By Harris-Okon Emmanuel
These may indeed the best of times for former Governor Godswill Akpabio and his successor and political godson, Udom Emmanuel as their alliance is once again at play. The two leaders are enjoying the best of relationship, so to speak.
The relationship almost turned sour last December when Senator Akpabio at the get together for the chieftains of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), publicly accused the governor of neglecting his area, the Akwa Ibom North-West Senatorial District in the scheme of things.
Referring to the governor, he said: “it is less than one year to the election, all is not well, don’t allow anybody to deceive you that all is well”, and went ahead to accuse him of below par performances in the district.
Governor Emmanuel who is not known to have publicly criticised his political godfather in the nearest thing to a reaction was said to have expressed shock at the “emerging political theory whereby excellence is sacrificed on the altar of mediocrity”.
Governor Emmanuel perhaps in reference to the desperate attempt by the many political troublemakers in the state to divide him and Akpabio said he was aware that people would try to “change the narrative in order to score cheap political points” because 2019 election was around the corner.
From all indications, the duo have since buried the hatchet and renewed the symbiotic bond that tie them together or so it seems. It is obvious these days to see them in public functions cozying up and exchanging hearty banters and Senator Akpabio has been saying kind words about his Governor Emmanuel in public.
The governor’s seeming loyalty was perhaps not lost on Akpabio whose joint endorsement with Emmanuel by the Ikot Ekpene Senatorial District last Monday was an anchor to the string of endorsements the governor’s second term has received in the last one year.
Before last Monday, the former governor had at a reception and endorsement rally organized by Akpabio’s kinsmen under the aegis of Abak 5 in March, expressed that he was overwhelmed by the show of support for his successor and intermittently sang while giving his response.
“I came as a witness to see the mammoth crowd that appreciates what God has done in Akwa Ibom State under the leadership of Mr Udom Emmanuel,” he said at that time.
Before then, the former governor had at a rally last May organised by Uyo Senatorial District and reception had appreciated the efforts of his handpicked successor.
At that rally Akpabio had lavished him with encomiums, praising him for his satisfactory performance which he said would stand him in good stead when the chips are down
According to him, the governor is a good product to market and gave the assurance that Ikot Ekpene senatorial district would give bloc votes to the incumbent to continue in office beyond 2019 an even urged him to institute award for the senatorial zone that would give him the highest electoral votes in 2019.
Describing the governor as a unifying factor, he harped on the need for unity, saying, ‘’we need unity to make progress because it is only through peace that the government can perform. There is no other party except the PDP”.
His words, “Ikot Ekpene senatorial district is challenging Uyo senatorial district with their votes. You must go out there and vote. Don’t assume that there is no other political party in Akwa Ibom State except PDP.
”In Ikot Ekpene senatorial district we are coming with bloc votes. His Excellency you must institute a prize for the senatorial district that gives you the highest number of votes. I will not leave without giving youths advice. The advice I want to give is that the Governor of Akwa Ibom state is very determined to ensure the unity of the three senatorial districts. Let no politician try to put you asunder.
”We must continue to remain united in this state, we must continue to love ourselves; we must not allow people within us or those coming in to come and cause division through ethnicity, through tribalism so that we can progress. It is only through peace that government can achieve development”
In another affirmation exercise hosted this time by the people of Ikot Ekpene Senatorial District on July 16, Akpabio’s kinsmen were very effusive in their praise of the governor’s sterling performances in just three years in the saddle of governance.
They exemplified what Plato, the ancient political philosopher meant by ‘giving to each man his rightful dues in the society’, stressing that the governor best represents the interest, values and aspiration of the district.
Speaker after speaker reeled out Gov. Emmanuel achievements to buttress their reasons why he complete two terms in office like his predecessors in Uyo and Ikot Ekpene Senatorial Districts.
Akpabio – who himself was also given endorsement to return to the Senate for the second term in 2019 – said the grand reception was not a moment of long speeches, as such, he said “I’ve heard all that you said. The summary is that one good term deserves another.”