By ETIM ETIM
Niger Delta Minister, Senator Godswill Akpabio on Saturday, vowed that he will not impose any candidate on Uyo Senatorial District as its choice for the 2023 governorship election in the state.
The former governor of the state stated this at the official inauguration of the Uyo Senatorial District Chapter of Akwa Ibom Democratic Forum(ADF).
According to the former Senate Minority Leader, ‘‘my goal is to work with like-minded associates in Uyo Senatorial District (USD) and nominate a suitable candidate that would win the election. I have no particular person in mind, and I cannot repeat the mistake I made in 2015’’.
It is the first time the former governor would address the issue in such a vehement and fervent manner in front of a large crowd of USD politicians; and it was a direct rebuttal of insinuations and innuendoes spread by his political detractors that the Minister is planning to foist a particular aspirant as the choice of USD.
By the zoning arrangement in the state, the next governor should come from Uyo Senatorial District (officially known as Akwa Ibom North East).
Akpabio is from Akwa Ibom North West (or Ikot Ekpene senatorial District). In the last few months, the former governor has been busy creating a political pressure group known as Akwa Ibom Democratic Forum in the state, thus triggering impressions that the group is his special purpose vehicle through which his anointed candidate would emerge.
But yesterday he was unequivocal in dispelling such allusions. He said: ‘’Akwa Ibom people of various political persuasions do agree that we need a dependable leadership in 2023’’, a direct reference to the motto of the group. ‘’In that case, I will work with all of you to identify and support any candidate that will develop our state…’’, he said, adding: ‘’Uyo Senatorial District is capable of bringing up a good candidate that would be acceptable to the rest of the state. ADF will work with Uyo in this regard’’.
His pledge was received with a standing ovation by the crowd that included eminent politicians like HE Sam Enwang, Dr. Maurice Ebong, Dr. Emaeyak Ukpong; Chief Etim Edem Akpaudo, Her Honour Mrs Valerie Ebe, Mrs Geraldine Ita Etuk, Bishop Ekpe James among many others.
Speaking along the same line, former Military governor of Ogun and Rivers States, Sam Ewang, confirmed that he has had several heart-to-heart discussions with Akpabio on the 2023 politics and he is certain that the minister ‘’will not impose any candidate on Uyo’’.
The idea of imposing a candidate rankles Akwa Ibom people to no end and reminds them of the sad experience of 2015. In that year’s election, Akpabio, then outgoing governor of the state brought a colourless banker from Zenith Bank and imposed him on the state as his successor. Six years after, many are still biting their fingers!
High point of the day was the inauguration of Dr. Emaeyak Ukpong as the coordinator of ADF in USD and other executives from the nine LGAs of the zone.