By Chioma Onuegbu & Harris-Okon Emmanuel
Uyo —The stakes in Akwa Ibom State were raised yesterday after Governor Udom Emmanuel waved aside threats from his predecessor, Senator Godswill Akpabio, to give his intention for a second term even as he flayed Akpabio for not building a single industry in the state.
Governor Emmanuel’s assertion was in response to an earlier claim by Senator Akpabio that the imposition of Emmanuel as governor in 2015 was a mistake.
Speaking to supporters late on Sunday, Akpabio had said: “Udom (Emmanuel) is a mistake that must be corrected in 2019. All hands must be on deck to ensure that the mistake is corrected for a people-oriented leadership under the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, at the centre.”
Responding, yesterday, the state Commissioner for Information, Mr. Charles Udoh in a statement accused Akpabio of mortgaging his conscience and now trying to deceive the people of the state.
“I doubt if there is any first term governor in Nigeria that has recorded the achievements recorded by Governor Emmanuel.
“Akpabio spent eight years as commissioner under Obong Attah; spent eight years as governor at the height of the state’s income receipts from the federal level, yet he couldn’t complete Uyo-Ikot Ekpene Road (the road to his village) despite appropriating almost all the sums budgeted for it.”
“Akpabio also commissioned an uncompleted building with rented furniture and fittings and called it Four Points Sheraton Hotel. Governor Emmanuel has as at today facilitated the setting up of more than nine industries in just three years; Emmanuel spent eight years with zero industry
“It’s unfortunate that Akpabio has mortgaged his conscience and is now attempting to deceive Akwa Ibom people. Akwa Ibom people are wiser.”
Governor Emmanuel, who will make a formal declaration for a second term on Friday, had at the Onna Sports Stadium, his hometown while addressing a rally organised in his honour by stakeholders of the Eket senatorial district (Akwa Ibom South) yesterday, challenged those speaking ill of his administration to challenge him to a debate, adding that he was prepared to spend his personal resources to hire International, national and local media to present facts during the debate.
“I want to thank all of you for this endorsement. It means a whole lot for me. I want to say if you are in this arena today, it means you have endorsed me for a second term. And because you have endorsed me, I will declare to run on Friday.”
The rally was marked with the defection from the All Progressives Congress, APC to the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP of 10 chieftains of the APC including the factional state Chairman of the party and a former governorship aspirant Dr. Bob Udoma Ekarika.
Also among the defectors was Sunny Udom DG of Umana Okon Umana 2015 Campaign Organisation, the Deputy Chairman of the APC in the state among others.