It is no longer news that Senator Godswill Akpabio was beaten silly by Engr. Christopher Ekpenyong in the Senatorial election for Akwa Ibom North West. Ekpenyong won convincingly in 8 out of the 10 Local Government Areas in the Senatorial District polling 118,215 to Akpabio’s 83,158 votes.
The result which demonstrated in graphic terms Akpabio’s mighty fall did not come as a surprise to perceptive observers and analysts. We will now examine the factors which led to Akpabio’s uncommon political demolition.
We must admit that Akpabio largely succeeded in conning the whole nation to think of him as a political heavyweight. He always boasted that he was the new Tinubu of Nigerian politics. He was delusional and ready to do anything to sustain himself in power. But, Senator Akpabio’s political strength was grossly overrated.
This fact was confirmed when Akpabio left PDP to join APC in August last year virtually alone with only two serving commissioners and 2 out of the 26 members of the State House of Assembly.
For a man who always boasted that he was the sole owner of the PDP in Akwa Ibom State and that he SINGLE-HANDEDLY made Udom Emmanuel Governor, Akpabio’s rejection by the entire PDP structure in Akwa Ibom State in August last year at the time of his defection to the APC was a demystification of Akpabio. It also confirmed the fact that Akpabio had lost out woefully to Governor Udom Emmanuel in the battle for the soul of the PDP in Akwa Ibom State.
In order to divert attention from his political bashing by Udom Emmanuel, Akpabio made false promises to President Muhammadu Buhari and other APC leaders. Akpabio told the APC leadership that he would defect to the APC with 20 serving Senators and that he (Akpabio) would remove Bukola Saraki as Senate President within one week. He also lied that he would SINGLEHANDEDLY deliver Akwa Ibom State and other South South States to APC during the Presidential election.
At the campaigns in Akwa Ibom State, Akpabio and his wife spared no effort in announcing to bemused crowds that he (Akpabio) was the incoming Senate President. In the end, he couldn’t even win his own Senatorial election.
Another factor that contributed to Akpabio’s downfall is the fact that he is perceived as a man who is treacherous and lacks integrity. In the build up to the 2015 Presidential elections, Akpabio and even his wife, in several videos now trending on YouTube threw caution to the winds and hurled unprintable insults on President Buhari claiming he was senile and an illiterate without certificate. At that time Akpabio claimed he was ready to die for Dr. Goodluck Jonathan. When he began to court President Buhari, he shamelessly declared that while he was campaigning for Jonathan and insulting Buhari his heart was with Buhari!!!
In 2014 Chief Umana Umana, Don Etiebet, late Dr Ime Umana, Obong Rita Akpan, Dr Ime Okopido, Hon Robinson Uwak, Chief Edet Nkpubre, Engr Ita Awak, Hon Uwem Udoma, Hon Akanimo Edet, Mr. Cosmas Ibanga, Mr. Inibehe Okorie, Hon Sonni Udom, late Okon Uwah and hundreds of other notable leaders of the PDP moved to the APC when they could no longer accept Akpabio’s excesses and impunity.
At that time Akpabio saw Akwa Ibom State as a conquered territory and he ran it as his personal estate. He hounded, harassed and persecuted the PDP leaders who moved to APC to campaign for the election of Buhari.
Akpabio called these leaders traitors who deserved to die because, according to him, they were supporting a Fulani man. Some of these leaders including Hon Okon Uwah and Albert Ukpana were brutally assassinated after Akpabio issued his oppose- me-and- die order.
When Akpabio came to join the APC last year, the APC leaders as a mark of respect and support for President Buhari graciously directed their members to attend the Rally to receive Akpabio into APC. Sadly, acting as a man without a conscience, Akpabio got the national leadership of the Party to announce him as leader of the Party over the same leaders he had persecuted in the past for supporting Buhari.
The imposition of Akpabio as leader was done without any prior consultation or attempt to appease the aggrieved leaders. The leaders could only pray for God’s divine intervention to address the injustice.
During the 2015 Presidential Elections in Akwa Ibom State, result sheets could not be found in any of the units and Umana Umana led other APC leaders in a mass protest to INEC Office Uyo the day after the elections. By the time Akpabio wrote the results, he allocated about a million votes to Jonathan and about 58000 votes to Buhari whereas the Card Reader Report showed that total accredited voters was less than 500,000.
It is instructive that the PDP candidate in the last Presidential election Atiku Abubakar was banking on Udom Emmanuel writing results and allocating one million votes to him following the Akpabio example in 2015. Kudos to President Buhari and INEC who made it possible for elections to hold and votes to count in Akwa Ibom and other States in the South South and South East for the first time, thus ending the era when results were written by unscrupulous politicians and bogus results declared.
Akpabio failed the last elections because the people of Abak remembered their sons who suffered untold humiliation and assassination during the reign of Akpabio.
