Is Governor Akpabio Emotionally Fit for a Second-Term?


'If Ibibio people (not Akwa Ibom people) select another candidate to replace me, I will stop contesting for a second-term. But as long as it is Akpan Udoedehe, I will never withdraw. I would rather die than see that happen in this state. And I don't care who dies, either.' Governor Akpabio.

  The above quotation is said to be Akpabio's response to close advisers bold enough to tell him that the prognosis for his success in securing victory for his second-term ambition are not good. People may perceive the above quotation as offensive and unbelievable. But there is a truth to the statement; it is true that Akpabio would never have become a governor but for the majority votes that were cast by the Ibibio. Now that the Ibibio (as a group) feels that the governor has marginalized them, Akpabio is beginning to confront realities that without their (Ibibio) support, all that talk of winning a second term would amount to nothing but wishful thinking.

  The above statement also reveals the personality of a man who is very self-centered and who also places his self-interest above those of the people who elected him to govern them. It is only a leader who is morally bankrupt that would be ready to shed blood in order to hang-on to power. It is only a care-less and a selfish leader that would want to, at all cost, remain in power in the face of reality that says, hey governor, the masses say they don't want you any more as their leader. Whether he succeeds or not in his do-or-die quest for a second-term, the concern raised by those close to Akpabio is his state of mind. Many are worried that even if he wins, he may not emotionally be capable of completing a second term.

  Not too long ago, sources say Akpabio fainted and fell down at an airport and had to be flown abroad for medical treatment. And just last week, there were speculations that, he fainted (again) at the airport in Abuja . The paramedics had to be rushed in to help save his life. Those who have seen him lately are concerned about his weight loss and physically, he looks gaunt. Audience that watched his responses during a recent television appearance were surprised at how incoherent and un-focused the governor was when he tried to answer some of the questions posed to him by television hosts. For instance, one of the hosts asked what measures the governor has taken to curtail the spade of kidnappings in his state. The governor, rather than answer the question, began to count the number of roads he has constructed in Akwa Ibom State . It was very embarrassing for those (especially the indigenes of Akwa Ibom State) who watched the program on television, live!

  If the above worries are genuine reasons to suspect that Godswill Akpabio may not be emotionally ready for a second term, recent events can only confirm those worries. Sources say when information leaked out that one governor was needed from the South-South zone for inclusion in Goodluck Jonathan 's Presidential Campaign Committee, governor Akpabio spent millions and millions of naira as bribes in order to be the governor selected. In the end, in spite of all the people's money wasted by Akpabio, Governor Imoke of Cross River State ended up being the one selected; people say Imoke did not even spend a kobo. Sources say Akpabio was devastated when he was rejected by Jonathan's presidential personnel search-team. One source confided in me that Akpabio perceived the rejection as a sign that President Jonathan may be aligning with opposition to bamboozle him out of office. In order for the President to assure Akpabio that his failure to be in the President's Campaign Committee was not a personal issue, Jonathan's wife was immediately dispatched to Akwa Ibom for a state-visit because Jonathan was afraid that if Governor Akpabio feels slighted, he may reneged on his (Akpabio's) promise to help finance the campaign for the election of the president.

  When Akpabio announced that he would seek nomination for a second-term as the governor of Akwa Ibom State, those close to him say he was counting on the protection of Inspector General of Police, Ogbonna Onovo, and his Deputy for Zone 6, Mr. Udom Ekpoudom. With these two men on his side, Akpabio was sure of securing the election by manipulating the police to cart away ballot boxes to his favor. When rumors speculated that Akpabio's Commissioner for Works, Mr. Don Etim, had imported police uniforms and guns into the State, Akpabio felt unperturbed; as far as Onovo and Ekpoudom were in the NPF, Akpabio believed he would be protected from any criminal investigation and prosecution----at least that is what he assumed.

  But last week, Akpabio's wishes and assumptions went to the dust when one of his Personal Assistants woke him up from sleep to say that Ogbonna Onovo has been fired by Mr. President; a successor had been appointed. Mr. Ekpoudom has to go on retirement because the man who succeeds Onovo, Mr. Ringim, was a rank below Ekpoudom and within the police hierarchy, it is a taboo to bring up a junior officer to boss senior officers.

