Godswill Akpabio’s paternal cousin, Ibanga Akpabio, on Sunday, endorsed his opponent, Emmanuel Enoidem for the 25 February senatorial election in the Akwa Ibom North-West District.
Mr Akpabio, a former minister of Niger Delta Affairs, is the senatorial candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the election, while Mr Enoidem is a candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Mr Ibanga, apart from the close family relationship with Mr Akpabio, was among those who aided Mr Akpabio’s rise in politics, from becoming a commissioner of Petroleum Resources in the state in 2002 to being elected a governor in 2007, and then a senator in 2015, all of them under the PDP.
When Mr Akpabio was the governor, Mr Ibanga was the secretary of the PDP in Akwa Ibom.
“You see this election, I believe God you are going to win. And you will win convincingly,” Mr Ibanga told Mr Enoidem when the PDP candidate consulted him in his hometown in Ukana, Essien Udim Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State.
The former secretary of the PDP said for the sake of justice, the Abak Federal Constituencies where Mr Enoidem hails from should be allowed to produce the next senator for the Akwa Ibom North-West District, since they are the only constituency that have not produced a senator for 56 years in the district.
Besides, he said Mr Enoidem has “paid his dues” in Akwa Ibom politics and, therefore, would “never walk alone”.
“In this business that we are going, we are voting for the party because of the candidate, not the candidate because of the party. Get that very straight.
“I am still a member of the APC. I can assure you that you will win hands down. Essien Udim is for you. When the result comes out, we will remind ourselves of this.
“I am purposefully staying in the village because I know we are going to banter it out. He (Akpabio) knows it is not possible for him to do anything (win) in Essien Udim in this election.
“So keep on doing what you have to do and do it well, knowing that you are going there (to the Senate) so that you can come and help our people. Godswill went for his own personal aggrandisement. He is my brother, I brought him into politics. We are not shaken. If anyone is afraid, it is him (Akpabio).”
‘The problem with Akpabio’
Mr Ibanga criticised Mr Akpabio’s style of politics, saying the former minister had a penchant for doing “horrible things against people who have assisted him”.
“The problem we have here is that Godswill believes he is the only cock to crow.
“I have always heard of eternal God, I haven’t heard of any human being that is eternal. In this life, you can only hear of a current champion, not a permanent champion.
“After Mohammed Ali, there was Mike Tyson, there has never been a permanent champion. Why should Godswill come out to contest for Senate at this point in time? Is it for the unity of Annang people or for the unity of Akwa Ibom North-West District?” Mr Ibanga said.
Mr Enoidem thanked Mr Ibanga for the support and promised to bring in needed development to the district if elected.
The chairpersons of Abak, Etim Ekpo, Oruk Anam, and Ukanafun council areas, among others accompanied him.
Mr Enoidem used to be Mr Akpabio’s political ally when the latter was in the PDP.
Earlier this month, a BoT member of the APC and former minister of Petroleum, Don Etiebet, chaired a multi-partisan political meeting in Uyo where several chieftains of the APC rejected Mr Akpabio’s candidacy and instead endorsed his opponent, Mr Enoidem for the Akwa Ibom North-West District election.
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