For three and a half years, Udom Emmanuel’s political profile has notoriously evolved. His government is controversial, dishonest, unaccountable, incompetent, youth unfriendly, sectional, disconnected and discredited. In as many years, Akwa Ibomites have tolerated him all because of one man – Senator Godswill Akpabio.
Ironically, this one man who picked Udom Emmanuel from the political void, dusted, groomed and sponsored a greenhorn to become the Akwa Ibom State governor is being betrayed, insulted and humiliated by his prodigal ward. Udom Emmanuel, who spares no resource in waging a war against his mentor, is more interested in winning the war than in doing good for the Akwa Ibom people.
Political leadership demands that Udom Emmanuel must be his own man. Akwa Ibomites, including Sen. Godswill Akpabio, want Udom Emmanuel to be his own man. But, so far he is not because he is slow in learning. As governor, he lacks gravitas, he is not politically mature and has no passable structure with which to estabish a solid political identity and become his own man. What (leadership gravitas) Godswill Akpabio earned through sheer charisma and hard work, Udom Emmanuel believes he can achieve through the backdoor of deception, dubious wars and propaganda.
Instead of working hard to improve upon his weaknesses, Udom Emmanuel imagines that Sen. Akpabio is the problem and that the only way to surmount is to bring down his benefactor whose political clout and performance record are intimidating. So, Sen. Godswill Akpabio was made the main target of a cold war sponsored and sustained by Udom Emmanuel.
To sustain the war, Onna warlords and other close aides to the governor craftily deploy humiliation, bridge burning, betrayals and insults as arsenals against the former governor. Operating under the cover of a make believe good relationship between their boss and his predecessor, Udom Emmanuel’s close aides go wild with plots and dirty schemes to sustain the cold war. With childish exuberance and having Udom Emmanuel’s tacit approval, they launch sneaky fights against the former governor, Sen. Godswill Akpabio.
*The Cold War*
Politically considering, the cold war was started for no reason than to throw Sen. Akpabio under the bus. It started barely a couple of weeks after Udom Emmanuel’s government was inaugurated and State Executive Council members were about appointed. The Onna cabal, consorting with some pay-to-play PDP elders in Uyo Senatorial District (USD), waxed furious against the retention of “Akpabio Boys” in Udom’s cabinet; they attempted to heat up the polity by way of a strong protest communiqué. They were caged on time before newspapers carried the vitriolic communiqué, having been betrayed by some of their own. The only redeeming grace was that Udom Emmanuel’s fate was hanging in the balance so street wisdom dictated that that they should altogether not do away with “Akpabio Boys” because they were needed to testify at the tribunal and in case a rerun was ordered by the Supreme Court. So, Udom Emmanuel grudgingly kept some of them but stripped them of any responsibilities. They merely went to the office to read newspapers.
The cold war continued through petty complains about Sen. Akpabio drawing more public attention than Gov. Udom Emmanuel at public events. For example, whether attending any public event before, at the same time or after the governor is seated, Sen. Akpabio was accused of commandeering attention meant for the governor. That accusation could only be as a result of their (Udom Emmanuel and his close aides) lack of self esteem. They knew that Akpabio’s shoe is too large a size for Udom Emmanuel to fit, so they latched on any trivial thing in order to discredit Sen. Akpabio.
By his decision to abandon or destroy all of Akpabio legacies, Udom Emmanuel fought the war caring less about negative impacts of his actions on Akwa Ibom State. All inherited projects and policies plan meant for continuation were spitefully put under the butcher’s knife: Ibaka Deep Seaport, aircraft maintenance and repair facility, Tropicana Complex, Ibom Specialist Hospital, Free and Compulsory Education program, rehabilitation of public utilities and schools, Le Meridien Hotel and Golf Resort, Four Points Sheraton hotel, Uyo-Ikot Ekpene road and many other roads, etc.
Incensed and determined to rubbish Sen. Akpabio for saying that “All Is Not Well” In Ikot Ekpene Senatorial District (ISD), Udom Emmanuel ordered his aides and sycophant supporters to swarm upon his predecessor. He dared and threatened Sen. Akpabio with an arrest if public peace was breached, he launched a festival of insults against his political mentor both on national newspapers and on social media. In all three Senatorial Districts of the State Udom Emmanuel’s supporters took turns to berate Sen. Akpabio. Udom Emmanuel only withdrew because, like an amateur politician that he is, he did not know to properly count the cost of unpreparedness in a political warfare.
*Ending The Cold War*
Now, the tide is turning against Udom Emmanuel who is desperately seeking reelection. His already poor chance of winning completely diminishes without Sen. Akpabio’s support. Earlier this year Udom Emmanuel had sponsored a meeting of Uyo Senatorial District Elders in which they dared Senator Akpabio to leave the PDP. Senator Anietie Okon was most outspoken and they got paid N50,000 each for the insult they spewed on Senator Akpabio. Now the chicken have come home to roost and they are running halter skelter begging Sen. Akpabio not to abandon a so-called house that he built.
