2015: Akpabio’s Exco Endorsement: The Humiliation of Udom Emmanuel

3 Mar

2015: Akpabio’s Exco Endorsement: The Humiliation of Udom Emmanuel

The much hyped Akpabio’s support for his SSG, Mr. Udom Emmanuel suffered a major setback on Monday, February 24, 2015 when Akpabio’s bid to rubber stamp his anointing in the State Exco hit the rock. A very dependable source in the state executive council told Weekend Insight that the governor had in a well rehearsed action plan, prompted Mr. Don Etim, his commissioner for Works to arrange for the cabinet to make a formal endorsement of Udom as the sole candidate of his government for the position.
The state Executive Council after their deliberations settled for three, instead of the preferred wholesale endorsement for Udom. The three that scaled the huddle include Udom Emmanuel, Effiong Abia and Ekpenyong Ntekim. All the commissioners and Special Advisers to the Governor signed the endorsement document, with the exception of Mr. Bassey Albert, the commissioner for Finance, said to be also interested in the governorship position. Our source said that Mr. Bassey Albert Akpan failed to make it to the venue of the meeting, thus ensuring that he withstood the likely pressure on him to endorse the document.
Soon after the idea of endorsement leaked to members, those not in support of the SSG were said to have gone to work to scuttle the arrangement. Cashing in on the rift between Akpabio’s relation, Mr. Emem Akpabio and the SSG, those opposed to Udom made a frantic effort to align with Emem Akpabio, who moved swiftly.
Major Annang leaders, especially the traditional institutions were contacted and they came up with the reason why an Ibibio would not be the right choice at the moment. The leadership of Ati-Annang, Nto Afe Annang, were mobilized to pile pressure on the governor to ensure that an Oron Man emerges. They cautioned Akpabio on the need to ensure that the Annang ethnic group moves as a block to support an Oron in the collective interest of the minorities in the state. They insisted that an Ibibio would not ensure the type of equity that is being propagated at the moment, adding that their best interest would be served by an Oron candidature, which would ensure that all the major ethnic groups in the state had tasted power. They reasoned further that a minority rule would further ensure that ethnic equality is maintained in the state, which would in turn ensure that when next power moves back to Ikot Ekpene, there would be no agitation for the Ibibios of Ikono/Ini to upstage them.
Their argument sounded good to an Akpabio that was already confused on the growing discontent about the marketability of Udom Emmanuel, whom many consider as an outsider in the political scene.
Our source pointed out that the resolve of the governor on Udom had been weakened over time. He noted that despite the attempt of the SSG to put words into the mouth of Akpabio at his thanksgiving service at ONNA when the governor was about to make his speech, the governor took his time to evade the prompt. He said that Akpabio was merely reacting to the unfavourable repot coming from the field among those already appointed to sell the SSG in the various local government areas.
Our source, who craved for anonymity equally drew Weekend Insight’s attention to the recent PDP award ceremony in Ukana, where it took the crowd shouting for Udom to make his speech, before the SSG was recognized to speak. He said that the Akpabio Family had already lost interest in Udom, and that accounted for the cold war between the man and Sir Emem Akpabio. He further revealed that Udom himself was already getting fed up with the whole political play. He was said to have complained to close associates of the amount of money already being spent on the project, without the promised assistance from the state.
Akpabio’s latest move has continued to generate interest in the polity. Some question the propriety of cabinet members signing endorsement for people still serving in government, when last year the governor told the world that he sacked his former SSG because “he was defending the constitution” against declaration by serving cabinet members.

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