Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has stressed the need for Akwa Ibom State, which is presently governed by the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). to belong to mainstream national politics controlled by the All Progressives Congress (APC).
He gave the admonition on Friday while addressing a campaign rally of the APC at Odot in Nsit Atai Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State.
“Akwa Ibom State should not be in opposition. There is no reason. There is every reason for you to join the Federal Government so that you can be part of the next level,” he said.
The Vice President admonished Akwa Ibom youths against voting for the PDP which, according to him, belonged to the past.
He used the opportunity to publicly endorse the APC Governorship Candidate of the in Akwa Ibom State, Obong Nsima Ekere, calling him the dynamic incoming Governor.
The endorsement put paid to hopes of some of top Akwa Ibom State government officials who were said to be banking their hopes on re-election on a possible deal with The Presidency in which the Governor would support President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice President Osinbajo in the February 16, 2019 election in return for The Presidency’s support for the Governor who belongs to the PDP.
The first sign of things to come was at the airport reception when Governor Emmanuel, who enthusiastically welcomed Vice President Osinbajo twice in 2017, stayed away, sending his Secretary to the State Government, Dr Emmanuel Ekuwem to represent him.
The Vice President, accompanied by Obong Ekere, Senator Godswill Akpabio and other APC leaders drove straight from the airport to nearby Nsit Atai for the APC campaign rally.
At the rally, Prof Osinbajo called out Obong Ekere, saying, “This is Dr Nsima Ekere, the dynamic incoming Governor.”
He saluted other Akwa Ibom APC leaders like Senator Akpabio, Senator Ita Enang, Atuekong Don Etiebet, Mr Umana Umana and Senator John Udoedehe.
Prof Osinbajo spoke on the Federal Government social intervention programmes, announcing that the Government would soon establish Entrepreneur Bank to give low-interest loans to youths with plans to start businesses.
In his remarks, Obong Ekere spoke on his five Pillars of Change, as contained in his manifesto, listing them as economic prosperity, infrastructural and rural development, education, health and social protection, security, governance and institutional reforms.
He promised that his government will invest heavily in agriculture especially oil palm which, he said, would soon replace petroleum as Nigeria’s number one revenue earner.
“One barrel of palm oil is more expensive today than one barrel of petroleum. So, Akwa Ibom is getting ready to take care of the Nigerian economy using our agricultural endowment. Please tell Mr President that you have found a people resolute in Akwa Ibom State ready to sustain the Nigerian economy through oil palm once the price of petroleum reduces,” he said.
Senator Akpabio seemed to refer to the dashed hopes of Akwa Ibom PDP when he told the Vice President: “From today, nobody can come to Abuja to deceive you.”