Akpabio Sworn In As Senate President
Akpabio

This Is The Akpabio We’ve Always Known

1 year ago
4 mins read

The zeal and determination with which Senator Godswill Akpabio is approaching his ambition to be the next Senate President are a true reflection of his character traits.

He is a man of considerable energy, doggedness and resolve to get what he wants. He is unbelievably self-driven; and no matter the obstacle, Akpabio will push it down to achieve his objectives. I do not mean to sound unduly sycophantic, but many of us have come to admire him, even if secretly for some, for his never-say-die spirit.

READ ALSO: 10th N’Assembly: APC Confirms PBA Exclusive Report, Endorses Abass Tajudeen, Akpabio, Ben Kalu, Others

Despite the monumental efforts made in 2006 to block his governorship ambition, Akpabio had his way. Now, he is pulling out all stops to become the next Senate President. Although he has the backing of the President-elect, his party and many stakeholders, he is taking no chances and is leaving no stone unturned to get what he wants.

Over the weekend, he travelled with over 50 senators from all the five parties to meet the governor of Lagos as the first leg of a nationwide tour. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, the fast-talking chief executive of the nation’s tiniest, but richest state and a close ally of Bola Tinubu’s, promptly received Akpabio and his team, and assured him of his support and the votes of the three APC senators from the state. Akpabio and his delegation are billed to visit other SW states, meet with their governors, pick up their backings and return to Abuja later this week. They will then visit all the other five geopolitical zones where they will meet governors, senators (both old and new); traditional rules, party kingpins and power brokers.

I look forward to his arrival in Uyo. But even if he does not come to Akwa Ibom, he has the full support of our people and the two PDP senators. There are many insinuations and speculations that Government Udom Emmanuel is not supporting Akpabio. Many have stated that the governor has been mobilizing support for Akpabio’s many opponents in the race. I called the governor’s press secretary, Ekerete Udoh, this morning to ask where Mr Udom Emmanuel stands. Ekerete sounded startled by my inquiry, and stammered, “Etim… Etim… you’re my good old friend, a very senior journalist and a professional colleague… but please, I do not have any comment to make on this matter. Etim please…Etim please…’’. He hung up. I laughed heartily.

READ ALSO: Executive Arm’s Influence On N’Assembly Leadership An Affront On Democracy – Dr Mbamalu

Akpabio’s energetic and strong-minded campaign for the job is a far cry from what the other candidates are doing. The Senator from Abia, Orji Uzor Kalu, who is being backed by the incumbent Senate President, spends all his days in his Asokoro home, whining and grumbling that the party has not zoned the ticket to him. Kalu wants the party to anoint him senate president, despite his skullduggery in the lead up to the APC presidential primary last year. Orji had spent his energy and resources campaigning for Ahmed Lawan for president, in spite of the fact that the position was overwhelmingly zoned to South in the interest of fairness, inclusiveness and national cohesion. But for Orji, loyalty to an old friend (I understand he and Lawan were roommates at UniMaid) and self-interest trump all national considerations. Now, he is shouting that the senate presidency should be dashed to him in the interest of fairness. He now knows what fairness is.

Despite his national appeal and support from key stakeholders, Akpabio is not sitting down at home, waiting to be anointed. For one, the President-elect only assured him of his support, but admonished him to work and get the support of his colleagues. Such an endorsement on its own does not necessarily guarantee a win. You have to talk to every senator and key stakeholder, and seek their support. At the last count, Akpabio has secured a confirmed backing of over 90 senators from across the different parties, out of the 109 in the chamber. He needs only a simple majority to get the job. I understand that those in support had all signed their names in a hardcover notebook. You can trust that the book would be part of the working document for him.

In addition, Akpabio has received open endorsements from many governors, including those of Niger, Ekiti, Katsina and of course, Lagos, which I mentioned earlier. Engr. David Umahi, the governor of Ebonyi and a newly elected senator is the Chairman of his Campaign. By all indications, Senator Akpabio will register a massive victory on June 11, and even if the party scraps the zoning arrangement and make the race an open contest, Akpabio could still take it.

