After months of dillydallying, Akwa Ibom State Governor, Godswill Akpabio, has finally declared intention to take over the state’s North-west senatorial district seat from the incumbent and estranged ally, Aloysius Etok.
Mr. Akpabio made this known on Wednesday in Ukana, Essien Udim Local Government Area, when youth of the senatorial district presented him with the nomination form for the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, primaries.
In a barefaced confession to electoral fraud on March 24, Mr. Akpabio had admitted on live television, to have personally replaced the winner of a senatorial election in the state with his preferred candidate.
The governor spoke during the contentious Federal Government’s “Good Governance Tour” to Uyo, the state capital.
Former Information Minister, Labaran Maku, had led several government officials and journalists on the tour, which many Nigerians dismissed as a jamboree.
While addressing the visiting delegation on his government’s achievements, Mr. Akpabio, who sought to impress his sense of evenhandedness on the audience, said he struck off the name of the winner of the Akwa Ibom northwest senatorial election in his party’s primaries, and replaced same with Mr. Etok.
“The people of Ikono and Ini (Local Government Areas) from 1960 have never produced a senator,” the governor said.
“I used my own hand to strike out the name of the person who has won before, and I said it is important for me to give that region a senator in 2007, and I produced Senator Aloysius Etok for you; that’s where he comes from.”
With that, he gestured to an embarrassed Mr. Etok, who attended the session alongside his colleague in the Senate, Mr. Ita Enang, to “take a bow.”
The disclosure jolted the audience and the governor’s associates who exchanged awkward glances.
The same governor who in the past, claimed elections in the state were amongst Nigeria’s freest and fairest, laid bare in the speech that was captured on camera, how he deliberately masterminded a flawed process that produced Mr. Etok.
But during a reception party organized for him by Esop Mbong Ikpaisong Afud Annang on Wednesday, youth of the area pressed it on Mr. Akpabio to take over Mr. Etok’s seat.
A representative of Ikot Ekpene senatorial district youths, Moses Akpan, who urged the governor to stand for the senatorial election and presented him with the PDP nomination form, thanked Mr. Akpabio for giving Akwa Ibom State a voice at the national level.
“The governor still has capacity to do more for the senatorial district, Akwa Ibom State and Nigeria,” said Mr. Akpan.
“This is why we have decided to send him to represent us at the Senate in 2015. We are sure that he will give us effective representation and make our State proud.”
Reacting to the gesture, Mr. Akpabio lauded the youth for their show of love and support to his administration.
“I have been under pressure by the people of Ikot Ekpene senatorial district to represent them as a senator in 2015. I want to say that I have accepted the call to serve my people,” Mr. Akpabio said.
“Akwa Ibom State is a peaceful place because youth have shunned criminality. Youth have supported government efforts in the state and this is why we are able to build a state of equal opportunity for all.”
Earlier, the President of Esop Mbong Ikpaisong Afud Annang, James Obosi, had thanked Mr. Akpabio, for offering effective leadership and uncommon transformation to the state.
The monarch said the body had met and passed a resolution, urging the governor to vie for Senate in 2015 in Ikot Ekpene senatorial district.