Tuesday, 3 April 2018

PDP tips Sam Ikon for 2023 Guber* The Godswill Akpabio connection

PDP tips Sam Ikon for 2023 Guber* The Godswill Akpabio connection
PDP tips Sam Ikon for 2023 Guber
* The Godswill Akpabio connection
* backs ex-Speaker for House of Reps
* Onofiok Luke, Ikon, OBA set for epic battle

Kenneth Jude

Barring any last minute change of plans and manoeuvering, former two-term Speaker of the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Sam Ikon may become the next governor of the state in 2023.

This more was gathered by THE INK over the weekend.

It was learnt from competent sources that Sam Ikon may have wormed his way into the hearts of power brokers in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state over what a source said stems from his loyalty.

Ikon who is currently representing Etinan Federal Constituency in the National Assembly is seen by some high ranking party faithful as one politician that is faithful and loyal to party ideals and will use his  political slyness to keep the party united and strong in the state, it was learnt.

A source told our reporter that Sam Ikon  is loyal to a fault hence fits the bill as far as taking over from Governor Udom Emmanuel in 2023 is concerned. He cited his time as Speaker during the tenure of then Governor Akpabio as one of the reasons a section of the party hierarchy have decided to pitch their tents with the Etinan born politician.

Ikon who faces a tough battle retaining his seat in the National Assembly with his position being eyed by the Speaker of the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly, Barr Onofiok Luke is seen as a calm, shrewd and political strategist that will use his wide political tentacles to take the state to another level as governor.

Sources within the ruling party in the state informed our reporter that Sam Ikon  is seriously being considered to take over as governor after the tenure of Governor Emmanuel. The sources who spoke separately with THE INK explained that apart from his close ties with Senator Godswill Akpabio which they said was solidified during the latter's time as governor, Ikon, they said, was raised in Ikot Ekpene. This, they maintained, places him on a good stead to stake a claim at the hilltop mansion come 2023.

Responding to a question, the source said: " well, apart from the fact that Ikon is seen as a loyal politician, he grew up in Ikot Ekpene. That is why he worked peacefully with ex-governor Akpabio when he was Speaker of the state House of Assembly. That is why the 5th assmby under him as rubber stamp. But that did not really matter because he was also protecting his interest politically. If Akpabio is supporting him today as governor, I think the foundation was laid when he (Ikon) lived in Ikot Ekpene."

It was also gathered that in order to remain relevant and financially buoyant ahead of the polls, Senator Godswill Akpabio is backing Hon. Ikon's second term ambition in the House of Representatives. Akpabio, it was learnt, sees Ikon as a loyal party faithful who will do his bidding taking into cognizance both men's smooth relationship during their tenures as governor and Speaker respectively.
But while Sam Ikon may have wormed his way into the hearts of Senator Godswill Akpabio and some top PDP members in the state, THE INK learnt that the former Speaker of the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly may not have it so easy. It was gathered that apart from his seeming 'anointing' to replace Udom as governor when the latter completes his two terms in office, Sam Ikon is also facing a stiff opposition from Speaker Onofiok Luke to retain his seat at the National Assembly. Luke, who will complete his two terms as House of Assembly member this year is said to have made his intentions to head to the Green Chambers clear. Though, the Nsit Ubium born politician has kept his cards to his chest, his supporters and fans alike have made it abundantly clear that the light-skinned Speaker is poised for the National Assembly.

This, it was learnt, will inevitably set off a long battle between Sam Ikon and Onofiok Luke with the latter also poised to throw his hat into the  governorship race in 2023. Analysts are of the opinion that while Onofiok Luke poses a serious threat to Sam Ikon retaining his seat in the House of Reps, the Etinan born former Chairman of Conference of Speakers of States Legislature is banking on the support of Senate Minority Leader, Senator Godswill Akpabio and some PDP top shots in the state to sail through.

But banking on Akpabio's support may not really be ideal if his (Akpabio's) comments during the 40th birthday celebration of Barr. Onofiok Luke at Full Life Christian Centre recently, investigation revealed. Akpabio was quoted to have described Onofiok Luke as the only person that has remained loyal to him among the boys he raised to men. The former governor also prayed for Speaker Luke and his family during the Thanksgiving service. This scene, our reporter learnt, has continued to ruffle feathers on the state with many opining that the Senate Minority Leader may have subtly "anointed" his former aide for the number one seat in the state owing to how he passionately laid his hands on the Speaker's head while praying for him.

This, THE INK gathered, may have raised doubts about the ex- governor's backing of Sam Ikon's second term ambition and the 2023 governorship seat. But a source who preferred anonymity told our reporter in confidence that Akpabio is torn between Sam Ikon and Onofiok Luke for the House of Reps. The source noted that while Senator Akpabio is apparently backing Ikon to take over from Udom, he is in dilemma over who he should back for the Federal House.

While both Ikon and Onofiok Luke are set for what observers have described as an epic political battle ahead of the 2019 Polls, the race to replace Udom in 2023 may not be a straight contest between the duo with former Commissioner for Finance and Senator representing Uyo Senatorial District in the National Assembly, Bassey Albert also poised for the governorship seat.

Senator Bassey Albert who is equally facing a fight to retain his seat in the Red Chambers is also seen as a strong option for the hilltop mansion owing to what analysts say is his financial wherewithal and relationship with Senator Godswill Akpabio.

As the next general elections gather steam, it remains to be seen how  Hon. Sam Ikon's seeming backing for the governorship seat in 2023 by Akpabio and some PDP members will pan out going by the potent challenge posed by the ambition of Barr. Onofiok Luke.

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