The cold war between a former minister of petroleum, Chief Don Etiebet and a former minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio, over the next occupant of the senate seat for Ikot Ekpene Senatorial District is assuming an interesting dimension.
Etiebet’s position, even a ranking member of the APC, is that Akpabio cannot become the next senator because it was no longer the turn of his local government to produce the senator.
He insists that it was the turn of the local governments in the old Abak to produce the next senator. Etim Ekpo, from where the PDP has chosen its candidate, has not produced a senator before(see table).
Last week, at the instance of Etiebet, the Abak 5 met and decided to stand with the Abak Federal constituency to produce the next senator. The decision has rattled Akpabio seriously and he is also trying to fight back, threatening that Etiebet would be dealt with by the party, for anti-party activities.
Present at the meeting were past and present local government chairmen, past and present commissioners, past and present members of the National and State House of Assembly, past and present members of Boards, Commissions, Agencies and Parastatal at both federal and State level, past and present party officials at the Federal, Zonal, and State level, Elder statesmen, Community Leaders, Heads of Women Groups, among others.
In a resolution at the end of the extraordinary meeting, the leaders revolved to among other things, that the 2023 Senatorial seat for Ikot Ekpene Senatorial District must go to Abak/Etim Ekpo/Ika Federal Constituency which has not produced a Senator since 1963 whereas other federal constituencies in the Senatorial District have produced Senators at several times, including Ikot Ekpene Federal Constituency that has produced five senators since 1963, three in the Fourth Republic alone.
Other far reaching decisions taken at the end of the extraordinary meeting include, the unanimous adoption of Barrister Emmanuel Enoidem of the PDP, being the strongest of the four candidates considered from the Abak-5 Community as the consensus candidate for the February 25, 2023 Senatorial election.
The communique reads in parts: “That all Abak-5 Community eligible voters are enjoined to vote for Barrister Emmanuel Enoidem of the PDP irrespective of their party affiliations in the community in the forth-coming senatorial election of 25th February, 2023 for equity, justice, fairness and brotherliness because it is Abak Federal Constituency’s turn to produce the next senator having not had any since 1963″.
“The leaders of the Abak-5 Community led by Atuekong Annang, Don Etiebet, CON are enjoined to reach out to their allies in Ikot Ekpene and Ikono/ Ini Federal Constituencies for their understanding and support to vote for Barrister Emmanuel Enoidem to win the Senate seat of the Akwa Ibom Northwest Senatorial District.”
The meeting which had all major political stakeholders from Abak 5 extraction, urged all chieftains of the various political parties to relocate to their respective units, wards and local government areas to begin what was termed, “the mother of all political mobilization” towards the realisation of the decision.
The meeting which lasted for hours ended with prayers to God to bless their resolutions to enthrone justice, Equity, fairness and good brotherliness in Akwa Ibom Northwest Senatorial District so as to preserve the age long unity and peace among the four federal constituencies in the Senatorial.
But Akpabio has reminded Etiebet of the consequences of working against his party. In a statement by Akpabio’s media aide, Joe Iniodu, Akpabio said “if the former petroleum minister who is a caucus leader of APC convoked any meeting wherein he directed people to vote against his party, as a one- time chairman of a national party, he should know the consequence that sequels such obnoxious action.
“While the leader of National Centre Party of Nigeria (NCPN), chieftains of his party, Abdullahi Mogaji and Kenny Martins were accused of hobnobbing with a certain politician thereby exhibiting tendencies of disloyalty and Etiebet is said to have wielded the big stick against them. Atuekong Don Etiebet should be reminded that party rules have not changed any fundamentally.
“We cannot also forget how Atuekong Don Etiebet broke moral and political conventions in this State by introducing the lexical item called consensus and using it to truncate the people’s will. Sadly for him, the people know better today and are determined to resist such hegemonic imposition.
“Etiebet’s claim is a ruse and has no potential for any form of realization. The people of Ikot Ekpene Senatorial District should continue to subscribe their support to their illustrious son, Senator Godswill Akpabio and prepared to vote him to represent them in the 10th Senate of 2023.”