Peoples democratic Party stakeholders and supporters in Akwa Ibom were in shock last week when the governor, Udom Emmanuel said he will retain his entire executive council, except where minor replacements are necessary.
This is coming even as the Cross River State governor, Prof Ben Ayade is in a serious dilemma on the choice of members of his state executive council. Lobbyists have besieged his younger brother's residence, battling to have the attention of the man usually referred to as c-governor Udom, in sharp contrast to expectations of PDP stakeholders in his state, had, in his inaugural speech, said he would not dissolve his executive council, but rather will make minor replacement where it is necessary.
According to the governor, elder statesmen and stakeholders had, bombarded him with appeals and requests for membership of the state executive council and other major appointments in his second term.
One of the governor's aides who pleaded anonymity, hinted our correspondent that many lobbyists have even gone spiritual to win the governor's heart for state appointments, a situation that necessitated a “beef-up” of security around the governor.
It was gathered that in the past few months, many people have been barred from having hand shake with the governor and even engaging in conversations, except where and when necessary.
Recently, the governor in a public function, warned PDP stakeholders to deemphasize politics by having a sustaining means of livelihood so that when they leave office, they could have something to fall-back to.
Udom, who expressed dismay over the desperation with which politicians sought public office, warned that they would only work with those who had invested in farming or any other serious investments that could put food on the table and provide employment for others.
Prominent among the lobbyists are politicians from from Ikot Abasi Local Government, where the APC governorship candidate, Obong Nsima Ekere hails from.
Our correspondent gathered that PDP stakeholders have mounted severe pressure on the governor to consider them prominently, in view of the massive support they gave him against their kinsman.
A PDP chieftain and former state officer of the party, Mr. Emmanuel Ubak, who spoke to our correspondent, said the greatest mistake the governor would make was to retain his state Exco as he said, without compensating those who contributed immensely to his re-election.
According to him, many of members of his Exco had no electoral value in their respective local governments and did not do much for his re-election.
“Some of us were Nsima's loyalists and we dumped Nsima Ekere to support him because of the fear that Ekere may eye a second term, which automatically would have altered the zoning system, and in effect, bar Uyo Senatorial District affect the chance of producing the next governor of the state.”
Another PDP chieftain and a former commissioner who spoke in the same vein, said the governor would be committing political suicide if he did not dissolve the entire Exco and appoint new ones to accommodate diverse interests as well as inject new blood into the system.
Again, an executive member of the governor's campaign committee also bore his mind when he said “the way the governor is even behaving clearly shows that he is not interested in protecting any interest again.
Ekpo Inyang, who is secretary of the coalition of PDP political groups said “from the way this are going, none of the political groups will be compensated in the state Exco”. According to him, many of the stakeholders were disappointed by the governor's action.
On further investigation, it was gathered that most of the commissioners had some programmes and projects which were running in consonance with the overall development agenda of the state governor.
A commissioner who did not want to be named, hinted our correspondent that “new commissioners may not be able to key into some of these projects and programmes and the state governor is not interested in settling interests, but in driving the development plan of the state.”
He reasoned that since some of these projects and programmes were personal initiatives of the commissioners, new commissioners may not like to complete and promote someone's initiative; they will want to introduce their own. This is partly why the governor wants to retain most of us.
Lobbyists run after Ayade, brother
Politicians from Cross River State are desperately chasing after the governor, Prof Ben Ayade in their bid to get his attention for nomination in the state executive council.
Last week, Ayade dissolved his cabinet, but with a promise that he would bring back some of them. Since then, scores of people who feel they are qualified to be appointed have not given him any breathing space.
While some are approaching him directly, others have chosen to go through his brother, Frank, who is believed to have some influence over his brother. Frank has come to earn the title of co-governor and is perceived to be very influential.
His residence at the State Housing Estate has become a Mecca of some sort. Some of the politicians wake up and sleep there, in their attempt to meet and lobby him.