As the February 28 governorship elections draw near, there is already a scramble for political offices in the state. Considering that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is firmly rooted in the Akwa Ibom state and the likelihood that Udom Emmanuel will win at the polls, politicians are making frantic efforts to earn juicy appointments.
One of the men who is fighting tooth and nail to become the next Secretary to the state government is Sir Emem Akpabio. Despite making serious efforts to truncate the Udom Emmanuel candidacy through various dubious means, the Shell Petroleum Development Company staff is pushing to emerge the SSG against the political tide.
Our investigations reveal that both the governor, Godswill Akpabio and the PDP candidate, Udom Emmanuel have rejected the idea saying it will be a very unpopular decision. The governor had recently warned members of his immediate family to desist from mounting pressure for political offices. He had recently advised Prince Akpabio to cancel his house of assembly ambition, explaining that he has empowered them enough.
Sir Emem Akpabio has however not accepted the idea. He has gone ahead to give paramount rulers that are close to the Governor huge sums of money to influence him to consider him as SSG. Although the PDP has not zoned the office of SSG, Udom and Akpabio have strongly suggested that the office of SSG should go to Uyo senatorial district to further accommodate the political interest of the district. The two have reasoned that the office of the speaker of the house of assembly and party chairman is not sufficient to appease the people of Uyo Senatorial District.
Sir Emem Akpabio had earlier sponsored his in-law Mike Sabastine to join the governorship race to discredit the Udom candidacy and force people to doubt Akpabio’s true succession plan. He further encouraged other governorship aspirants financially to mount pressure and discourage the governor from proceeding with his intention to make Udom Governor. Sir Emem Akpabio also pressed on for a deputy governorship slot which did not materialize. Sources say he even recommended people for the deputy governor slot and it never sailed through. His chances of a federal or state appointment are slim considering the fact that Chief Godswill Akpabio will be elected as senator. He is pressing hard for the office of SSG.
Recent local media reports also suggest that Sir Emem Akpabio has resumed talks with the APC governorship candidate, Obong Umana Umana and is strongly also pushing his cards to actualize his SSG ambitions. He was recently sighted after the New Year celebrations at the Ewet Housing residence of the former SSG after he drove there disguised in a Nissan Sunny car. Sir Emem Akpabio is expressing fears that after spending quite so much to fund the Udom Emmanuel campaign through the Akwa Ibom Consolidation Alliance (ACA).
Sources close to Sir Emem Akpabio say the Shell man is aggrieved with the Governor over political calculations and fixing. Sir Emem is said to have accused the governor for being extremely selfish and having no concern for other members of the family who have contributed so immensely to the actualization of the Udom Emmanuel project. He says the governor is only interested in his senatorial ambition and Udom’s emergence as governor. Emem Akpabio’s chances to actualize his SSG ambition are brighter with the All Progressive Congress (APC) as the flag bearer is from Uyo Senatorial District and his running mate is from Eket Senatorial District which apparently paves a clear way for an Ikot Ekpene Senatorial District Secretary to State Government.
It will be interesting to see as the battle to become SSG plays out. It appears the Governor has set up a mechanism to bar Sir Emem Akpabio from attending all crucial political meetings and to limit his influences within the inner political circle. The Ukana
Concert this year witnessed a very low turnout from the political class and may not be unconnected with Sir Emem Akpabio’s waning political influence