  On top of all the above-mentioned travesties is the fact that the PDP Chairman of Akwa Ibom State, Mr. Uwem Ita Etuk, was arrested, and is still in the custody of federal officials. Until the arrest of Mr. Ita Etuk, governor Akpabio was counting on him to use his chairmanship position to deliver Akwa Ibom State in his favor. Even before he was arrested, Mr. Etuk made several public statements to the effect that Akpabio would be the only PDP candidate for the governorship of Akwa Ibom State; no one else needs apply. Sources say Mr. Etuk's public endorsement of Governor Akpabio was one of the reasons the National Executive of PDP issued a statement warning all State Chairmen to stop endorsing candidates.

  Now, with Uwem Ita Etuk gone, the General Secretary of Akwa Ibom State branch of the PDP, Mr. Ibanga Akpabio (the governor's brother) is running the show. Sources say his relationship with the governor is strained; one source mentioned that in private, they rarely speak to one another. Those close to the administration say the reason for the strained relationship between governor Akpabio and his brother may not be unconnected with the arrest of Uwem Ita Etuk---we will hear more on this.

  To add to the pressure for Governor Akpabio is the fact that many of his Commissioners feel disconnected with the way the Government is being run. They complain that Akpabio is never in the State for consultation and whenever he stops by his office, it is almost impossible to have a meeting with him or sit with him for an important discussion regarding policies. As a result, sources say some of his Commissioners are looking for a way out---resign---from Akpabio's cabinet. But each time they tender their resignation notices, a threat would be sent to them in text messages, because influential members of the administration, such as Commissioner Don Etim (Works) and Bassey Albert (Finance) keep telling Akpabio that it will be a blow to the image of the Government if he allows any of his Cabinet members to leave the administration before the election.

  The least support Akpabio had from the public seemed to have evaporated earlier this month when the administration used the police to seal off and block the venue of a rally organized by the people of Akwa Ibom State for Akpan Udoedehe's return to the State, after his detention on the orders of Governor Akpabio. That single incident seems to be the proverbial last straw, which broke the Carmel's back. People feel that the leaders of such a vindictive government have to go, which means Akpabio must go.

  All these problems are enough to bring any human being down to a total nervous breakdown, which is probably what governor Akpabio is experiencing now. Akpabio's problems are also nurtured and promoted by those who don't give a damn about his health, his well-being, and his person, other than their own self-interest. His biggest problem seems to be his brothers----Emem Akpabio, Aniedi Akpabio, Prince Ukpong Akpabio, Ibanga Akpabio, and Nsentip Akpabio. These men have so much devastated Akwa Ibom State and have hijacked the administration to the point of total collapse.

  Unless the masses stand up on their feet to rescue Akwa Ibom State, the actions and behaviors of Akpabio's brothers during the upcoming gubernatorial election in the State may result in a request for the federal government to declare the State of Emergency in Akwa Ibom State. Sources say their combined net worth in assets are over N200 billion, acquired through illegal contract shacking, contract inflation, laundering, and outright theft of public funds.

  To some, this may not sound like a lot of money, but when one considers that within the last three and one-half years, Akwa Ibom State has received a little more than N1.5 trillion in both oil allocation and internally generated revenue, then it would be easy to figure out what percentage of the people's money has been stolen by Akpabio's brothers. And the reason, in fact the only reason, they are ready to kill in order for Godswill to stay in power is so that they can continue to steal. For them, it does not matter if Godswill lives or die, as far as he hangs in there as a governor, long enough to allow them to continue stealing money that belongs to the people of Akwa Ibom State. No matter how one looks at it, such behaviors are not right and ought to be condemned.

  Written by Thompson Essien The Voice of the Poor Masses Defender of the Oppressed Social Critic A native of Ibibio nation of Ubium Republic extraction, now living in the safe and beautiful city of Portland, Oregon, where no AKPF, ADUMA, ADV, and Akwa Ibom State politicians can reach.