Saturday, 11 August 2018

Akwa Ibom 2019: Akpabio, Emmanuel set for titanic battle UYO—These

There are very interesting times and the nation political scene has become a huge theatre of sorts. The season of defection which started from the National Assembly, birthed in Akwa Ibom State on August 8, as the much expected defection of Senator Godswill Akpabio to the All Progressives Congress (APC) came to pass after days heightened tension.

It is commonly perceived that the immediate past senate minority leader, representing Akwa Ibom North East in the Red Chamber was arms twisted by the Buhari government to leave PDP by using EFCC to blackmail him..

To say that the defection of Akpabio to APC has set tongues wagging, upped the political ante in the state and prepared the stage for the epic battle between him and his political godson, Governor Udom Emmanuel is merely restating the obvious.

For the record, Akpabio single-handedly installed Emmanuel, a political greyhound at that time, as the governor against all the odds stacked against him by the hawks within the People’s Democratic Party (PDP). The move instantly triggered the wave of defection in 2014 to the APC by the likes of Otuekong Don Etiebet, Umana Okon Umana, Nsima Ekere, Ita Enang, Ita Awak, among other political heavy bigwigs in the state.

But the symbiotic relationship did not last for too long. The signs that all was not well between the duo appeared in December, 2017, when the former governor accused his successor of abandoning the projects he initiated while in office as governor and the failure of the governor to keep to his own part of the deal they struck prior to his ascension to the throne, as well as demystification and stripping of his control and power by the governor and his men.

The former governor is said to have also demanded that his wife, Unoma be made to run on a joint ticket with the Governor in 2019, a proposal which Emmanuel strongly vetoed.

Governor Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom

Akpabio is also alleged to have demanded for the sack of powerful commissioners in the cabinet such as Ephraim Inyang, Akan Okon and Udo Ekpenyong for insulting him, but the governor reportedly stood his grounds and refused to sack the first two Commissioners seen as his strong and close allies, but the Ekpenyong, was sacrificed over the alleged dissing of Akpabio.

At every political gathering, the self-styled ‘uncommon transformer’ had always taunted the APC as a party that was out of sync with modern reality, but on Wednesday at Ikot Ekpene, Akpabio threw those abrasive words to the wind and sang a symphony for APC, declaring that he was going on national assignment to join hand with President Muhammadu Buhari to re-position the country on the path of peace and sustainable development, describing himself as a nationalist who must take the state and Niger Delta to the center.

While many loyalists of the PDP have carpeted him over taking a ‘’dangerous gambit” by joining the broom party, others described him as egocentric on suicidal mission.

Pundits said the former governor might have seen the hand writing on the wall that he would be reduced to a political Lilliputian should PDP loses the election or sidelined by Emmanuel if PDP wins, and possibly make to face trials over alleged misappropriation of funds while serving as the governor of the state.

But Akpabio was quick to announce during the reception rally that the anti- graft agency, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had given him a clean bill of health as heap of petitions brought against him were found to be trumped up and went ahead to state the real reasons why he was leaving the party that brought him to political limelight and fortunes.

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