PERSPECTIVE – (14)  2023: What is the state of play in Akwa Ibom State?

PERSPECTIVE – (14) 2023: What is the state of play in Akwa Ibom State?


By Etim Etim

In this series, I will try to cut through the labyrinth of confusions that have enveloped the main parties in Akwa Ibom and bring clear updates on each party to my readers. I am amazed that this series has been so widely received, especially by our compatriots in Diaspora. Someone wrote, ‘’It is educati

Mr. Etim Etim.
Mr. Etim Etim.

ve, informative and entertaining’’. I didn’t know that politics could be entertaining. I thank you all for sparing time to be informed.

Here now is the state of play in each of the four major parties in the state:

1. PDP

With the emergence of Mike Enyong as its governorship candidate, the PDP in Akwa Ibom State has broken into two factions; one group led by Gov. Udom Emmanuel and his stooge, the defunct governorship candidate, Umo Eno. The other faction is led by the new governorship candidate, Hon. Michael Enyong (alias Baba Ntan). While the Udom Emmanuel faction holds the cash and controls the propaganda machinery in the party, Babantan has the governorship ticket, and has vowed not to give up his mandate. The battle has therefore shifted to the Court of Appeal in Abuja where Umo Eno hopes to reclaim his ticket. It is likely that the Court of Appeal will not decide this case until well after the election. This means that Mike Enyong is the person that will contest the election on behalf of the PDP, and this has unsettled Umo Eno and his supporters within the Party. To put up a brave face, the Umo Eno faction is going about campaigning, pretending that all is well.

Many PDP members, especially the rank and file are confused. Some are planning to vote for another party, instead of Babantan; while others who were not particularly fond of Umo Eno are openly blaming the governor for this crisis. The governor himself is weighing his options; seriously thinking of the possibility and implications of losing at the Appeal Court.

For the PDP, the state of play is that more and more of its members and supporters would be casting their ballot for another party since they cannot stomach Enyong as their candidate.

2. APC

Expectedly, APC has descended into another phase of crisis after momentarily closing ranks two weeks ago to organize a rally for their presidential candidate. Mr Umana Umana, the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, had ensured that the party leaders came together in a semblance of harmony in order to put up a good show for Tinubu. He insisted that all committees and sub committees for the presidential rally were composed of members from the different factions of the party. There was some hope that the festering wrangling was finally over. But no sooner had Tinubu left Uyo on January 30 than a new chapter of an old problem emerged in the party.

Trouble started with the composition of the so-called Governorship Campaign Council (actually the party still does not have a candidate. I have confirmed this with INEC. Senator Ita Enang and Akan Udofia have both proceeded to the Supreme Court to seek a final decision on who should fly the party’s flag). It turned out that the Council was filled with only folks from the ADF wing of the party (The Akpabio Group). No single member from Umana; Nsima Ekere; Sam Enwang and Don Etiebet was appointed in the Campaign Council. The whole thing is just an Akpabio affair, and as I wrote in my last article, the Akan Udofia campaign reminds us of our sad past experience.

Then came the announcement from Mr. Uwem Udoma and some other important members of the party from Abak 5 that they will not support Senator Akpabio in his senatorial ambition although DIG Ekpo Ekpoudom, their erstwhile leader, had decided to pitch tent with the former minister. Before that, Atuekong Don Etiebet, a former minister and an influential APC chieftain, had announced that Abak 5 people will never vote for Akpabio; but would rather vote for a candidate of another party. Actually, in this election, everybody is free to go beyond his party and vote for a candidate of his choice. (My choices are well known).

So, in APC, while Akan Udofia is campaigning for Senator Akpabio in Akwa Ibom North West Senatorial District, the other leaders of the party are watching from a safe distance, sidelined once again in a party they ran into from the PDP in 2014 to escape the scotched earth politics of that era.

‘’Akan Udofia is too naïve if he believes that Akpabio alone can make him governor. We all know that the governorship position is zoned to Uyo Senatorial District. It is therefore ridiculous for Akan to be jumping around with Akpabio, with no regards to other leaders’’, fumed a party stalwart who warned me sternly not to put his name in print ‘’because I don’t want any trouble’’.

I should note that as far back as last year, Mr. Umana was open to supporting Akan Udofia. The minister had proposed to the party in Abuja that to create harmony and an all-inclusive environment, he should nominate a running mate to Akan, since Akpabio had already brought Akan himself. The party agreed and Umana nominated his longtime friend, Chief Victor Iyanam. But Akpabio would have none of that, and so the short-lived truce fell flat, returning the party to a what it is today.

In APC, the State of Play is that whereas the party members have resolved to vote for Tinubu on February 25th, they do not have a unanimous choice for governor. Senator Udoedehe of NNPP is however hoping to receive a lot of votes from many APC members who are disenchanted with the festering tumult in that party. Udoedehe was a member of the party since its founding in 2013 till he left last Summer.

3. YPP

This party is still dealing with the conviction of its governorship candidate, Senator OBA, in December. It was a big blow. But the overall conduct of its members and supporters since then has become a cause for concern for many people. There are reports of fights and squabbles breaking out every now and then between YPP and PDP members across the state. The two actually see themselves as arch enemies and rivals, trading insults and abuses at every level. But OBA’s conviction remains a major stumbling block to his dream of being elected governor.


This is the only of the four major parties in the state that has not been infested with crisis and scandals, and so far, Senator John Udoedehe, its governorship candidate, has managed to conduct himself and his politics in an elegant, decorous and graceful manner. He has not insulted or denigrated anybody, not even those who had serially frustrated his ambition in the past. He has also resisted temptation to launch verbal missiles at the governor and his man Friday, Umo Eno. Rather, the NNPP standard bearer is busy projecting his message to the people, and that has attracted the attention of many, including rivals. For instance, addressing a rally at Oko Ita, Ibiono Ibom LGA, last Saturday, Umo Eno told the people that he would turn the LGA into a satellite town and build housing estates for civil servants. That is an outright photocopy of Udoedehe’s program.

Senator Udoedehe’s blueprint includes extending Uyo Capital territory to the neighbouring LGAs (Ibesikpo-Asutan; Nsit Atai; Uruan; Abak and Ibiono Ibom), and creating Ministry of Uyo Capital Territory to manage the development and expansion of the city, in addition to computerizing administration of land titles in the states with the deployment of GIS (Geographic Information Systems). Having served as Minister of FCT where GIS was successfully deployed, the NNPP candidate believes that Akwa Ibom is overdue for its application.

Udoedehe also has other peculiarly unique agenda like turning the Village Councils into the Fourth-tier government and giving them the authority to supervise schools and health centers and granting 31,000 citizens N1 million each to invest in new businesses and expand new ones.

The state of play in NNPP is that of renewed exuberance and excitement at the bright prospect of their candidate.

Next: How will all these affect the election?

Leave your vote

Facebook Comments

Akwa Ibom Guest Writers Nigeria Opinion Politics