Political Editorial Team, TheProfileNewspaper

Loyalists of the immediate-past governor of Akwa Ibom state, His Excellency, Sen. Godswill Obot Akpabio, have begun scheming to take over political leadership in the state, our paper can authoritatively report. The moves, according to our sources have no political party line.

Akpabio, now Honourable Minister, Niger Delta Affairs, was governor of the state between 2007 and 2015, on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, and, according to political pundits, singlehandedly made the incumbent, Deacon Udom Gabriel Emmanuel, governor, in 2015.

The former governor, who contested and won the Ikot Ekpene Senatorial District Seat in the National Assembly in 2015, defied the Senate’s ‘Ranking Senator’ Rule to emerge as the Senate Minority Leader. He held the position until the buildup to the 2019 general election, when he defected to the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC.

Although his new party won and retained grip of leadership at the centre, including both Chambers of the National Assembly in 2019, back home, APC could not win governorship and other positions in Akwa Ibom state. This development caused Akpabio a loss of grip of the leadership of the state which political observers say had been under him, since 2007 and even after transiting in 2015.

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As 2023 draws closer, the former Senate Minority Leader’s loyalists have vowed to take over the oil-rich state at all cost. The recent inauguration of a political group headed by a renowned politician cum school proprietor in the state has been linked to such moves.

According to a staunch supporter of the Minister, who did not wish to be named, nearly all the current political office holders in the state have their political roots from Akpabio’s camp.

Our source, said “…you cannot underestimate such structure. This is a structure built many years ago with young men and women who have all grown today to become politically established adults. The mere fact that His Excellency (Akpabio) left the PDP does not mean that his political structure had been destroyed.

If you analyze all the political office holders in Akwa Ibom state today, there’s no way you will not trace up to ninety percent (90%) to Akpabio’s political structure. Check the state and National Assemblies; check the political appointees, party structures, and so forth. Tell me how you could underrate such a man.

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“What happened in 2019 was a political emergency because no one was properly briefed before the (Akpabio’s) decision to defect. But, from what is going on in the politics of the state, we must all come together and decide the state’s political leadership, come 2023”.

Our paper has also gathered from other sources that part of the strategy to actualize the resurrection of the ‘Akpabio factor’ in the state is to ensure that whoever would fill the vacant position in the State’s PDP leadership, following recent passing of the PDP State Chairman, Udo Ekpenyong, comes from the former governor’s political school.

Meanwhile, our sources said that the recent moves by Akpabio and various political meetings by his core loyalists within the PDP have caused a serious tension in the party and the Government House in Akwa Ibom state, as Governor Udom was said to be uncertain about who would replace the fallen State Chairman.

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As at the time of this report, some key officials of the Udom administration have been fingered as sabotaging the government. One of such officials is the Honourable Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Comrade Ini Ememobong, whose aides and close associates were recently accused by a journalist of sabotaging their principal.