Godswill Akpabio

The last minute decision by the former Governor of Akwa Ibom State and immediate past Minister of Niger-Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio to back out of the Presidential race on the platform of the All Progressives Congress, APC Tuesday night at the party’s National convention has attracted widespread condemnation, as many have described his action as ‘uncommon treachery and betrayal of his people’.

The Senator has been described as an uncommon betrayer, for being the only aspirant from the South South and South East to step down for Bola Tinubu in the South West, despite the region’s grip on power for 16 years as President and Vice President respectively.

Recall that a new twist emerged Tuesday night at the just concluded All Progressive Congress (APC) special convention for election of Presidential candidate, when Godswill Akpabio whose turn it was to address delegates, mounted the platform, disqualified himself, before declaring his support for another aspirant, Bola Ahmed Tinubu to the consternation of supporters.

Senator Akpabio who had openly demarketed himself at the APC special convention had told the bewildered party delegates that he was not fit to govern Nigeria, hence his decision to withdraw from the race in support for Bola Tinubu who he described as a visionary.

Reacting to the former Governor’s shocking cowardice, a United States based, Thompson Essien who mocked the Senator for displaying a defeatist behaviour at the party convention, argued that his action was not surprising, as he had already predicted that he was not anywhere.

Thompson wrote on his Facebook page; “Akpabio: I built Heaven in Akwa Ibom; i even brought God down. In any case, I’m not fit to govern Nigeria, please vote for Tinubu. I told you guys, the man needs a visit with a psychiatrist”.

Mr. Thompson Essien had also in another post on his Facebook handle hailed that every one knew that Godswill Akpabio would never go beyond the Presidential Primary.

Ugwunna Ejikem who hails from the South-Eastern part of the country where Akpabio is
P an in-law had lambasted the former Minister for not being man enough face other contenders in the race.

Taking to her twitter handle, Ejikem had wondered why Akpabio only ended up listing his achievement as Governor of Akwa Ibom where he served under the PDP and still asked his delegates to vote for Bola Tinubu.

The tweet reads; “Godswill Akpabio finished naming his achievements as Governor then asked his delegates to vote for Bola Tinubu because of those achievements, are these men on crack???”.

Reacting to Ugwunna’s tweet, another twitter handler with account name, [email protected] mocked Akpabio for praising his achievements as a PDP Governor and turning around to claim the same party that brought him to political limelight did nothing in 16years.

His tweet reads; “what do you expect from a man who praised his achievements as a PDP governor, then said the same PDP did nothing in 16yrs”.

Callers on radio stations in Akwa Ibom who phoned in to the news review and political discourse segments on some of the stations monitored by our reporter held diverse opinions on the action of the former Governor, while applauding another aspirant from the South-South region, Rotimi Amaechi for making the entire region proud by his decision not to backdown from the race as Akpabio did.

A former National official of the PDP, and Managing Director, Akwa Ibom Property Investment Company, APICO, Barr. Patrick Udomfang while reacting on the comment section of a trending online debate on the matter, noted that the stepping down signals failure and does not pass a good message about the State.

He however commended Governor Udom Emmanuel for not toeing the same path during the recently concluded Presidential Primary election of the PDP.

” Stepping down is a failure, Udom fought gallantly as a proud Akwa Ibom son and secured the 4th position out of 12. That is not easy and he has registered Akwa Ibom state in the National History”.

Another public affairs analyst, Mr Idongesit Inyang had this to say on a popular whatsapp group; “Senator Akpabio legit said that it’s not his time or something like that. That he is stepping down for a man with vision?”
Distinguished Senator iniehe vision idem amo?
“So, on a really good day, Distinguished will choose Mr. Tinubu over himself?
Like, he will tell people, ‘Da, dede Tinubu ami adiongo mkpo ke governance ankan mien o’?”

A popular preacher of the African Church faith, Rev Richard Peters, had argued that the former Niger-Delta Affairs Minister may had known he won’t make it at the primary hence his decision to abandon the race midway to escape the impending embarrassment that was awaiting him. It was discovered that delegates from Akwa Ibom who were with him were not screened to participate in the exercise owing to a court order.

“Godswill Akpabio asked delegates from Akwa Ibom to vote for Ahmed Tinubu, as it stance, no delegate from Akwa Ibom has voted because the list Akpabio presented is not certified by INEC. Akpabio knew that he won’t have upto 5 votes that was why he chicken out shamefully, cheaply and surreptitiously”

Idongesit Uyo, another cleric based in Abak local government of Akwa Ibom State, on his part believes “a man who went saw and attempted to conquer is better than a man who went, saw and surrendered.”

Describing the Senator as one who is not politically smart in his calculation, Uyo argued that he would have stood his ground and face the ballot to test his popularity, rather than chickening out as he did at the last minute.

According to him “someone resigned as a Minister (not under duress) A position he held on trust for Akwa Ibom. Spent N100million on form (N1m in 100 places) campaigned all over the country, went to the venue and stepped down for Tinubu….Like, of all people, Tinubu and you are telling us that he is smart!”

“The truth is that Sen. Godswill Akpabio is very predictable. But his people won’t see it because at times, loyalty blinds a man”

Usenobong Iseh in his submission averred that there was nothing smart about Akpabio’s withdrawal from the race.

He opined that it would have been fine if he had stepped down for Prof. Yemi Osinbajo or Rotimi Amaechi, instead of Tinubu who is said to be far older in age.

“There is nothing smart there , had it been he stepped down for CRA or PYO who are better and vibrant people”

Akpabio’s action has been widely seen as a display of betrayal, treachery and cowardice for a man of his standing to drum support for a 90year old man when there were other credible and much younger aspirants he would have thrown his weight behind if he felt he lacked what it takes to lead the country.

Surprised by Akpabio’s volte-face decision, Ubong Sampson in a facebook post, Wednesday queried “I hope Godswill Akpabio won’t aspire for any public office that requires electoral process in this country”.

“We all should apologise to Udom Emmanuel for ever undermining his 38 votes. At least, he went all out to prove he wanted that opportunity to serve”.

“How can you stand on national TV to say you had 1200 delegates to vote you, yet, stepped down for an old fragile man who took more than 10 seconds to flip a page of his written speech because his hand can’t hold anything firmly?”

“So Godswill that I should have voted for is expecting me to vote for Tinubu?”, he quipped.