But why does Tinubu seem to have a soft spot for the former Akwa Ibom governor? Why did he announce his support for Akpabio? Remember what a Roman philosopher once said? “Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity’’. Both Tinubu and Akpabio are neighbours in Lagos and they’ve been friends for a long time. But beyond that, Akpabio prepared for this day. He’s been coveting this job since 2018, and he played good politics in 2022, supporting Tinubu to the hilt when it mattered most. So, while Kalu was rooting for his former roommate, Akpabio worked hard for the emergence of Tinubu as the party’s presidential candidate. Nigerians will easily recall how Akpabio stepped down for Tinubu at the convention grounds on June 6, setting off a wave of supports from many other aspirants. I can say categorically that Tinubu’s overwhelming victory at the convention was partly due to Senator Akpabio’s spectacularly rousing speech to the delegates while he was announcing his withdrawal from the race for the former Lagos governor. And throughout the grueling eight-month presidential campaign, Senator Akpabio was shoulder to shoulder with Senator Tinubu. And when the campaign train came to Akwa Ibom State, Akpabio joined hands with other APC leaders in the state (Minister Umana Umana; Obong Nsima Ekere; Senator Ita Enang and many others) to pull off remarkable rally for Tinubu. It is for no other reason that APC scored about 30% of the votes, a stunning achievement in a state where PDP’s rigging machinery was on overdrive.

In a very strange manner, Akpabio’s candidacy for the senate top position has brought Akwa Ibom people from different political and ethnic backgrounds together. Both his admirers and those who don’t like his politics are all in agreement about the unique consequential import of an Akwa Ibom son taking the third most important political position in the land.

Etim Etim
Etim Etim

ETIM ETIM is a journalist, banker and author. He has been a member of the Editorial Board of The Guardian, a Regional Manager in Access Bank and is currently a Columnist in Prime Business Africa, The Cable and Businessday newspapers.

He is also the Chief Executive of Stein Meyer Communications, a major media consultancy and the author of the best-selling book, "Akwa Ibom Heroes: Inside Story of the Fight for Abrogation of Onshore-Offshore Oil Dichotomy" and co-author of another book, "Osinbajo Strides: Defining Moments of an Innovative Leader".

ETIM ETIM is a journalist, banker and author. He has been a member of the Editorial Board of The Guardian, a Regional Manager in Access Bank and is currently a Columnist in Prime Business Africa, The Cable and Businessday newspapers.

He is also the Chief Executive of Stein Meyer Communications, a major media consultancy and the author of the best-selling book, "Akwa Ibom Heroes: Inside Story of the Fight for Abrogation of Onshore-Offshore Oil Dichotomy" and co-author of another book, "Osinbajo Strides: Defining Moments of an Innovative Leader".


MOST READ

Follow Us

Latest from Opinion

What Soyinka Means To Me

What Soyinka Means To Me

A Tribute by Laolu Akande   Among those who insist that truth-telling is an indispensable form of nation building, Prof. Wole Soyinka is the greatest. And I don’t mean this merely when
Nyesom Wike: The Dance Of A Man

Nyesom Wike: The Dance Of A Man

Millions across Nigeria get palpably entertained virtually every day by the Federal Capital Territory Minister, Ezenwo Nyesom Wike. His project commissioning-based methodical dance steps cutting through the treacherous Nigerian political pathways speak
Sam Omatseye

Omatseye: A Psalm Of Deception

By Paul Ibe   In stagecraft, ventriloquism stands out as one of the most entertaining and yet peculiar types of comedic performances. A lifeless puppet or dummy is placed on the thigh
Anioma State: Reason Above Sentiments

Anioma State: Reason Above Sentiments

Aristotle, one of the fathers of Ancient philosophy, famously says that practical reason grasps our ends, deliberately about how to achieve those ends in a more-or-less specific situation, then makes a decision
Forbes List: Dangote Reclaims Richest African Title From South Africa's Johann Rupert

A Sunday With Aliko Dangote

I was one of the 102 senior journalists invited from all over the country to tour the Dangote Fertilizer and Petrochemical Refinery Complex last Sunday and it turned out to be an

Don't Miss

Ibom Deep Seaport: Can Akpabio Live Up To His Billing?

Ibom Deep Seaport: Can Akpabio Live Up To His Billing?

Senator Godswill Akpabio visited Uyo last weekend on