By Ernest Udoh – Robert
There is palpable hunger in the land and the people are yearning for a change. The hunger will possibly be a major determining factor on who becomes the next governor of the state. Moreso, keen political watchers have begun permutations towards 2023 governorship elections and if feelers emanating from political actors are anything to go by, then we are in for an interesting time.
A good ally of Senator Godswill Akpabio and also a good friend to the Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Mr. Akanimo Udofia, is suspected to be dusting his shoes for the race. Udofia, an illustrious son of Akwa Ibom State is an international business man and respected globally.
Akpabio is said to be drumming for Udofia’s current dance at the political square. Unequivocally, Mr. Udom Inoyo, the immediate past Vice Chairman of ExxonMobil, another reverable son of Akwa Ibom State and globally respected, is speculated to be interested in emerging as the next governor of the State come 2023, and the current governor Mr Udom Emmanuel, is suspected to be blowing Inoyo’s trumpet. The blowing of this trumpet is reverberating ripples across political parties.
Funny enough, the quartet of Godswill Akpabio, Udom Emmanuel, Udom Inoyo and Akanimo Udofia are friends. However, friendship will be laid to rest for interest to prevail and the people will be gullible to respond to who can feed their hunger the most.
Consequently, Inoyo and Udofia are both from Etinan Federal Constituency, where Barr Onofiok Luke represents at the Green Chamber at the National Assembly and he is equally suspected to be gunning for the same office of the Governor.
Interestingly, at the fringes of this is another political ‘son’ of Akpabio, Senator Bassey Albert, although, he may not be in the very good books of Akpabio because of his utterances at the Red Chamber during the “Forensic Audit’, ‘Pondei fainting’ ‘Honourable minister off your mic,’ ‘it is okay’ comedy. Many did not feel comfortable with his outburst against his former boss at the Red Chamber at the National Assembly. This may have broken a spine, making him unable to stand erect before Akpabio.
Howbeit, Senator Albert is a strong contender for the office of the governor come 2023. Another former Senator that has boldly expressed his interest for the coveted office is Senator John Akpan Udoedeghe. Though a recurring decimal since 2007, his momentum seems to be fueled by his position as Secretary of the Interim Working Committee of the All Progressive Congress, APC, the same platform Akpabio is saddling the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs.
It’s difficult to say if Akpabio will mobilize support for Udoedeghe, a man who stood by him in 2007 against all odds, consequently, a lot has happened and ‘plenty water don pass under bridge’. The saving grace for Senator Udoedeghe might be the use of Federal might to win nomination and election.
Moreover, the situation at the level of State APC will lead any candidate to be victim of inherent betrayal. That should be expected, because there are many fences still yet to be mended. For instance, Obong Umana Okon Umana, who sits pretty at the Oil and Gas Free Zone Authority may not be smiling with Akpabio and Udoedeghe owing to lingering wounds. The question is, will Umana Umana work against Akpabio and Udoedeghe as an APC stalwart in revenge and pool resources to support his bosom friend and brother Udom Uko Inoyo?
The matrix of Akwa Ibom State politics often confuses the players, that is why we see players gaming from different camps at the same time. And the natal aspirants of Udom Inoyo and Akanimo Udofia will be easy prey to eat from.
In my permutation, Obong Umana Okon Umana with some key elders will play a pivotal role in who emerges as governor come 2023. It will be a collective decision to go for a particular candidate without recourse to party affiliations. Umana has been quiet, and as a former Secretary to the Akwa Ibom State Government, he wielded unprecedented powers for the six years he held that office. His sway fed speculations of a secret agreement on transfer of power between him and then Governor Godswill Akpabio.
It was an uncommon partnership that ended in a spectacularly unusual manner and left many bemused. The episode will not be forgotten in a hurry. A pound of flesh may be in the offing to slice from any move Akpabio is suspected to be scheming.
This puts Akanimo Udofia on the radar were mutually beneficial synergy will be scripted, laced with financial prowess and political dexterity to outfox, the fox – Akpabio.
This grudge war will definitely provide the financial leverage for the grassroot politician to graze on. However, the onslaught against Akpabio will be great and the risk high but will Akanimo Udofia be willing to go through this very unfamiliar and unsavoury terrain? Only time will unveil.