Akwa Ibom ACN candidate, Udoedehe dumped!
In what looks like the final nailing of the political coffin of the governorship ambition of Senator John James Akpanudoedehe, on the platform of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), the largest ethnic group in Akwa Ibom State, the Ibibio, during the week disowned him and dissociated itself from the ambition of the former junior minister over his alleged divisive actions and utterances.
At a meeting recently at the palace of Ntisong Ibibio, the Akwa Esop Imaisong
Ibibio, the umbrella association comprising traditional rulers, elders, leaders and stakeholders in Ibibioland, suspended Udoedehe's campaign manager, Obong Thomas Akpan, for allegedly sponsoring some incisive and divisive publications in some local newspapers.
Akpan and his principal were accused by the organization of “preaching ethnic division in Akwa Ibom State in the name of campaigning for votes, instead of espousing his manifestoes and programmes”.
One of the offending publications had quoted Ntisong Essien Udo Ekidem III, the leader of the group as saying “that Ibibio people had been used for sacrifice in the past three years by the Akpabio administration; hence the Ibibios should not vote a non-Ibibio”.
Members of the Esop were said to have unanimously reaffirmed support for Governor Akpabio, based on what they described as “his unprecedented and uncommon transformation both in Ibibioland and the entire state”.
Reiterating the stance of the Ibibios, the Patriarch of the Esop, Ntisong Ekidem, in a press release, dissociated himself and the entire Esop from Udoedehe's incisive and divisive utterances and publications, saying“ I completely dissociate myself and the Akwa Esop Imaisong Ibibio from the said publication as they are ill-conceived, malicious, irresponsible, false, reckless and highly embarrassing to me, the membership of Akwa Esop Imaisong Ibibio and indeed the entire Ibibio race. The said publication is intended to cause disaffection among the entire Ibibio race, the government and our sister ethnic groups in the state”, Ekidem said.
Ntisong Ekidem described them “desperate political wolves who are always craving for the slightest opportunity to foment trouble in the state” advising the peace loving and good people of Akwa Ibom and residents to consign it to the dust-bin of negativism.
“It must be stressed that I, the membership of Akwa Esop Imaisong Ibibio and indeed, the entire Ibibio race are satisfied with the excellent performance of the administration of Chief Godswill Obot Akpabio, which can be seen in the fair and equitable distribution of projects and appointments in the State. It was for this reason that the Ibibio race unanimously endorsed him for a second term at Asan
Ibibio on October 10, 2009.
It must be stressed that as credible leaders of Ibibioland, we are not given to double speak. Thus, I wish to once again declare for the avoidance of doubt that, 'on Asan Ibibio declaration we stand'”, he added
The Ntisong said they have noted the current security challenges in the state and that “Akwa Esop Imaisong Ibibio is satisfied with the measures the State Government has so far taken and urges all Akwa Ibom persons to cooperate with the state government to ensure that the criminals are made to face the full weight of the law”.
Akwa Esop wishes to warn mischief makers who are in the habit of using a crime committed in the state as a political weapon to divide the state along tribal lines and fan embers of disunity, discord and acrimony to desist forthwith”, the release said.
With the massive show of solidarity from the Ibibios, the April election may well be a work over for Governor Akpabio, despite attempts by his opponents to stop him through discrediting his government.
It was also learnt that the leadership of the largest ethnic group in the state decided to reaffirm its support for the second term ambition of Governor Akpabio based on the fact that it was not yet the turn of Uyo Senatorial district to produce the next governor having served out its eight year tenure through Obong
Victor Attah and it was therefore normal and in the spirit of fairness and equal right that Ikot Ekpene district be allowed to complete its eight year tenure through the incumbent governor.