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 in 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 on Saturday.
“My goal is to work with like-minded associates in Uyo Senatorial District (USD) and nominate a suitable candidate that would win the election. I have no particular person in mind, and I cannot repeat the mistake I made in 2015’’.
The Minister’s reaction may not be unconnected with insinuations by a cross section of the APC in the state that he has been shopping for candidate from Uyo senatorial district to present to the party as its candidate for governorship position.
The rumour is so widespread 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 fold 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 nurturing, he reiterated that he has no such plans for the party, but as a respectable party member within and outside the state, he was ready to follow due process for the emergence of the party flag bearer in 2023.
It would be recalled that Akwa Ibom since 1999 has been zoning the governorship position among the three senatorial districts. Such arrangement 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. Then it would return to Uyo senatorial district to produce governor in 2023.
This trend of rotating the position of the chief executive of the state among the three senatorial blocks have not been disrupted since 1999 and is a compass for all the parties having footprints in the state.
Dispelling the insinuations of his trying to impose candidate on the party, Senator Akpabio said, ‘’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 a good candidate that would be acceptable to the rest of the state. ADF will work with Uyo in this regard’’, he said.
Corroborating, a one-time military governor of Ogun and Rivers State, Sam Ewang rtd., confirmed that he has had several heart-to-heart discussions with Akpabio on the 2023 politics and he is certain that the minister ‘’will not impose any candidate on Uyo’’.
Party faithful’s at the ceremony were, Sam Enwang, Dr. Maurice Ebong, Dr. Emaeyak Ukpong; Chief Etim Edem Akpaudo, Mrs Valerie Ebe, Mrs Geraldine Ita Etuk, Bishop Ekpe James among many others.