By Chioma Onuegbu
The Minister of Niger Delta Affairs ministry, Senator Godswill Akpabio, has assured the All Progressive Congress APC in Akwa Ibom State that, he has no ‘anointed’ governorship candidate for the party come 2023 general elections.
He gave the assurance during the inauguration of the leadership of a political pressure group, Akwa Ibom Democratic Forum (ADF), Uyo Senatorial District chapter, in Uyo weekend.
He said his goal is to work with like-minded associates in Uyo Senatorial District (USD) and nominate a suitable candidate that would win the election, stressing ” I have no particular person in mind, and I cannot repeat the mistake I made in 2015.
‘’Akwa Ibom people of various political persuasions do agree that we need a dependable leadership in 2023. I will work with all of you to identify and support any candidate that will develop our state.
‘’Uyo Senatorial District is capable of bringing up good a good candidate that would be acceptable to the rest of the state. ADF will work with Uyo in this regard’’,
The Minister’s reaction may not be unconnected with insinuations by a cross section of the APC in the state that, the Minister has been shopping for candidate from Uyo senatorial district to present to the party as its candidate for governorship position.
The rumour is so rife that, some party members are arguing that, the Senator cannot be a leader of the party in the state as others alleged that, he was playing anti-party by going outside the APC family to shop for governorship candidate for the party in 2023.
However, at the inauguration of ADF a political pressure group where the former governor is midwifing, he vowed that, he has no such plans for the party, but as respectable party member within and outside the state, he was ready to follow due processes for the emergence of the party flag bearer in 2023.
It would be recalled that, Akwa Ibom since 1999 has respected zoning the governorship position to the three senatorial districts. Such arrangements in 1999 resulted in Obong Victor Attah, from Uyo senatorial district becoming governor from 1999-2007, then was the turn of Ikot Ekpene senatorial district, where Senator Godswill Akpabio took his turn from 2007-2015; it went to Eket senatorial district, where the incumbent governor, Udom Emmanuel would finish in 2023.
By the zoning arrangement in the state, the next governor should come from Uyo Senatorial District (officially known as Akwa Ibom North East). Akpabio is from Akwa Ibom North West (or Ikot Ekpene senatorial District).
In the last few months, the former governor has been busy creating a political pressure group known as Akwa Ibom Democratic Forum in the state, thus triggering impressions that the group is his special purpose vehicle through which his anointed candidate would emerge.