FORMER FRIENDS AT WAR IN AKWA IBOM
The big four political parties to look out for are, the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, the Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, the All Nigeria Peoples Party, ANPP, and the Congress for Progressive Change, CPC.
Amongst the big four scrambling for the political soul of the state, non seems to have the slightest harmony with the other, the language appears to be that of ethnic divide and the song by this time is completely a war song, even as the State boast of the highest number of churches.
The contenders themselves are very ambitious persons, ready to bury rather than praise, and to exhume all the wrong doings of the other contenders, including the ones not committed even by their relations that died before they were born.
Governor Godswill Akpabio is the PDP flag bearer in the state who was born in Ukana Ikot Ntuen of Essien Udium on the 9th of December, 1962. He was appointed Commissioner in the state in the Victor Attah administration, where he served till 2006 when he contested and won the governorship election, taking office as third civilian governor of Akwa Ibom State.
Having run on the platform of the P.D.P. Akpabio is moved by the overwhelming people's mandate and a vision which subsequently developed into a-9 point agenda to develop and re-brand and re_position the state through various programmes.
Senator Akpan James Udoedehe is the flag bearer of the ACN and indeed Akpabio's most serious headache possibly for the past one year.
Udoedehe's aspiration came as a surprise to many considering the relationship that had existed between him and the governor. Udoedehe was the campaign manager for Akpabio in 2007 and did so despite the intentions of the former governor, Obong Victor Attah who was against Akpabio at that time.
Whatever happened to rupture that relationship remains a whisper in the state, though issues of ego and rivalry are not far fetched.
ACN only started being popular in the state when the former Minister was arrested in connection with the murder of a PDP stalwart Paul Inyang, who was killed in the church in Mbierebe in Ibesikpo Asutan Local Government Area of the former governor.
The arrest sparked up some feeling of persecution, and evoked public sympathy for the Udoedehe especially among his fellow Ibibios who constitute the largest ethnic block in in the State.
ACN indeed is expected to make some impact in the gubernatorial election of today, but given the commanding lead of the PDP in the previous elections this month, it would be a major surprise for the party to edge out the PDP's Akpabio who is strong on ground.
Indeed what has even diminished Akpabio's popularity despite what he has done is the fact that most of his aides, including even the Commissioners whom the governor believes in, do not really have that touch with the grassroots.
So, what can also help the ACN are the protest votes to express bitterness against the people in government who are not touching the lives of the people, and this would be reflected in the votes of some local governments areas.
But the recent arrest and trial of the ACN candidate has also worked to his greatest advantage, and would also make his party curry favour and votes.