Akpabio and Udom
By Harris-Okon Emmanuel & Chioma Onuegbu
The Ikot Ekpene Senatorial District is set to organize a rally to drum support for the governor. Senator Minority Leader, Godswill Akpabio is the leader of the district and political godfather of governor Udom Emmanuel. Vanguard looks at the issues that would shape the epic contest for the soul of the state.
The People’s Democratic Party (PDP) has governed the state since 1999, when the country returned to democratic rule with all three governors of the Fourth Republic from the party.
This being the case, the State could have well been described as a one-party state due to the feeble nature of the opposition party, but that political calculation was altered in 2015 when many PDP devotees left in droves to APC after the acrimonious primaries and the subsequent election was challenged to the apex court. That outcome has since left a bitter taste in the mouth of the APC.
Stage set for Udom to declare
Although Governor Emmanuel has not officially declared his intent for the second term, the stage is however set for his second term bid and he is only biding his time to declare. The series of rallies and endorsements by the faithful of the party in the three senatorial districts including groups, religious bodies and organized private sector have lent credence to the fact that the party does not want to leave anything to chance.
The governor too is not relying on the incumbency factor given the gathering of the political heavyweights and moneybags on the other side of the divide.
While the state governor, Senate Minority Leader Godswill Akpabio, former governor, Otuekong Idongesit Nkanga, Senator Anietie Okon, Senator Helen Esuene, Senator Obong Bassey Albert, Obong Paul Ekpo, among other political bigwigs in the state are under the umbrella of PDP , other political juggernauts such as the former Petroleum Minister, Otuekong Don Etiebiet, Managing Director, Oil and Gas Free Zone Authority, Umana O. Umana, Chief John Akpan Udoedeghe, Managing Director, Niger Delta Development Commission, Senator, Nsima Ekere, Senior Special Adviser to President Buhari on National Assembly Matters, Senator Ita Enang, Group Capt. Sampson Ewang (Rtd), the member, Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission, chairman, Cross River Basin Authority Eseme Oyibio, Director Air Worthiness, National Civil Aviation Authority, Engr. Ita Awak, among others have all pitched their tent with the APC.
The APC believes that it can break the dominance of the PDP in the state and its recent peaceful conduct of congresses may have further given impetus to the fact that the party is putting its house in order to present a formidable front to wrestle the governorship diadem. To the party, it is high time the baton of leadership in the state was changed going by its change mantra.
Eket Senatorial zone should continue till 2023
But the PDP, especially those in Eket Senatorial District have pointed out that since 1999, the state had maintained eight years tenure arrangement for the governor’s seat. Former governors Victor Attah from Uyo Senatorial District and Godswill Akpabio from Ikot Ekepen Senatorial District had governed for eight years each respectively as such the incumbent governor also deserves to remain on the seat for eight for the sake of fair play, equity and justice. This best explains the recent rallies and on-going grassroots mobilization by the ruling party in the state.
The former governor of the state and leader of the party in Uyo Senatorial District also shares the sentiment that the governor deserves to complete eight years in the Hilltop Mansion.
Nkanga said: “If Uyo Senatorial district, through Obong Victor Attah served as governor for eight years, Chief Godswill Akpabio from Ikot Ekpene Senatorial district also served for eight years, it is fair and just that governor Udom Emmanuel from Eket Senatorial District continues till 2023”.
The Senator Minority Leader, Chief Godswill Akpabio has expressed confidence that his successor’s satisfactory performances so far would stand him in good stead when the chips are down even as he assured that the Ikot Ekpene Senatorial would give vote en-masse for his political godson.
At the endorsement rally organized by Uyo Senatorial District recently, he sang the praise of the governor, who said has performed creditably well, describing him as a good product to market even as he thanked Uyo for the support they gave to him to serve for eight years, assuring that Ikot Ekpene senatorial district would give bloc votes to the incumbent.
‘’We need unity to make progress because it is only through peace that the government can perform. There is no other party except the PDP. In Ikot Ekpene Senatorial District we are coming with block votes. His Excellency you must institute a prize for the senatorial district that gives you the highest number of votes.”
The PDP has continued to hinge its campaign on what it claims as the superlative performances of the governor. The PDP loyalists sound the trumpet proclaiming that he has done creditably well on the job despite the dwindling economy and rightly deserves another four years to consolidate on his achievements so far. They point to the massive infrastructural development, industrialization, job creations and empowerments, among others to buttress their claims that Governor Emmanuel remains the man for the juicy job.
PDP bound to win
The State Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Ini-obong Ememobong, said the party was bound to win being the dominant party.
He said, “The PDP was established for the purpose of going for elections and winning. In Akwa Ibom, we are used to winning, it is a habit and I can bet that when any election comes, the God of winning will be on our side and we will win again.
“Mark this, the Egyptians you see today, you will see them no more. This is not our battle, it is a divine mandate. We will wait on the Lord and He will fight for us. The PDP is a religion, PDP is a recurring decimal here,PDP is a cornerstone here.
Corroborating the belief as regards support of Ikot Ekpene senatorial district the political leader of Eket PDP, Chief Nduese Essien said,” from our assessment of the situation in Ikot Ekpene senatorial district, they are massively in support of the governor and the PDP”
Essien in an interview with Vanguard at the weekend expressed the optimism over the party’s victory in 2019, saying that under the Chairmanship of Obong Paul Ekpo that the party has become stronger, better organized and repositioned better than before to continue to rule in Akwa Ibom state. “And in any case no opposition party in Akwa Ibom State is well organized to be able to win the election in the state. Up till now we don’t know who their governorship candidates are, who they have for state house of assembly seats or the House of Representatives.
“So it is most unlikely that they can come out now and be able to win in an election”, he said.Related