Governor Godswill Akpabio of Akwa Ibom State, and a former Minister of Petroleum, Don Etiebet, have traded blames over the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP’s loss at the presidential polls Saturday.
Mr. Etiebet had while reacting to Muhammadu Buhari’s emergence as president-elect blamed Mr. Akpabio for President Goodluck Jonathan’s defeat.
But Mr. Akpabio described the former minister’s allegation as “strange, baseless and mischievous” saying Mr. Etiebet should tell the world what he did to ensure the PDP won the presidential election.
The governor, who reacted through his Chief Press Secretary, Anietie Ukpe, accused Mr. Etiebet of being a fifth columnist in the ranks of the PDP.
The former minister, who is also a member of the PDP Board of Trustees, said he has been vindicated about the concerned he expressed against Mr. Akpabio’s overwhelming influence on Mr. Jonathan.
When he discovered a crack in the party structure, Mr. Etiebet said he tried to get access to Mr. Jonathan but Mr. Akpabio would not allow him or other well-meaning persons from the state to see the president.
Mr. Etiebet, therefore, attributed the failure of Mr. Jonathan to retain the presidency to a rebellion against the PDP, adding that half of the votes that gave Mr. Buhari victory came from states controlled by the party.
He, however, described Mr. Jonathan’s timely actions in congratulating Mr. Buhari and conceding defeat as “a new beginning for the country’s politics”.
Mr. Etiebet also described the outcome of the elections in which the incumbent president lost to an opposition candidate as “historic.”
“I will also like to say that it was not APC winning. It was not PDP losing. Do you know that from the analysis, the total number of votes lost by PDP controlled-states was more than half of the total number of APC winning votes?” Mr. Etiebet asked.
“You can analyse what happened by yourself. You will discover that somebody was misled somewhere, somehow; attention was not paid by the PDP hierarchy and the people had to rebel.
“This is a rebellion against the party, including myself. I did everything to let them know that they were on a wrong course, but my governor (Mr. Akpabio) tried to bring local politics to national level; that he will not allow anybody else access to the president and to the leadership of the party.
“And by God’s grace, I have been vindicated today. It is the PDP that lost the election.”
The former minister predicted that the April 11 gubernatorial election across the country would witness similar act of rebellion.
Also speaking, the state’s APC governorship candidate, Umana Umana, said he was happy his party won the presidential election.
“I am happy that my party, APC, is behind the wind of change blowing across Nigeria. With Buhari, the era of impunity has finally come to an end,” Mr. Umana said.
“The moment is historic for Nigeria. Buhari has character; he has what is required to turn Nigeria round, politically and economically.”
In a reaction, Mr. Akpabio said instead of apportioning blames, the most dignified thing Mr. Etiebet should have done would be to tell the disappointed members of the PDP what he (Etiebet) did to ensure the party’s victory in the presidential polls.
Mr. Akpabio said, “This is the case of the man who set his seat on fire in the theatre and ran out shouting fire! fire! fire!!!
“It is noteworthy that he has described the victory of APC as ‘exciting’ which indicates that he was a fifth columnist in the ranks of the PDP.
“His claim that Governor Akpabio stopped him from seeing President Jonathan is equally strange, given the fact that the President had always kept an open door to all members of the Board of Trustees of the PDP.”
Mr. Akpabio said his commitment to the PDP has never been doubt, adding that if there were as many people with the same level of commitment, the story would have been different.