Editor's note: Public affairs commentator, Michael Asanga, writes on the treatment meted out to politicians loyal to the former governor of Akwa Ibom state, Obong Godswill Akpabio, by their new party - the All Progressives Congress (APC).
For four of Senator Godswill Akpabio's strong supporters, the excitement of defecting to the All Progressives Congress, APC, with their mentor, is ebbing away leaving behind sobering reality of making a bad decision.
Without doubt, leaving the PDP by the four Akpabio loyalists namely, Hon. Emmanuel Ekon, member representing Abak/Etim Ekpo/Ika federal constituency; Hon. Emmanuel Akpan, member representing Essien Udim/ Ikot Ekpene/ Obot Akara federal constituency; Hon. Nse Ntuen, member representing Essien Udim state constituency and Mr. Victor Antai, former commissioner for culture and tourism, and signing on for the uncommon defection was rash if not thoughtless.
There is no second guessing the fact that any of these fellows could stand a chance at attaining great heights if they had stayed back nonetheless, their exit from the Peoples Democratic Party was good riddance to bad rubbish.
Victor Antai's case is most pathetic, considering all the pecks of office and support he enjoyed from his former boss, Governor Udom Emmanuel, and the promise of a great future in a solidly established political party. He threw all that away for a flimsy promise of the Senate ticket without sitting down to study the APC constitution and ask if its waiver policy would favour him.
He jumped before looking. Today, Antai has attracted the wrath of his people for selling himself so cheap. Even the federal house ticket he settled for is tied up in a bloody controversy following violent rejection of his candidacy because of the Akpabio factor. Much like Esau, whose immediate urge overshadowed his reasoning, Victor Antai betrayed his entire generation for a plate of beans. Evidently, in his characteristic manner, Antai may have refused to seek wise counsel from any elder in Oro, who would have certainly cautioned him against Senator Akpabio.
Antai was not more loyal to Akpabio than Rt. Hon. Onofiok Luke, Mr. Enobong Uwah or even Akpabio's nephew, Prince Ukpong Akpabio, who turned down the directive to jump ship into shark infested water. Well, his fall serves as a lesson to others to know where loyalty begins and where it should end.
Hon. Nse Effiong Ntuen:
Hon. Nse Effiong Ntuen could have been another sad tragedy if Senator Akpabio had not reportedly intervened.
Ironically, the greatest challenge to Ntuen's return is his crass ignorance of legislative responsibilities and inaccessibility to his constituency. He will have to face the PDP standard bearer, Ease Umoh, who has the blessing of the people.
Rt. Hon. Emmanuel Akpan:
In the case of Rt. Hon. Emmanuel Akpan, his quest to clinch the reps ticket for the third time was illogical and unmerited. Some say it was this realization that he would not get a ticket in PDP that made him jump at the mention of defection to APC.
Funny enough, even in APC there is consideration for antecedence and delivery. Incidentally, Hon. Patty Etete Inemeh, former member representing Ikot Ekpene, Essien Udim, Obot Akara federal constituency, emerged winner of the APC House of Representatives primary for Ikot Ekpene federal constituency.
The man, the supposed 'almighty' Akpabio does not want to see breathe, pulled a total of 11,559 to Hon Akpan's 3,995 beating the current occupant of the office, in all three local government areas. In Ikot Ekpene, his hometown, Patty pulled a total of 3,903 from the 11 wards of the area to Akpan's 599. In Essien Udim, Emmanuel Akpan got 2,505 compared to Patty's 5,758 while Obot Akara saw Patty scoring 1,938 to Akpan's 891.
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Rt. Hon. Emmanuel Ekon:
Similar to Akpan's predicament, Rt. Hon. Emmanuel Ekon was roundedly defeated by Hon. Uwem Udoma, who clinched APC Abak, Etim Ekpo, Ika federal constituency ticket. Right from onset, Ekon had received signals from his constituency not to re-contest for third term, but he refused to heed these warnings and chose to put his faith in Sen. Akpabio.
Eventually, Hon. Udoma, a former deputy speaker of the Akwa Ibom state House of Assembly, proved to be too strong for the Akpabio-Ekon tag team. He defeated the two term lawmaker, Hon Emmanuel Ekon to emerge the party's flag-bearer for the party. He scored a total of 15,665, shaming Ekon, who went hone with consolatory 481 votes from the three local government areas.
Udoma flogged Ekon in his native Etim Ekpo LGA, pulling a total of 3,129 to Ekon's 283. In Abak, Udoma's hometown, he scored 7,439 while Hon Ekon went home with 55. In Ika local government area, Udoma scored 5,097, while Ekon got 143 votes.
In all these, one can rightly infer that the touted Senator Godswill Akpabio's political reach is overstated. There is no doubt that he has remarkable influence in the state polity, but from results of federal and state houses of assemblies, the misconception that he still rules the state's political space is evidently an exaggeration.
The question now is: if Akpabio couldn't help his loyal boys scale through party primaries even within Ikot Ekpene senatorial district, how will he install a governor in Akwa Ibom state?
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