The Akwa Ibom governor, Udom Emmanuel, has said that it is only one senator – Bassey Albert – that was “speaking for the whole of Akwa Ibom state” for now at the nation’s Senate.
Mr Emmanuel said this on Monday while addressing a large crowd of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) members and supporters who turned out at the Onna township stadium for a rally organised by the people of Akwa Ibom South Senatorial District to show solidary with the governor.
“The only man standing! The only man standing! The only man standing!” Governor Emmanuel repeatedly shouted to the crowd as he acknowledged the senator’s presence at the rally.
The crowd responded with the shout of “Oba! Oba! Oba!” which is the acronym for “Obong Bassey Albert”.
“He is the only senator speaking for the whole of Akwa Ibom state in the Senate,” the governor told the crowd.
The governor shouted, “One with God….”
And the ecstatic crowd responded, “….is with the majority!”
“One with God….”
“….is with the majority!”
Mr Albert, the only senator still remaining in the PDP in the state, has vowed not to leave the party and has also pledged political support for Mr Emmanuel.
Governor Emmanuel’s remarks appear to be a veiled attack on the other two Akwa Ibom senators, Godswill Akpabio and Nelson Effiong, who defected from the PDP to the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Mr Effiong represents Akwa Ibom South, which is the governor’s own senatorial district, while Mr Akpabio represents Akwa North West.
Since Mr Akpabio’s defection on August 8, PDP has been holding series of rallies and solidarity visits to Mr Emmanuel as a strategy to calm down its impact against the governor’s re-election bid.
Mr Akpabio, a former governor of Akwa Ibom, is generally regarded as one of the most influential politicians in the state and Nigeria’s South-South region.
With the current political development, Akwa Ibom is most likely going to be a battleground state for both the PDP and the APC in the 2019 general elections.
And with Mr Akpabio’s exit from the PDP, Governor Emmanuel would be counting on the likes of Mr Albert and the youthful speaker of the state House of Assembly, Onofiok Luke, to help deliver the state for the PDP.
Mr Albert is one lucky beneficiary of the current political development in the state.
The apparent media campaign against him, which may have had the backing of the state government, suddenly ceased when the government and the PDP began mobilising for the political battle ahead, after the defection of Mr Akpabio.
Besides having now earned the governor’s thumbs up, PDP leaders in Akwa Ibom North-East recently made a case for Mr Bassey to be given automatic ticket by the party for the 2019 election.
“I appeal to those aspiring to go to the Senate to hold on for now and to support Bassey Albert Akpan for a second term,” a former senator, Effiong Bob, said on August 11 in Uyo during a meeting of leaders from the senatorial district.
“With the unfolding development in the State, we will need a high ranking member in the Senate in 2019 for the collective interest of Uyo Senatorial District.”