The people of Ini and Ikono voted against Akpabio because, as Governor he was a sectional leader who developed only his area and did not build a single kilometer of road in the Ikono/Ini axis and in LGAS like Obot Akara and Oruk Anam of Ikot Ekpene Senatorial District.
Akpabio is known to have humiliated an illustrious son of Ikono Sen. Aloysius Etuk on National Television in 2012 when he (Akpabio) claimed that he SINGLEHANDEDLY made him a Senator by crossing out the name of the person who won the primaries and replacing it with Etuk’s name. Akpabio in his delusion falsely claims he made everybody in Akwa Ibom State. But who was Akpabio before former Governor Victor Attah appointed him a Commissioner in 2002.
Senator Godswill Akpabio used the weapon of blackmail to cause a rift between former President Jonathan and prominent South South leaders such as Rotimi Amaechi and Timipre Sylva. These leaders left the PDP in frustration. Akpabio was to return to APC to humiliate these same leaders who risked their lives when it really mattered to work for the election of President Buhari in 2014/2015. Akpabio arrogantly installed himself as the new leader of the South South who will typically SINGLEHANDEDLY win the states in the zone for APC.
Akpabio failed the last elections because the people remembered how he betrayed and paid back with evil all those who helped him in his journey through life- the late Christy Igbokwe, late Ime Umana, late Pastor Onyong Asuquo, Atuekong Don Etiebet, Obong Victor Attah, late Chief Fidelis Etim, OtuIta Toyo, Umana Umana, Arch Bishop Samuel Akpan etc.
The list is endless. This explains why many people who understand Akpabio’s record of treachery and ingratitude to his benefactors were amused when he accused Gov. Udom Emmanuel who refused to be his stooge of ingratitude.
Akpabio lost the last elections because he couldn’t subvert the will of the people by writing the results of the elections and mocking his victims by advising them to go to court. In the 2015 Senatorial Results for Akwa Ibom North West, Akpabio fraudulently and ridiculously allocated 422,006 votes to himself and 15,152 votes to Chief Inibehe Okorie, whereas the total number of accredited voters was 205,519.
To further demonstrate that Akpabio in 2015, unilaterally allocated votes in connivance with the then State INEC REC, in Akpabio’s LGA of Essien Udim, 90,053 were said to have been accredited (in the fabricated results) out of 93,884 registered voters representing a fictitious 95.9% voter turnout!! Thanks to the new REC, Barr. Mike Igini and President Buhari, Akpabio could not repeat the fraud and impunity of 2015 of writing his own result even before the elections. May God bless Mr. Mike Igini and President Buhari for allowing the will of the people to prevail.
Finally, for too long Akpabio thought he had become a god who controlled the destiny of the people of Akwa Ibom State and even Nigeria.
During the campaigns Akpabio boasted that he could make and unmake governors at his pleasure. He announced himself to the bemused long suffering Akwa Ibom people as the incoming Senate President.
In order to con the people of Akwa Ibom State into believing that he had become President Buhari’s confidant he struggled for photo opportunities with the President and gate crashed or bought his way into his events and programs.
The social media is filled with photos and videos of Akpabio and President Buhari. The same scenario played out in the case of former President Jonathan when Akpabio professed his unending love for Patience and Good luck Jonathan while insulting and demonizing President Buhari. Akpabio’s penchant for sycophancy, treachery and manipulation is legendary.
Akpabio also lost the elections because he brought his PDP culture of impunity and imposition of unpopular candidates to APC. He imposed Emmanuel Ekon, Nse Ntuen, Emmanuel Akpan as candidates for elections and prevented popular and loyal members of the Party from participating in the primaries.
Akpabio should accept the reality of his defeat. He is not the only Senator who failed to win his election. Twenty three (23) incumbent Senators failed their reelection bid. Political heavyweights like Senate President Bukola Saraki, Senator George Akume, Gov. Abiola Ajimobi (a sitting governor), Senator Rabiu Kwakwanso, Senator Tayo Alasoadura, Senator Nelson Effiong etc have also not been re-elected.
How could Akpabio have won when the APC also lost the three House of Representative seats in his Senatorial District and all National Assembly elections were held at the same time? Akpabio should stop his infantile and baseless accusations against INEC. Independent observers local and foreign have adjudged the last Presidential and National Assembly elections as credible.
But in all of these, God has the final say and we must reap what we sow. Karma is as sure as death. But will Akpabio learn. Will he respect the will of the people? Our God, the truly Almighty and Sovereign God heard the cries of all those who prayed for justice.
Prince Albert Ukpong Esu,
CENTER FOR DEMOCRACY, POLICY AND VALUE STUDIES, Abuja
Dr. Ambgare Amabara,
Director Civic Engagement
CENTER FOR DEMOCRACY, POLICY AND VALUE STUDIES, Abuja