AKWA IBOM POLITICS: Emmanuel takes on Godswill
Within ten days, two political disciples of former Governor Godswill Akpabio were sacked from the cabinet of his handpicked successor, Governor Udom Emmanuel and as such, bringing to reality the long envisaged political combat that many have either dreamt of or dreaded.
By Chioma Onuegbu & Harris-Okon Emmanuel
The sack on Monday of Sir Etekamba Umoren as the Secretary to the Akwa Ibom State Government may have finally opened the lid in what almost everyone in the state believes to be the most exciting political battle in the state in recent years.
Umoren is a close ally of the immediate past governor of the state, Senator Akpabio and served him as Chief of Staff. He is also an ethnic Annang like Akpabio.
Before Umoren sack two days ago, another Akpabio acolyte, Udo Ekpenyong also Annang had nine days earlier been relieved of his appointment as Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs.
There is indeed widespread speculation across the state that commissioners from Ikot Ekpene senatorial district who are loyalist to Akpabio have also been penciled down for sack soon.
The tremor in Akwa Ibom followed the assertion by Akpabio that his Ikot Ekpene senatorial district had been marginalised in the implementation of projects by his handpicked successor, Governor Udom Emmanuel.
That claim immediately set the state on edge as interest groups that had for long been waiting to take advantage of a fight between the two men immediately took position.
In the vanguard were political groups, prominent politicians as well as elders from Uyo Senatorial District (Akwa Ibom Northeast and Eket Senatorial district (Akwa Ibom South) where the incumbent governor hails from.
“2018 is less than one year to election, all is not well. Don’t allow anybody to deceive you that all is well. If the hotel in Ikot Ekpene rots after so much money has been expended on the project would that be a good thing?”, he questioned.
An aspect of Akpabio’s statement which seemed to have provoked the ire of elders and stakeholders of the People’s Democratic Party PDP in the two other senatorial districts was the claim that he would only support a second term for the governor if the issue of the alleged marginalisation of his senatorial district was addressed.
Reacting Senator Okon questioned, “Akpabio foolishly warned that the “era of carry-go politics” is no more.
Did Akpabio not realise this during his tenure as governor?
“Akpabio who decried the state of the Four Points by Sheraton Hotel in Ikot Ekpene tasks Udom Emmanuel with the opening and running of the hotel.
What did Akpabio himself have in mind when he built the hotel? If Akpabio is to speak on fair treatment and accountability, he should only do so by clearing his name from the beginning of these questions”
Also reacting, Uyo Senatorial District Leaders Forum, USDLF was quick to fault the claims by the former governor.
In a communiqué issued penultimate Sunday, they were forced to list the various projects, and political appointments that the Ikot Ekpene Senatorial District has benefitted and continues to occupy under the current government.
The communiqué which was signed by the leaders including Otuekong Idongesit Nkanga, Senator Effiong Bob among others read in part: “Having objectively reviewed the social, economic and developmental realities in Akwa Ibom State before May 29, 2015 and the prevailing situation in the state occasioned by the performance of Governor Udom Emmanuel since his inauguration, we rise to declare that: “There is no truth in the allegations made by Senator G