The All Progressives Congress (APC) governorship candidate in Akwa Ibom, Nsima Ekere, says he is confident the state’s former governor, Godswill Akpabio, will not betray the party by working for other candidates.
Mr Ekere said this while addressing journalists after a meeting with the party’s National Working Committee (NWC) in Abuja on Thursday.
Mr Ekere was deputy governor under Mr Akpabio before he resigned after spending only 17 months and two days in office.
It was then reported that Mr Ekere’s resignation from office on October 31, 2012 was to beat his planned impeachment by the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly, a move attributed to issues relating to loyalty and obedience to Mr Akpabio.
Both men had not been in the same political party since then until this year when Mr Akpabio left the PDP to join Mr Ekere in the APC.
Following Mr Akpabio’s defection to the APC and Mr Ekere’s emergence as the party’s governorship candidate, there have been questions whether the candidate will have the full support of hi former boss.
Mr Akpabio, who was a former senior member of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), recently admitted secretly preferring the candidacy of President Muhammadu Buhari in 2015 while Mr Akpabio was still in the then ruling PDP, which made some to question his loyalty as a party man.
However, Mr Ekere described Mr Akpabio as a “total APC party man” who is working for all candidates of the party.
“I can assure you that Chief Godswill Akpabio and his entire political structure are solidly working for the APC and all our candidates in the next general elections, not only in Akwa Ibom but all over the country,” he said.
“He is not the kind of person that will be working for the APC and the President on one side and working against other candidates of the party. He is totally an APC man, a loyal party leader in the state and he will definitely work for all APC candidates in the election.”
Denying bad blood exists between him and Mr Akpabio, the candidate said “I resigned from office for very personal reasons,” stressing that he has Mr Akpabio’s support as the governorship candidate of the party.
“Before the last primaries, the former governor you are talking about joined the party at end of August and the primary was in early October and way before the primary, he was my number one supporter, going round the state campaigning for me to emerge candidate of the party. So, there is absolutely no truth to that.”
Speaking on the speculated plot by the APC to use force to remove the sitting governor in the state, Udom Emmanuel of the PDP, Mr Ekere said there was no truth in the speculation.
He said the president will not support such, adding that if there is a party ready to take that route, it is the party in power in the state.
“That is totally false and no truth in such assertion. It is a matter of crying wolf. In fact, if there is someone who is intolerant to the opposition, anybody desirous of not allowing the citizens to find their political bearing, it is the intolerant government in Akwa Ibom State.
“This is a government that does not even allow opposition candidates in the APC to erect billboards in the state. It is the PDP government in Akwa Ibom that is using the apparatus of government against the APC and we shall resist it.”
He predicted that the PDP will not retain power in the state in 2019.
“All the political actors then who made the PDP have all left and 90 per cent are now in the APC. These were the people who usually make things happen. So do I need to tell you that there is no way PDP can win in Akwa Ibom. They don’t even have the men and resources. The only thing they have is the money that the governor is throwing around.”