Akpabio won re-election, but Mr. Udoedehe almost lost his life when he and his campaign team were violently attacked in Ikot Ekpene, March 2011, by thugs suspected to have been hired by the PDP.

Udoedehe, ironically, was subsequently arrested, detained, and charged to court for murder and arson by the Akwa Ibom State Government, but was later discharged and acquitted.

The former senator after his incarceration continued as a voice of the opposition politics in Akwa Ibom, while Mr. Akpabio became a PDP senator, representing Akwa Ibom North-West.

However, in a twist of irony, Mr. Akpabio resigned his position as the Senate minority leader and left the PDP to Mr. Udoedehe’s APC last year.

Both politicians reconciled last year as they prepared their party, the APC, for the 2019 general elections. But the APC lost the governorship and all the elections in the state, including Mr. Akpabio’s re-election bid.

Apart from his past representation of Akwa Ibom North-East in the Senate, Mr. Udoedehe has served as the chairman of Uyo Local Government Area, Akwa Ibom, and as a minister of the Federal Capital Territory.

To foreclose any argument on whether he was still going to be involved in active politics, the former senator later issued another press statement through his media office where he explicitly said, “It should be noted that Senator Akpanudoedehe will execute his commission, alongside pursuit of his political aspirations, business interests, and other social endeavours, because he remains an active politician and a committed businessman.”

Already, photos of Mr. Udoedehe preaching to congregants and administering Holy Communion have flooded Facebook.

According to him “It is hoped that this clarification will serve the intended purpose of guiding the public aright, and inspiring other politicians, businessmen, and citizens out there, to acknowledge Christ, and join the effort to import His message into our politics, business, and social life,”

Mr. Udoedehe’s media aide, Ata Etuk, in response to a question said on Sunday that the former senator’s future political ambition depends on what “his” people would decide.

“For now, he is a party man who is doing everything he can to build his party, support President Buhari, support his party and do everything to get his party to do well in the next election,” Mr. Etuk said.