Udom Emmanuel and his close aides are irredeemably sneaky and untrustworthy: any truce with Sen. Akpabio will last no longer than March 02, 2019 when they might, God forbid, wring out a victory at the polls. After that day, all hell will be let lose against Sen. Akpabio, his legacies and against the Akwa Ibom people.
Sen. Akpabio, it appears, can no longer absorb the needless cold war launched against him and his legacies. He is determined to stop the war in order to end the war. To end the war, he has to keep his political distance from Udom Emmanuel up to the extent that his (Sen. Akpabio’s) rights as a major stakeholder and role as a statesman are neither compromised nor minimized.
Whether or not Sen. Akpabio defects from the PDP is neither a factor nor strategy towards ending the cold war. He has to keep his distance by cutting the political umbilical cord through which he has been feeding Udom Emmanuel for almost five years. This way, Udom Emmanuel can be forced, the right way, into being his own man. Perhaps, if the umblical cord is cut, Udom Emmanuel will learn to focus on governance instead of suspecting and wasting resources in fights against Sen. Akpabio. Let Udom Emmanuel plan and run his own reelection campaign without his predecessor’s influence and political structure, let him not hide under Akpabio’s political clout to excuse away his naivety and gross incompetence. Let him write and sign his own certificate of leadership failure. This is the time for him to heed the warning of people like his former Commissioner, Udo Ekpenyong, whom he has sponsored to blackmail Sen. Akpabio at every turn. This is the time for Udo Ekpenyong to deliver him without the input of the Senator like he has been boasting.
As expected, there will be consequences against Udom Emmanuel who is now frantically begging for forgiveness. Last weekend, the PDP National Working Committee members and Gov. Nyesom Wike of Rivers State are reported to have met with Sen. Godswill Akpabio in order to plead on Udom Emmanuel’s behalf. First consequence of cutting the umbilical cord is that it will further expose Udom Emmanuel’s zero capacity for political leadership. Secondly, it will foreclose any chance of his reelection in May 2019.
*Ekpo Usung Idim*
Cutting the umbilical cord is one deft way that Sen. Akpabio will help to reset the State unto the development path she was treading before May 29, 2015. It will also pacify some angry Akwa Ibomites who say _” Akpabio ake sin ekpo usung idim, yak Akpabio asio (let Akpabio who put a menacing spirit on the road to a stream also remove the spirit)”_. Udom Emmanuel is the menacing “ekpo usung idim” blocking progress in our land of limitless possibilities.
Udom Emmanuel’s biography as an accomplished bank executive cannot be argued. But, it was so much hyped and whitewashed with careless presumptions that most Akwa Ibomites overlooked his disturbing lack of charisma and leadership qualities, political naivety and brute arrogance. We overlooked what has now become a haunting and menacing “ekpo usung idim” who is now fleecing the State while recklessly fighting wars against his political mentor and perceived opponents.
*Oh, Ikot Ekpene!*
Udom Emmanuel’s drama against Sen. Godswill Akpabio have many episodes to make a voluminous book titled ” _How Not To Destroy Akwa Ibom State_ “. The last chapter of that book sets in Ikot Ekpene Senatorial District (ISD), which is the political theater from where Akwa Ibomites have decided to take back their destiny from a grossly incompetent governor and the worst performing government since September 27, 1987.
In a twist of fate, ISD that gave Udom Emmanuel the highest bloc votes in the 2015 gubernatorial election is pulling the rug from under his feet:
• In ISD, Sen. Akpabio fired the first salvo that all is not well in his district. There was tempest in the State leading to Udom Emmanuel’s retaliation with threat and insults. The Governor unleashed his media aides and little hirelings to retort that “All is well. “
• From ISD, the Abak 5 reception for Obong Nsima Ekere signalled a people very uncomfortable with Udom Emmanuel’s government.
• At ISD, Obong Chris Ekpenyong ridiculed Udom Emmanuel for being incompetent, sectional and, deftly, Sen. Godswill Akpabio called Udom Emmanuel’s bluff.
*Udom Emmanuel’s Government Has An Irrevocable Expiration Date – May 29, 2019*
The peoples’ consolation is that Udom Emmanuel’s government is stamped with a bold and irrevocable expiration date – May 29, 2019.
Akwa Ibomites know that they were better off in 2015 than they are today. More people are now living below the poverty line even as the unemployment rate climbs and all socioeconomic indices are plummeting.
Akwa Ibomites are fed up with Udom Emmanuel’s government that is controversial, dishonest, unaccountable, incompetent, youth unfriendly, sectional, disconnected and discredited. The people are ready and determined to vote in another governor.
Akwa Ibom State deserves better than an Udom Emmanuel government!