…Delays President’s wife for 25 minutes
By Chioma Onuegbu, Uyo
The first official visit of the wife of the President, Aisha Muhammadu Buhari to Akwa Ibom State was Friday marred by a security breach allegedly caused by Senator Godswill Akpabio’s wife, Mrs Unoma Akpabio.
The President’s wife was in the state for the first time to flag off her project, Future Assured Programme, organised in collaboration with National Directorate of Employment (NDE) which saw the empowerment of 11,600 women and youths of the state drawn from the 31 local government areas of the state.
The drama occurred at the Victor Attah International Airport, Uyo when Mrs. Akpabio allegedly attempted to assume the responsibility of the wife of the Governor, Mrs. Martha Udom Emmanuel.
The action, it was gathered, prompted the protocol officers from the presidency to wade in.
It was gathered that while the door of the aircraft opened and the First Lady, Aisha Buhari was to alight from the aircraft, Mrs Akpabio suddenly stepped forward shoving aside Mrs. Martha Emmanuel in order to receive the President’s wife instead of Mrs Emmanuel.
This led to the door of the aircraft being shut while the President’s wife retreated and waited inside until the senator’s wife was persuaded to stop further attempts to ridicule the state by her actions.
However, when normalcy was restored after 25 minutes, the aircraft doors were opened once again as Mrs Buhari stepped down to a warm embrace of Mrs Emmanuel who introduced her to other Akwa Ibom women at the airport to receive her.
Meanwhile, some women who witnessed the drama at the airport expressed displeasure at the show of shame by Mrs Akpabio.
Those who spoke to journalists recounted that no former first lady in the state came to embarrass her throughout her tenure as first lady between 2007 and 2015, wondering why she forgot that her tenure expired in 2015.
“She received the wife of President Yaradua during her time, and also received Mrs. Patience Jonathan, no woman ever insulted her this way”, She lamented.
It had been speculated earlier that there was an attempt by the APC to disrupt the protocol during the visit of Mrs Buhari, to score cheap political gains.
Speaking at the empowerment event along Edet Akpan Avenue Uyo, Mrs.Aisha Buhari commended the NDE for their proactive approach towards the empowerment of Nigerians and charged participants to submit themselves to the training in order to become grounded in their area of training.
She said, “ You will recall that since the inception of this administration through Future Assured Programme we have empowered thousands of women and youths in the six geopolitical zones of this country in line with my pledge to contribute in reducing the level of poverty. This will ensure that women of Nigeria are self reliant”
In a remark former Senate Minority leader Chief Godswill Akpabio lauded Buhari for his transformative policies adding that many of them left the PDP because of the President’s transformative programme including introduction of social intervention programmes.
Akpabio commended the President for increasing the electricity capacity of the country, appointing many people from the state into positions of authority and assured the President that strategies have been put in place to ensure that the APC win with a landslide in all elections in the state next year.
Earlier, the governorship candidate of the APC, Obong Nsima Ekere commended the federal government for the priority attention it had given to poverty alleviation in the country, adding that change would come to Akwa Ibom with the anticipated victory of the APC from 2019.