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Cold war in Akwa Ibom APC over ministerial appointment

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Ekere

The jostling for ministering appointment within the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Akwa Ibom State is hot, especially as the party had lost every key political position in the last general elections in the
state.

Each state political leader is quietly lobbying, using groups to discredit possible candidates for the plum ministerial job, by way of petitions and reports in the media. All this has led to a cold war brewing among the various interest groups.

While some feel President Muhammadu Buhari should, this time around, look inward and pick a core politician that has paid his dues in APC, others are of the view that the new warlords should be favoured, considering their political pedigree and sacrifices to the party.

The bitterness inflicted on people like Umana Umana, then Secretary to Government and Nsima Ekere, then Deputy Governor by the government of Senator Godswill Akpabio, when he was governor that forced them to leave for APC, is still there. Today, their love is ceremonial and does not go beyond smile and flashes of the teeth. So, it is not surprising that the jostle for the ministerial position is taking current dimension.

The Guardian and some national dailies had reported that some APC elders were said to be opposing possible moves by the President to consider Senator Akpabio for a ministerial appointment.

The report said the elders, under the aegis of Ibom Integrity And Servant Leadership Culture Initiative, in a letter, to President Buhari, argued that appointing Akpabio would be an invitation to crisis in the state. They said Akpabio, who defected to APC on the eve of 2019 general elections after serving as governor under the Peoples
Democratic Party (PDP) should not be considered a genuine APC faithful and deserving of a ministerial appointment.

The letter titled: Ministerial Appointment: Why Appointing Akpabio May be Counter Productive and signed by the group’s Executive Vice President, Dr. Asuquo Edidem Etim, a copy of which was sent to APC National Chairman, Adams Oshiomole, Secretary to Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha and Chief of Staff to the President, Abba Kyari, described Akpabio as a destabilising agent.

APC’s poor outing in Akwa Ibom in the last general election was largely attributed to Akpabio’s destabilising and authoritarian tendencies, as he only believes it is either his way or nobody’s.

A top APC politician in the state, who pleaded anonymity, said: “Akpabio is not qualified to be appointed Minister from Akwa Ibom State because he just came in and does not even understand APC’s ideology. Besides, there are people that have been there, who built the party before he came and arrogated to himself state leadership. Yet, we have the likes of Don Etiebet, Umana Umana and Udo- Edehe. He does not deserve it and he is not even a sound administrator.

“Right now, this government needs organised people and not noise makers. There are people who have proven themselves in the likes of Umana Umana, Director General Gas Free Zone Authourity, Udo- Edehe, a former Minister, Ita Enang, former Special Adviser to the President on Legislative Matters and Nsima Ekere, the APC governorship candidate, among others.

“If Akpabio had the capacity, he would have done well in the elections. He came with a style alien to APC’s ideology and that is exactly what he will bring into government. But we cannot afford that kind of thing, considering that there are some Ministers in this government that have not done well, and the problem goes back to the President, who should be very careful as to the calibre of people he is going to bring into government to represent us…

“Again, Akpabio is too clownish. Within the few weeks he came into the party, he caused more problems than we’ve ever had. The party was very stable until he came in. The governorship candidate could not even drive his campaign well because of Akpabio’s confusion. We don’t need that confusion again.

“His attitude caused APC to lose the election woefully in the state. Some people said he should be considered because he spent so much. How much money did he spend? The only people talking about Akpabio’s interest are those claiming to have followed him to APC.

“No real APC and progressive person will support the view that he spent so much money in the election. Rather, there are speculations that the governorship candidate was deceived by some top persons and so much money collected without any result.

“It was also speculated that the Federal Government released a huge amount in dollars to execute Akwa Ibom election, yet there was no good result. So, who spent what and where? Part of the problem we are having with Mike Igini, the INEC Electoral Commissioner in the state was caused by Akpabio. He had never undertaken real election before, except the normal carry go and he thought INEC would close its eyes and look the other way.”

Udoedeghe

The former state leader of PDP Chapter Chairmen in Akwa Ibom, Mr. Ben Effiong, who defected with his group and colleagues known as “The 12 Disciples” to APC, was rather philosophical and ecclesiastic in his response to the ministerial appointment tussle in the state APC.

He said: “In my opinion, appointment is not done by a group of people but by God. Udom’s maxim of ‘only God’ worked for him. We should fear God. The Akwa Ibom election should shock people. God can do anything at anytime. God just wanted to prove that He is God. Who was who in Akwa Ibom politics left him, but God stood for him.

“Before the election, if anyone had said PDP would win, nobody would have believed. If you say the election was rigged, that is the more reason you should fear God, as APC had all the security apparatus and others at their disposal.”

On the issue of cold war in the party and its effect on appointment, Effiong, a former Chapter Chairman of Uruan said: “I don’t know if there is any conflict in APC, because presently, APC is looking for a way to see if it can cancel the election for a rerun. And if you ask me, I don’t think there was anything wrong with the election…

“I have been in both parties, and I know what we used to do in PDP that I did not see on the day of the last elections that PDP won in the state. The things that happen in APC are more than what people see…”

Reacting to allegation that Akpabio’s clownish and overbearing tendencies caused APC the election, hence should not be considered for ministerial appointment, he said: “If looked at critically, Akpabio did not arrogate those tendencies to himself, people gave them to him. How did people receive him when he was joining APC? Akwa Ibom people went to the airport to receive him. It is the people that built that euphoria around him.

“So, we cannot blame Akpabio for some people’s poor sense of judgment, which made him that big. Are they saying if Akpabio did not join, APC would have won the election? If that is the argument, how come we lost everywhere? Does Akpabio come from the entire state?

“How come we lost in Ikot Abasi where Nsima Ekere comes from? And since people made him big, Akpabio decided to play god, but God has a way of dishonouring people like Akpabio. Who would have
thought Akpabio would lose the Senate seat? Could that have affected the outcome of the governorship election?”

Meanwhile, an unsigned online statement credited to APC State Working Committee (SWC) has condemned the group that issued the statement against Akpabio, describing it as faceless for arrogating to itself the power to condemn and recommend.


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