Akwa Ibom 2023: OBA Defies Bad Labeling, Storms Rural Areas with Messages of Hope
Despite being viciously demonized by some of the inner circle aides of the Udom administration, Senator Bassey Albert Akpan, popularly known as OBA in Akwa Ibom State is still pressing up with his 2023 governorship quest.
In the build-up to the 2015 polls, OBA sacrificed his governorship ambition to pave way for the emergence of Udom Emmanuel, the incumbent governor who was then Secretary to the State Government under the Godswill Akpabio administration.
At the time, the zoning arrangement in the state favoured Eket Senatorial District where Udom comes from. OBA is from Uyo Senatorial District. This time, that is the preferred political bloc to produce Udom’s successor in 2023.
For being maliciously labeled a ‘’cultist’’ some Udom administration insiders and compromised stakeholders, have been scheming to block OBA’s governorship aspiration. To upstage him, Umo Eno, a church pastor who dominated the affairs of Lands and Water Resources Ministry was drafted into the 2023 succession gamble.
To further worsen the twisted hatred for OBA in the state, some elements who parade themselves as hard supporters are busy fuelling rumours that the senator and the governor are no morefriends.
But, the obviously unshaken OBA, has stoutly debunked the hate campaign, insisting that there is no rift between him and Governor Udom Emmanuel because of his governorship aspiration.
At ONNA Local Government Area, Udom’s home council area, he told stakeholders that he was still working cordially with the governor as the chairman, Akwa Ibom State Caucus of the National Assembly.
OBA said his programmes include some projects which the incumbent governor might not complete, owing to shortness of time and resources, noting that “government is a continuum”.
He used the occasion to recall his contributions, sacrifices and loyalty to both the governor as well as the Peoples Democratic Party, and accordingly appealed for support from the area at the primaries.
“It is your mandate and you can give it to anybody. But I believe I am the best of the aspirants that will best represent your interest”, OBA said.
Underlining education as one of his key projects, he promised to reintroduce payment of bursary to Akwa Ibom students in tertiary institutions, adding: “I’ve done it before and I know I can do it again and even more as governor”.
He designated 2023 as the year of jubilee, assuring that as a former chairman of the Senate Committee on Gas, he knew how to supply gas to the entire ONNA in two months.
PDP Chapter Chairman in the area, Ubong Adiakpan, a lawyer, in his response, described OBA as a name that rings a bell across the state, claiming that the senator is greatly loved even outside the state, thanking him for being a true democrat by coming to consult Onna.
While Adiakpan noted that while they have only heard of other aspirants on Facebook, OBA was the first to visit them for proper consultation, he adds, “you have had a positive impact on Akwa Ibom State. As a politician, we know those who have worked for the state.”
He commended OBA for keying into the ecclesiastical rendition that only God gives power, hence the name: “Akwa Ubok Abasi”.
The chapter chairman, while agreeing that God gives power, noted that He will use the delegates to produce the next governor and encouraged OBA to interact freely with the delegates.
Chairman of the Campaign Council, Emem Akpabio, said Akwa Ibom as a five-star state, deserves a five-star governor, in the mould of the incumbent and the immediate past governors.
“Obong Attah was a five-star governor; Godswill Akpabio was a five-star governor and the incumbent, Gov Udom Emmanuel is a five-star governor. Senator Bassey Albert will be a five-star governor “, he added.
He appealed to the conscience of the Onna people to support OBA because he stood by them firmly when it mattered most (in 2014 and 2019) to make their son a governor.
Vice-Chairman of the Campaign Council, Ephraim Inyangeyen, said since it is scriptural that people reap what they sow, he had decided to sow the truth by telling them that there was an understanding that after Udom, Senator Akpan will be the next governor.
OBA, according to Inyangeyen, went into the trenches with them to make the incumbent a governor.
Speaking as a witness after the fact, the former Chief of Staff said he was one of the very few who was privileged to be where it was agreed that after Udom Emmanuel, it will be OBA.
He asked Onna people to stand by Senator OBA, assuring that they will never regret but would rather enjoy the new government.
Whether in international email, competence, connection or contacts, Inyangeyen assured everyone that OBA was highly qualified to be the next governor.
Chief Rapheal Ekoh and Chief Godwin Sunday Oton, some of the stakeholders, after lamenting infrastructural deficit, promised that ONNA will not disappoint OBA.
Stating that they were privy to some of the negotiations that led to the emergence of their son, Udom Emmanuel’s emergence as governor, they pledged to reciprocate OBA’s kind gesture by standing by him.
Former Chairman of ONNA, Dr Joshua Ndioko, said they have conscience and will never allow it to betray them. He also told OBA that there was hunger in ONNA, just like in every part of the state.
Ndioko assured the senator of their full support towards the governorship, even if he didn’t come to ONNA for consultation.