Events of the past few days have proven how right and prophetic the Senate Minority Leader, Senator Godswill Akpabio was when he declared last December in that famous speech with stakeholders of Ikot Ekpene Senatorial District that, “all is not well.”
Of major concern to the stakeholders was the unwillingness of Governor Udom Emmanuel to open the Four Points by Sheraton Hotel, Ikot Ekpene which had been fully built and furnished by his predecessor, Chief Akpabio. And also the uncompleted portion of the Uyo – Ikot Ekpene road.
According to media reports, the National Working Committee of the Peoples Democratic (PDP) led by the National Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus were locked in a marathon meeting with the Senator in his Asokoro home on Saturday, July 21, 2018 for several hours. The meeting is believed to be a last minute effort by the opposition party to stop an imminent decamping of the Senator to the ruling party.
Few days earlier, Senator Akpabio had hinted at a mega rally by the people of Ikot Ekpene Senatorial District to endorse him and the Governor for second term that a political party is just a vehicle for winning election and that whichever party he decided to pitch his tent in the 2019 elections, he would emerge a winner to continue to deliver dividends of democracy to his people. This has been widely perceived as an imminent plan by Senator Akpabio to decamp to another political party.
But the biggest talking point of the endorsement was the political courage exhibited by the Chairman of the occasion and former Deputy Governor of the state, Chief Chris Ekpenyong.
In a rare display of political valour devoid of the usual sycophancy of politicians, Chief Ekpenyong looked Governor Emmanuel in the face and corroborated the view earlier expressed by Senator Akpabio that all is not well in the Senator District.
According to Chief Ekpenyong, what is good for the goose is good for the gander as he implored the Governor to replicate the good roads and industries he has built in his Onna community to other parts of the state.
Not surprisingly, these issues also took centre stage when the All Progressives Congress (APC) gathered at the same Ikot Ekpene Township Stadium for their own mega rally and endorsements. Being a smart politician, the Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Obong Nsima Ekere latched on these issues.
He berated Governor Emmanuel for abandoning the people of Ikot Ekpene Senatorial District by refusing to open the hotel and complete the road. To the delight and cheer of the crowd, he said having been part of the administration that conceptualized on these projects, he would complete them if given an opportunity as the Governor of the state.
These tantrums show the extent to which Emmanuel has mismanaged the enormous goodwill he came into office with.
Before he was made the Secretary to the Akwa Ibom State Government by the then Governor Akpabio, Emmanuel was an unknown quantity in the politics of the state. He got registered as a member of the PDP after his appointment. But three years as Governor have seen him wage the most vicious war against his benefactor and despite public posturing, it is obvious all is not well between the duo.
It is perhaps in an attempt to diminish his predecessor that Mr Emmanuel had allowed the Sheraton by Four points Hotel and the Uyo – Ikot Ekpene road to linger on and have become campaign issues. Political analysts have asked what it would have cost the administration to open a hotel that had virtually been completed instead of leaving it to rot.
It is a widely known fact that Akpabio’s predecessor, Obong Victor Attah never supported him to be Governor as he pitched his tent with his son-in-law, Dr Udoma Ekarika. But in a demonstration of political sagacity, Akpabio as Governor built a dualized road complete with the most modern street lights to his predecessor’s home.
Not so for Emanuel as his unstated credo on being sworn in to office seems to be to work hard to dismantle everything structure (physical and political) that the man he publicly proclaims as his mentor built. The first thing that crept into political lexicon of Akwa Ibom after May 29, 2015 was to distinguish those he termed “Akpabio Boys” and marked them for elimination.
He blatantly refused to pay the end of tenure entitlements of his predecessor’s political appointees because they are “Akpabio Boys.” But someone has pointed out that if anyone fits that sobriquet, Emmanuel is the number one Akpabio Boy, being the greatest beneficiary of the succession of his former boss.
But Emmnauel has proven to be a misfit. His superior performance mantra is nothing but an empty slogan as there is nothing in the mediocre performance that Akwa Ibom has been saddled with in the last three years to claim a superiority. Not only has he failed to build any legacy project, the ones he inherited from his predecessors like the Le Meridien Ibom Hotel and Golf Resort and the magnificent Ibom Specialist Hospital have been run aground and made to close shop.
As it stands, Akwa Ibom people have seen the true colour of the Governor and his mediocrity and vindictiveness even to his benefactors. His second term re-election would have been the easiest in the country but presently it hangs in the balance. By 2019 when he would have served his term out, Emmanuel should seek a second term on the strength of his performance. He would not ride on the back of his Great Teacher, whom he has disowned. In 2015, Akwa Ibom people voted for Emmanuel because of Akpabio but three years on, there is nothing to show for the over one trillion naira that has so far accrued to the state under him. Instead, Akwa Ibom people have been treated to a roller coaster ride of mediocrity and scam projects of monumental proportions. Now the chicken are coming home to roost and it is obvious that if his god-father leaves him, Udom Emmanuel will become a one term Governor to confirm the jinx theory of Onna.
And this is the message that was passed on to him during the rally that was meant to endorse him, that all is not well, not only in Ikot Ekpene Senatorial District but Akwa Ibom as a whole.
When Senator with the benefit of foresight told him all was not well, what was the reaction of Emmanuel: he hired political jobbers and gave them fifty thousand naira each to heckle the Senator and sign phantom communiqués against him.
Now I can hear the people of Ikot Ekpene Senatorial District chuckling and saying let those elders who insulted our Senator, who do not even step out of their cozy homes or hotel rooms on election day, who cannot even win the units in front of their houses, prepare to deliver you during the forth-coming elections. Judgement is fast approaching and the people will have the last .
Prince Inwek Ubong writes from Oruk Anam