Akpabio, Akpanudoedehe Campaign Teams In Power Tussle
UYO, March 16, (THEWILL) - The campaign convoy of the incumbent Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Chief Godswill Akpabio was yesterday held to ransom as some broom-wielding youths of the ACN, who were also on a campaign tour with their governorship candidate, Senator John James Akpanudoedehe took over the road.
There have been incessant clashes between the campaign teams of the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) in Akwa Ibom State in the ongoing electioneering campaign.
THEWILL correspondent who witnessed the incident, reports that the governor and his team were heading to Onna and Eket to continue their state wide campaign rally when they drove into the ACN team along Abak Road close, near Udoedehe’s residence, but the supporters of the ACN candidate refused to allow the Governor’s convoy passage despite its loud siren.
The blockade could have set the stage for a clash between Akpabio’s security detail and his main rival’s supporters, as the broom-waving ACN supporters stood their ground having completely taken over one side of the road, blocking onward vehicular traffic in the process.
When it became obvious that the ACN youths would not allow free flow of traffic, the governor’s convoy bypassed the challenge by changing its driving lane, and continued on its journey to Onna and Eket, a move that averted what may have resulted in a deadly clash.
An aide of the governor, who commented on the issue, condemned the action of the ACN supporters and expressed the hope that their leaders would call them to order so as to avoid a possible recurrence.
According to him, the action was an utter display of disrespect to the incumbent who remains the governor of the state at least till May 29th 2011.
Also, a chieftain of ACN’s Positive Change 2011 Organization, Hon. Innocent John, denied that the intention of the ACN youths was to disrupt the governor’s convoy.
Recall that three persons were reportedly killed and several others wounded following an earlier clash between the supporters of both parties in Okoita, and Abat Etim Ekpo Ward 1 in Ibiono Ibom and Etim Ekpo local government areas respectively last weekend.
Commissioner for Housing and Urban Renewal, Mr. Emmanuel Enoidem who hails from Etim Ekpo had blamed the incident on Dr. Ime Umanah, the ACN deputy governorship candidate, saying he was the mastermind of the attack.
“We all know Dr. Ime Umanah as a violent person, so he mobilized his boys in several buses from Abak where he comes from to come and attack our supporters in Etim Ekpo. He has always played the opposition but I know that PDP will match him money for money and votes for votes,” Eno Idem had stated.
In Okoita, the headquarters of Ibiono-Ibom, our checks revealed that the supporters of the PDP had ambushed ACN members who were on a campaign tour of the area and started shooting sporadically into the convoy.
An eyewitness told THEWILL that the ACN supporters responded with its own firepower and at the end, three persons were killed while many others received wounds from both guns and machetes.
The youths who went on rampage had destroyed the local office of GODSWILL AKPABIO 2011 Campaign secretariat in Ibiono Ibom and pulled down several campaign billboards of the governor.
Meanwhile, members of ACN had a day earlier complained of the destruction of the campaign billboards of its governorship candidate, Senator John Akpanudodeghe in Itu local government area and some other places by the PDP supporters there.
The ACN publicity secretary, Mr. Thomas Akpan who responded to THEWILL’s inquiry stated that Ime Umana had no hand in the violence saying, “The whole thing was a plotted attempt by PDP to destabilize the ACN rally but was successfully resisted by the ACN loyalists.”
When the State Police Commissioner, Mr. Sani Magaji was contacted, he confirmed there was clash but said it no lives were lost.