The Senate President, Bukola Saraki, visited Akwa Ibom on Friday to show solidarity with the state governor, Udom Emmanuel.
Mr Saraki was accompanied by other senators, including Bassey Albert who is from the state, Dino Melaye, Biodun Olujimi, Phillip Aduda, Clifford Ordia, and Isa Misau.
Political tension heightened in the state since the defection of a senator, Godswill Akpabio, from the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), a few days ago.
Mr Akpabio, a former governor of Akwa Ibom, resigned his position as the Senate minority leader before his defection.
In a subsequent media interaction, Mr Akpabio had linked his defection to the ‘lack of an internal reward system in the PDP’ ostensibly referring to a recent decision by the PDP to make Mr Saraki its national leader, in the wake of his defection to the party.
Considered as one of the most influential politicians in the Akwa Ibom and Nigeria’s South-south region, Mr Akpabio’s defection is also seen by many as a threat to Governor Emmanuel’s ambition for re-election.
Several politicians and groups have been paying solidarity visits to the governor, in apparent effort to ward off such a political threat.
A number of solidarity rallies have also been organised in the state to mobilise support for the governor.
The Commissioner for Information in the state, Charles Udoh, told PREMIUM TIMES that Mr Saraki’s visit to the state was to show solidarity with Governor Emmanuel.
Mr Udoh said the Senate president addressed the PDP leaders in the state, including members of the House of Representatives and the state House of Assembly.
“He (Mr Saraki) is leading a delegation of some senators to show solidarity with the governor.
“He told the governor that he has the full support of his office and his colleagues in the National Assembly,” the commissioner said.
“It’s great to be back in Akwa Ibom!” Mr Saraki tweeted in the afternoon, through his personal Twitter handle @bukolasaraki.
The governor reportedly thanked the Senate president for finding it worthy to pay a solidarity visit to the state.
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