When the news started filtering in shortly after the last Presidential and National Assembly elections that the assumed godfather of Akwa Ibom politics, Senator Godswill Akpabio of the APC, had probably lost his seat to a less-fancied and not really on ground candidate of the PDP, Christopher Stephen Ekpeyong.
Some well-informed political pundits and close observers of the unfolded scenario, were quick to hazard a contrived ploy by some powerful people within Akpabio’s party to strategically truncate his senatorial ambition for reasons that are not too far-fetched. It is still being discussed in many circles, although in hush tones, that with Akpabio’s might, political savvy and sagacity in the state, long before the election since he swerved to the APC from PDP early last year, many wonder how he could easily be subdued by a relatively unknown and less politically experienced Ekpeyong of the PDP. They argue that being a former two-time governor of the state and a sitting senator for that matter, with unquantifiable massive followership, cult-like sort of in the state, Akpabio couldn’t have easily been edged out of the contest like a minnow by another minnow. This was when insinuations of an alleged grand design by his party to save its face from an impending onslaught on the APC if the serving senator emerges victorious at the poll. According to a very privileged source who is well-informed about the shenanigans that played out in Akpabio’s surprise loss, it has long been known by the party that the seat of the Senate Presidency was likely to swing in favour of Akpabio when the jostling for the nation’s number three office earnestly gets going after the National Assembly is inaugurated. But, unknown to Akpabio, certain underground workings were going on subtly, supposedly by his party at the national level, to ensure his loss by nipping his return senatorial ambition in the bud, to at least abort his senate presidency bid, which was known to everybody within and even outside the party. This was when the real sacrifice of Akpabio began and when it actually manifested in his unexpected loss, it was only meet for people to know where the bell was cat. The inside source hinted this medium in confidence that before the election proper, the APC had entered into an unwritten agreement with international community that; the APC, would not fill any of the top four positions of the nation viz: The President; Vice President, Senate President and the Speaker of the House Reps, that had or is having any court case on litigation for sleaze, financial malpractice, embezzlement or fraudulent acts then or on-going in any court of law in the country or abroad. And if you recall, Akpabio had faced one or more of these charges in recent times, so he readily fell into this dragnet, and pronto, the machination to stealthily ease him out of the race before he makes good his senatorial ambition nay the senate presidency bid, which is a sure bet for him if he gets the mandate of his senatorial district. The case of Akpabio, and possibly that of Senator George Akume, who had also faced similar court cases on financial malfeasance, was just that archetypal and instructive for the APC to abide with the innocuous agreement that eventually nailed Akpabio’s senatorial coffin, nay Akume’s. Many have however argued in the contrary, given Saraki’s case who has many court cases in his hands, but they failed to forget that Saraki’s many court cases came up after he had assumed office as the Senate Presidency, so they were arm-strung and the agreement couldn’t be binding on Saraki who then soared high in office before he was again ignominiously shown the red card in the last election. Back to Akpabio’s case, his loss has been perceived by those who should know that his victory is only being delayed until after the office of the Senate has been filled by another senator with a clean slate, after which his loss will be reversed as they say it was a tactical ploy for him to steer him out of the senate presidency bid, but return to take his seat an ordinary floor member. Be that as it may, the man Akpabio has remained undaunted in his assured mandate saying he did not lose the election, and that his mandate is waiting for him. Godswill Akpabio, former Senate Minority Leader, said he did not lose Saturday’s election despite the declaration of Chris Ekpeyong of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, as winner by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC. Meanwhile, according to results declared by INEC, Ekpeyong polled 118,215 votes ahead of Akpabio of the All Progressives Congress, APC, who secured 83,158 votes in the Akwa Ibom North-West senatorial district election. But an incontrovertible result sheet from Akwa Ibom INEC office showed different figures that had Akpabio scoring 138,256 votes as against Ekpeyong’s 123,843. The question now; is where did the results announced officially by INEC emanate from? Because, the disparity is just too glaring, and leaves much to be desired by any discerning mind. All these are the theatrics that make Akpabio’s loss at the poll a mystery.