Akwa Ibom 2019: Bassey Albert walks tight rope …Akpabio, Nelson Effiong face hurdles
BY KENNETH JUDE
Senator Bassey Albert’s quest for another shot at the Senate may have hit the rocks following the indication by Hon. Kufre Etuk of the All Progressives Congress (APC) to run for the position in next year’s polls.
This more was revealed during a breakfast meeting organised by Hon. Kufre Etuk held in Uyo at the recently for the people of Atai Uyo.
In a gathering that was well attended by political heavyweights from the four local government areas of Uruan, Uyo, Ibesikpo and Nsit Atai comprising Atai Uyo, Hon. Etuk, noted that there is need to ensure equity and justice in the power sharing formula in Uyo federal constituency. The former member of the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly, stressed that it’s time for oppressors to desist from their actions for the peace and growth of the constituency.
According to him, political parties do not change people but it’s the people that bring development.
“No political party can change anybody. A bad person in APC will never become a good person in PDP and vice versa,” he stated.
Pressed for his plans ahead of next year’s elections, he waxed philosophical but hinted at running for the senate in 2019, a position currently held by Bassey Albert who is from Ibiono local government area.
Hon. Etuk called on elders in the state to be united so that development can spread across the three senatorial districts of the state. He decried the attitude of APC stakeholders in the state, accusing them of not keeping APC members in the state up to speed with goings on in the country and how they are faring. The Uruan born politician called on the leadership of APC at the national level to carry the youths along as they form the fulcrum of the party across the country.
Also speaking, former Chairman of Uyo local government area, Mr. Ekerette Ekpenyong reasoned that elders have sold the rights of Uyo for self aggrandisement. He noted that Uyo must have a developmental plan in order to reclaim what belongs to the area.
Otuekong Emaeyak Ukpong, stressed the need to probe into history to find out where Uyo got it wrong politically and seek ways to correct it. He noted that Uyo has been cheated, adding that the deputy governorship seat should rightly be occupied by someone from Uyo.
Several other speakers at the meeting supported calls that somone from Atai Uyo should occupy the senate seat come next year.
Reacting to the position of Atai Uyo, Mr. David Udo, stated that Hon. Etuk is constitutionally entitled to aspire to any position, stressing that it is the people that will decide who will represent them.
Speaking on the issue of zoning, he stated that there is nothing like zoning in Uyo senatorial district. “There’s nothing like zoning in Uyo senatorial district. If there’s any, I’m not aware.”
According to him, stakeholders in Uyo senatorial district had held a meeting recently where they unanimously adopted Bassey Albert for a second term as senator. He maintained that there was no point for Uyo to go for a new Senator that will go in to learn the robes. He reasoned that since Ikot Ekpene will have a ranking senator, it is also fitting for Uyo to do same.
Mr. David stressed that OBA has done well hence deserves to be given a second chance. He noted that he’ll cast his vote for OBA on account of his superlative representation which he noted has culminated in his appointment into juicy committees in the senate.
In another development, the member representing Eket Senatorial District in the National Assembly, Senator Nelson Effiong’s second term ambition is seriously under threat.
Our reporter gathered from informed sources that plans are afoot to ensure that he does not return to the Senate having defected from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the All Progressives Congress (APC).
The source who pleaded for anonymity, disclosed that stakeholders in the area are still embittered that Senator Effiong betrayed their trust by switching his allegiance from PDP to APC. This, coupled with what many have described as his ineffectiveness and poor representation, forms the basis upon which the People of Eket senatorial district are all out to ensure that he is replaced with someone that has the capacity to represent the area effectively.
It was learnt that Governor Udom Emmanuel is not happy with Senator Nelson Effiong especially on the grounds that the embattled senator is from his Eket senatorial district. With the governor turning his back on him (Effiong), analysts are of the opinion that his days in the Senate are numbered.
A source close to the Senator hinted our reporter that Senator Effiong is battle ready to retain his seat. He noted that reports that the senator has failed is false, adding that those advancing such position are doing so for their selfish interest. He said that the people of Eket senatorial district are solidly behind Senator Nelson Effiong hence will vote for him massively in next year’s elections.
The battle for the ticket in Ikot Ekpene senatorial may equally not be a walk in the park for Senator Godswill Akpabio if recent events in the polity are anything to go by.
A highly placed source in Ikot Ekpene told our reporter that Akpabio may no longer have it easy come next elections owing to what he described as a grand plot by some top PDP members in the State to frustrate him.
It was gathered that his comments on Udom which generated heated arguments recently has not gone down well with Governor Udom Emmanuel’s loyalists and party chieftains in the state. A competent source who spoke in confidence observed that Barr. Inibehe Okorie who gave Akpabio a run for his money in 2015 is set to do battle again with the former governor of Akwa Ibom State.
THE INK learnt that the recent presence of Akpabio in the state may not be unconnected with the fact that he faces a tough battle to retain his seat owing to the bottlenecks he has to overcome from within his party and the opposition APC in the state.
But those close to the Senate Minority leader maintain that the ex governor will coast home to victory in next year’s polls regardless of any perceived opposition against him. They stressed that there’s no rift between Governor Udom Emmanuel and his benefactor, Senator Godswill Akpabio hence will have the full support of the Onna born banker turned politician.