Amid plans by the former governor of Akwa Ibom State and Senate minority leader, Godswill Akpabio to defect to the All Progressives Congress (APC), Governor Udoh Emmanuel said the state wishes the former governor well.
Emmanuel, who said his future political career lies in the hands of God and not any human being, wished Akpabio well in his political decision.
The governor, who spoke through one of his aides yesterday said he would not be swayed by the defection, saying Akpabio has in recent times been a clog in the wheel of progress of his administration.
“We are not surprised at Akpabio’s move; we are happy that he is leaving the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) for any party he likes. We wish him well in his political decision. It is even our joy that he is leaving because he has in recent time become a thorn in the flesh of Governor Emmanuel”.
“May be you don’t know, Akpabio has not been in good term with Emmanuel for reasons best known to him. Although he has been denying that all was well with them in public, the duo has for long fallen apart.”
Asked if Emmanuel could win the next governorship ticket in the state without Akpabio, the aide said: “Power belongs to God and not in any human being as many people want to believe. Wait and see, you will be surprised how things would turn out. I am sure Emmanuel will return to office without Akpabio.”
Meanwhile, the Deputy Governor, Moses Ekpo and the Leader of the House of Assembly, Udo Akpan, have denied the purported defection from PDP to APC with Akpabio.
This was as the Assembly members yesterday led by the Speaker Onofiok Luke paid a solidarity visit to Governor Udom Emmanuel, to reassure him of their support and earlier commitment to stand by him in his second term re-election bid.
Both Ekpo and Akpan were among top politicians rumoured to top the list of persons who will be defecting from the PDP alongside Akpabio in a ceremony planned for tomorrow at the Ikot Ekpene Township Stadium.
The duo reacted by saying there was no iota of truth in the report as they have no reason whatsoever to jump ship. Reacting through a statement signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Ekikere Umoh, the deputy governor renounced the reports, saying there was no iota of truth in it.
He said in the statement, that his office was constrained to categorically deny the report given the temperament of the times and the implications of such innuendos.
“The purported report is, therefore, nothing but a poorly concocted piece of a malicious hatchet job and a pack of lies, and should be appropriately ignored.
“It is instructive to note that currently, the deputy governor is representing Governor Emmanuel as special guest of honour at the 2018 International Convention of Ati-Annang holding in New York, United States of America, and is yet to return to the state,” he said in the statement.
The deputy governor is said to have reacted to his resignation rumour on phone from New York on Monday, thus; “I have not resigned. I have no reason whatsoever to resign or jump ship from a government that is both responsive and performing optimally, while giving practical meaning to democratic dividends for the people of Akwa Ibom. I cannot, and will not jump ship.”
Ekpo is said to have called on Akwa Ibom people, both at home and in the diaspora, as well as the PDP family in the state to remain resolute and committed to support Emmanuel, to take Akwa Ibom to the next level.
Similarly Akpan, the House Leader, who incidentally is the president of the socio-cultural organisation Ati-Annang, also reacted from New York; this time via a Whatsapp chat he titled: “I stand with Udom for second term.”
Akpan in the post said: “Tell Akwa Ibom People that I’m not leaving PDP for any reason. I stand with Udom for a second term.”
The House leader representing Oruk Anam State Constituency said he would, on arrival in Nigeria, announced his position for the whole world to know the truth.
For now, all is set for the much-touted defection by Akpabio tomorrow, as announced by President Muhammadu Buhari’s Adviser on National Assembly (Senate) Matters, Ita Enang.