Tuesday, 13 January 2015

The Real War Begins- * Umana makes deeper penetration * Udoedehe still at war

G22 takes charge,  Udom’s men fight back

* picks Udomiso as running mate
* Bishop Akpan’s chances brighten


With the much anticipated 2015 general elections just weeks away, the gladiators and major players are perfecting plans to outdo each other at the polls; and with what observers consider as a gathering storm in the political firmament of Akwa Ibom state, those angling for the Hilltop mansion are not unaware of the uncertain climate hovering around.

After efforts to get the leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to listen to their grievances or respond to the numerous petitions that has inundated Wadata House to no avail, the 22 governorship aspirants, who now bear the appellation G22 are said to have concluded plans to team up with the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC) in their avowed bid to frustrate and wrest power from the tight grip of the ruling Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) in the state. Impeccable sources are of the view that with their impending mass movement to the opposition camp, there’s palpable anxiety in PDP, since the development, they continued, will automatically lead to their huge support base following them en masse to the opposition camp. 

As the political weather gets dimmer, the fear in the PDP is unconnected to the glaring fact that most of those in the G22 were active players in the emergence and re-election of Chief Godswill Akpabio and as such, political watchers say that since they were pivotal members of the events and scheming that saw Akpabio to success on two occasions, it will be a fierce if not a nail biting clash at the polls. Those who bared their minds on the heated matter noted that with the calibre of personalities in the G22, it will be difficult if not impossible to easily manipulate or cow other contestants into submission at the polls. 

They added that the injustice meted out to them by Gov. Akpabio in connivance with the leadership of the party will most likely backfire at the polls as it will further spur the ‘wounded’ G22 to do everything within its capacity to outwit Akpabio and his henchmen who are also hell bent on sweeping the polls come what may.

If in the next few hours, the G22 finally make good their threat of joining the opposition which now appears inevitable, such a move will definitely add new twist to the already heated and unpredictable temperature of the state. Keen political observers posit that their moving to the opposition camp is the only viable option since the PDP have failed to pay heed to their protestations. 

They observed further that the move is likely to sound a dead knell on the ruling Peoples Democratic party (PDP    ) in the state. While those in the PDP are quick to dismiss these postulations as ranting of failures and disgruntled folks, the opposing forces are oiling their machinery with their eyes firmly fixed on the possibility of churning out one of the greatest shocks in the political history of the state. These group has hinged their hopes on the internal unrest ravaging the ruling PDP where they are clearly waiting in the wings to pounce on. Discerning minds say that with the rank and file of the APC, which many see as an alternative to the PDP swelling daily, it is a matter of time before PDP goes underground in Akwa Ibom state. Meanwhile, the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and former Secretary to the State Government, Obong Umana Okon Umana is making deep inroads into the hearts of the voting public as he goes about his campaigns with know-how in the race. 

UOU will officially kick-start a state-wide campaign to appeal to the consciences of the masses and seek their votes and support come Feb. 28 on Tuesday (today) 13th Feb, 2015 in Abak. Those in the know of the politics of the state aver that Umana is the biggest threat for the PDP at the polls going by his antecedents and experience in the politics of the state. They maintained that with Umana’s deep pocket, clout and connections which they noted transcends the state, it will be a titanic battle at the contest billed for Saturday, February 28. Not a few people also belief that with the choice of Engr. Ben Ukpong as his running mate, UOU is poised to cause a major political setback at the polls. Engr. Ben Ukpong is seen by many as a major force in the politics of Urue-offong Oruko where he hails from hence will win the hearts of the electorate in the area to vote en masse for the APC.  Another factor in Umana’s victory chances is the angst in Oro over what they have described as political marginalisation of Oro nation by the people of Akwa Ibom State. 

Going by this seeming discrimination, opinion leaders are of the feeling that Oro will team up with the Umana/Ukpong’s ticket to fight the ruling PDP whom they have accused of working in cahoots with Gov. Akpabio and others to scheme them out of relevance in the political configuration of Akwa Ibom state. Those well grounded in the politics of the state maintain that from the ongoing permutations and the fractured relationship of the PDP among  its members, it is likely that it may seriously affect them, not just in Akwa Ibom state but across the federation in the upcoming elections. While Umana seems to be having a groovy ride in the race to the Hilltop mansion, supporters of Deacon Udom Gabriel Emmanuel, who is the standard bearer of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state are not losing sleep over any perceived threat by the APC and its candidate Obong Umana Okon Umana. 

They are said to be strategising on all cylinders in wait of any tactics the APC may come up with. Their camp is believed to be up to the task and is battle ready for any one at the polls. Not a few people believe that the PDP will sweep the polls going by history and coupled with the influence of Governor Godswill Akpabio.
Moreso, with a more than unalloyed support from Abuja, it is almost certain that Udom Gabriel Emmanuel will be sworn in as the third civilian governor of Akwa Ibom state against all odds with such strong backing from Aso Rock. Udom’s supporters have also vowed to neutralise any scheme or tantrum the opposition may bring to the plate. This, they maintain, they will ensure even with the last pint of their blood since they share Akpabio’s sentiments that Udom Emmanuel is the best man to replace him as governor. 

While the PDP and the APC are busy casting aspersions on each other, another contestant to the number one seat in the state and the standard bearer of Accord Party (AP), Bishop Samuel Akpan is flying high while subtly lying low with the devouring instincts of a serpent. The founder of the now defunct AKPF is seen by many as a strategist which came to the fore when he fronted Akpabio’s election with his group to devastating effects. Today, having lost faith in the ruling PDP, the Clergy cum politician is determined to take his pound of flesh at the February polls. His supporters, according to thorough observations are the most vocal and staunch in faith. They are believed to be doing all they can to upset bookmakers come next month. 

Those rooting for the emergence of Bishop Samuel Akpan at the polls are said to be relying on his popularity within the electorate, especially those at the grassroots. Bishop Samuel is also said to have made advanced penetrations into the grassroots so much that confidence is sky high in his camp that having captured the grassroots, he will fly at the February polls. Another factor in his candidacy is the choice of Obong Sabbath Wilson Udomiso who hails from Ukanafun LGA. Observers say that the move is highly felicitous owing to his seeming popularity among the electorate in the area and the wide followership he enjoys in Annang land. With opinion leaders speaking in positive terms of Bishop Samuel’s chances, it is yet to be seen how this massive goodwill translates to electoral victory on February 28.  Meanwhile, John James Akpanudoedehe is still threatening fire and brimstone over the outcome of the primary election that produced Obong UOU as the standard bearer of the APC in Akwa Ibom state. 

The fiery politician, sources say is disenchanted with the way he lost out at the primaries and is believed to be working round the clock to correct the alleged anomaly. Rumours were rife in the media recently that he is perfecting plans to rejoin the PDP but such tale was debunked the other day by the onetime Federal Minister of the FCT to the effect that he is staying put in the APC to retrieve his mandate. While observers are locked in arguments over the possibility of Senator Udoedehe having the last laugh over the primary debacle, the hint about town is that the 2011 guber aspirant believes that Umana has the capacity to win the governorship contest hence he is strategizing to remain vocal in his position where, observers say is a ploy to upstage UOU at the court if he eventually wins the gubernatorial poll. 

From the foregoing, it is clear that the February 28 polls and indeed other elections are still a matter of conjecture as regards likely winners hence all camps are scheming day and night to get the coveted crown in their kitty. How this will be achieved is a matter of time.

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