The political war between Akwa Ibom Governor, Udom Emmanuel, and the Senate Minority Leader, Godswill Akpabio, has escalated, with some leaders in the state accusing Mr. Akpabio of trying to blackmail the governor.
The leaders, drawn from the Akwa Ibom North-East Senatorial District, said in a communique dated January 7 that Mr. Akpabio’s claim on his senatorial district being marginalised was a “calculated statement of calumny, blackmail, and arm-twisting”.
The communique was signed by a former military governor of the state, Idongesit Nkanga, two former senators, Anietie Okon and Effiong Bob, and 21 other leaders.
Interestingly, Messrs. Nkanga, Okon, Bob, and several of those who signed the communique were Mr. Akpabio’s allies before now.
The leaders also accused the senator of trying to cause ethnic rift in the state.
They said Mr. Akpabio was not thoughtful in his comment against the governor, and reminded the senator of several projects he abandoned in other senatorial districts, “despite the favourable resources he received during the eight years he served as the governor of the state”.
They mentioned, for instance the terminal building at Ibom International Airport, Ibom Tropicana Hotel, Ibom Specialist Hospital, Eket-Etinan Road, Itak Okoita-Use Ikot Amama Road.
“Reality must admit that Senator Akpabio in the eight years as Governor of the state did not even complete and commission one kilometre of road in the core oil producing areas of the state where Governor Udom Emmanuel comes from.
“In the interests of peace and unity, the Ikot Ekpene Senatorial District should caution Senator Godswill Akpabio to desist from making unfounded utterances intended to create ethnic conflicts in Akwa Ibom State to serve his personal benefit.
“We encourage Senator Godswill Akpabio to respect conventions, values, and principles that would sustain the prevailing peace in the state and allow the sleeping dog to lie.
“We debunk and disagree totally with the insinuation made by Senator Godswill Akpabio that “all is not well” and declare boldly that it is well with us.
“We are strongly persuaded that despite Senator Akpabio’s declared fears and, uncertainty in the ‘route’ he will take in 2019, it is well, and shall, indeed, be well with Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Akwa Ibom state and His Excellency, Governor Udom Emmanuel,” they said.