Yesterday’s violent encounter in the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly was the latest indicator of the contention for supremacy between the country’s dominant political parties, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP and the All Progressives Congress, APC.
Akwa Ibom, arguably the country’s highest recipient of federal allocations alongside Rivers State has been in the sights of the APC. The state further came into play in early August when the immediate past governor of the state, Senator Godswill Akpabio announced his defection from the PDP to the APC.
When he defected, Akpabio went along with two members of the House of Assembly and two commissioners one of whom is his blood brother. Since that uncommon defection, the state has increasingly been the focus of political brinkmanship with the opposition APC in the state revving its acts with a determination to upset the incumbent PDP governor, Mr. Udom Emmanuel. Emmanuel, a former banker, remarkably, had before now abided in the political shadows of his former mentor, Akpabio. The defection of the former governor and emergence of Nsima Ekere, managing director of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC as the governorship candidate of the APC in the state has meant that Emmanuel has his job of winning re-election well cut out. It is a challenge that the governor has remarkably taken with aplomb to the surprise of those who saw his easy disposition and deficit in image laundering as vulnerable spots to brighten the APC’s chances. Yesterday’s clash in the House of Assembly was inevitably , a direct outcome of the contention by the different political alliances. The face-off took shape after the lawmaker representing Akpabio’s state constituency, Nse Ntuen and another lawmaker, Gabriel Toby joined him on August 8 when he defected to the APC. Before then, the only member of the APC in the House, Asuqwo Archibong representing Urue /Owsong/Oruko state constituency had defected from the PDP.