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Saraki, left, with Governor Udom Emmanuel in Uyo, Akwa Ibom on Friday
By Isaiah Eka/Uyo
Senate President Bukola Saraki on Friday paid a solidarity visit to Gov. Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom and commended him for his selfless leadership in the state, a move seen as spiting former minority leader of the Senate, Godswill Akpabio, now opposed to Saraki.
Emmanuel’s godfather and former governor Akpabio defected on 8 August to the All Progressives Congress, dumping the Peoples Democratic Party. The defection ceremony at Ikot Ekpene Township Stadium attracted the huge crowd and APC big guns. Akpabio also resigned his role as PDP Minority Leader in the Senate.
Saraki, who is now the national leader of the PDP and who recently also switched from APC to PDP, said he was in the state to show solidarity to Emmanuel.
He assured the governor that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) representatives in the National Assembly would continue to support him to provide dividends of democracy to the people.
“We have come here on a solidarity visit to show that we are strong with you. We are with you because we know you are serving your people well.
“We are with you because since you have been the governor, you have shown your worth and capacity and more importantly, you have shown your leadership skills.
“It is not easy to lead and rise above board and behave like a leader in spite of provocations; that is how leadership should be.
“You have done a lot of good works here and I do not want you to be distracted.’’
He charged the governor not to relent in his quest to provide good governance to Akwa Ibom people, stressing that the people would continue to support him.
Saraki said Emmanuel had nothing to fear since the all the members of the House of Representatives, State Assembly, local government chairmen, councilors and stakeholders are supporting him.
“The people of Akwa Ibom have spoken and they are saying they are behind you. I want that to encourage you to forge ahead and work hard and serve the people. Since your people are with you, fear nobody.
“We, in Abuja, will continue to work and support you. I will come here to congratulate you when your people will give you a second term to serve them. And when I come back, we will come and discuss politics.”
Responding, Emmanuel urged the senate president to continue to work and protect Nigeria.
He urged the Senate president to continue to maintain his exemplary character and serve the Nigerian people as the number three citizen.
He urged leaders not only to prepare the young ones for the future but to prepare the future for them through good governance.
“This is unprecedented that in time like this, you have come to show solidarity to Akwa Ibom people. We appreciate you and love you the way you protect the project Nigeria.”
The governor used the opportunity to welcome Saraki back to PDP, adding that Akwa Ibom people are solidly behind the party.
On the Saraki’s entourage were Senators Dino Malaye, Clifford Odia, representing Edo and Sen. Bassey Akpan, the only PDP senator representing Akwa Ibom among others.(NAN)