The Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, has scored a major political victory on Sunday in Akwa Ibom State as a political ally of President Muhammadu Buhari, who was Minister of Petroleum, led key actors and political parties away from the All Progressives Congress APC to adopt Atiku Abubakar of the PDP.
Etiebet’s group also rejected the senatorial candidate of the APC, representing Ikot Ekpene Senatorial District, Godswill Akpabio, and blamed him for their rejection of APC Presidential candidate, Bola Tinubu.
They pledged their unalloyed support for Akapbio’s rival, Emmanuel Enoidem, of the PDP.
Parties Etiebet led to the meeting which were members of the Abak-5 constituency were the New Nigeria People’s Party, NNPP, Young Peoples Party, YPP, Labour Party, LP, and a faction of the APC controlled by Etiebet.
Etiebet has been opposed to the candidature of Akpabio, who has been blamed for the ensuing feud in the state chapter of the APC in Akwa Ibom State.
The former Minister of Niger Delta, Akapbio, few weeks ago got the nod of the Federal High Court of Abuja to contest the senatorial election.
But Etiebet and the Abak-5 have said his candidature stands rejected as it was the turn of the Abak-5 communities, who are yet to produce a senator since 1963.
Etiebet and other stakeholders are miffed that Akapbio, even though did not take part in the June 2022 senatorial primary election as he was involved in the presidential primary election, fought tooth and nail using the court to deny the zone the ticket even though DIG Udom Ekpoudom (Rtd) was validly elected as APC senatorial candidate.
He said if Ekpoudom was allowed to fly the ticket of the APC, it would have represented equity for the Abak/Etim Ekpo/Ika Federal Constituency.
A statement from the media unit of the Enoidem campaign organisation made available to journalists on Sunday revealed that the resolution to support Atiku and others of the PDP was due to a coalition meeting involving APC, PDP, NNPP, YPP, LP and others from Abak, Etim Ekpo, Ika, Ukanufun and OrukAnam Local Government Areas.
He said the decision was that the “2023 senatorial seat for Ikot Ekpene Senatorial District must go to Abak/Etim Ekpo/Ika Federal Constituency which has not produced a Senator since 1963.”
The statement noted, “That all Abak-5 community eligible voters are enjoined to vote for Emmanuel Enoidem of the PDP irrespective of their party affiliations in the community in the forthcoming senatorial election of February 25, 2023, for equity, justice, fairness and brotherliness because it is Abak Federal Constituency’s turn to produced the next Senator having not had any since 1963.
“The leaders of the Abak-5 community led by, Don Etiebet, are enjoined to reach out to their allies in Ikot Ekpene and Ikono/Ini Federal constituencies for their understanding and support to vote for Enoidem to win the senate seat of the Akwa Ibom Northwest Senatorial District.”
But in a swift reaction, the director, Media and Publicity of Senator Godswill Akpabio’s Campaign Organisation, Joe Iniudo, dismissed the purported endorsement, noting that, “I have not been able to make findings to know who and who are members of the coalition that you are talking about.
“I think that coalition is close to being illusionary because the people that are expected to be stakeholders in Abak-5, I am not sure participated in that exercise.
“I have had cause to speak to a former member of the House of Representatives and he said he was not there.
“I have also spoken with a former local government chairman and other political stakeholders who were not there.
“So, who are the members of this coalition? I think that somebody somewhere is just trying to give meaning to something that is really not in existence,” he added.