Godswill Akpabio’s ambition to return to the Nigerian Senate suffered a major setback over the weekend as some leaders of the Congress of all progressives (APC) in Akwa Ibom state said they would not support him in the upcoming elections.
Mr. AkpabioA former Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, he is the APC senatorial candidate in the Akwa Ibom North-West District in the February 25 election.
A multi-party meeting, chaired by the APC leader in Akwa Ibom, don etiebetwas held on Saturday at Mr. Etiebet’s residence in Uyo, where a decision was made on Mr. Akpabio’s political ambition.
Mr. Etiebet, a former Minister of Petroleum, is a member of the APC BoT.
The statement issued after the meeting, which Etiebet sent to PREMIUM TIMES on Sunday afternoon, said APC leaders in Akwa Ibom North-West District have resolved to support Akpabio’s opponent, Emmanuel Enoidem, who is a candidate for the Democratic Party of the Peoples (PDP) in the senatorial election.
Their reason, according to the statement, is that the Abak federal constituency, where Mr. Enoidem hails from, is the only federal constituency that has yet to produce a senator in 56 years, dating back to 1963, while others, including the Ikot Ekpene federal constituency, where Mr. Akpabio hails from, has produced a senator several times.
“The Ikot Ekpene federal constituency has produced five senators since 1963, three in the fourth republic alone,” he said.
In addition to APC chiefs, members of the PDP, New Nigeria People’s Party, Young Progressive Party and Labor Party from Abak, Etim Ekpo, Ika, Ukanufun and OrukAnam local government areas attended the meeting, according to the notice.
However, the statement did not reveal the names of the participants, but said the attendees included federal and state legislators, chairmen of local government councils, members of government boards and commissions, as well as political party officials, community leaders and female chiefs. of women’s groups.
“Barr Emmanuel Enoidem, the PDP senatorial candidate was unanimously endorsed as the choice for the February 25, 2023 senatorial election, but members were urged to vote for their respective parties’ presidential candidates,” the statement said.
Participants in the meeting said they endorsed Mr. Enoidem because he is “the strongest of the four considered candidates from the Abak-5 Community.”
“All eligible voters in the Abak-5 Community are required to vote for PDP Attorney Emmanuel Enoidem, regardless of their party affiliation in the Community.
“The leaders of the Abak-5 community led by Atuekong Annang, Don Etiebet, should reach out to their allies in the federal constituencies of Ikot Ekpene and Ikono/Ini to understand and support the vote for lawyer Emmanuel Enoidem to win the seat. in the Senate. of Akwa Ibom North-West District,” the statement said.
Etiebet last month rejected Akpabio’s candidacy after the Supreme Court ruled that Akpabio was the validly elected APC candidate.
The Director General of Mr. Akpabio’s campaign, Ubokutom Nya, in his reaction to the development, said the meeting was “doomed”.
He challenged Mr. Etiebet to publish the list of those attending the meeting.
“Those who support Senator Godswill Akpabio of Abak 5 are men with enormous political assets, not liabilities. Etiebet ran aground on two national parties and tore them to shreds.
“Those who support Akpabio are not faces behind the masks. They stand out to be counted in daylight,” Nya said.
Akpabio, a former governor of Akwa Ibom, was elected senator in 2015 under the PPD. He later defected to the APC in 2018, where he ran for a second term in 2019, but was defeated by PDP candidate Christopher Ekpenyong, who was Akwa Ibom’s lieutenant governor.