Chieftains of the All Progressives Congress, APC, and the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in Akwa Ibom State were at the weekend locked in a verbal exchange over the benefits of being hooked up to the government in power in Abuja.
The argument came as the APC in the state continued to bemoan its fate in the recent presidential and National Assembly election that saw it lose on all rounds to the PDP.
A leading chieftain of the APC, Senator Ita Enang, blamed the Resident Electoral Commissioner, Mike Igini, of working against the party.
His assertion was immediately dismissed by Igini who said votes would continue to prevail in the state.
Enang spoke at the weekend while addressing reporters in Uyo, the state capital.
“We should be encouraged by the return of President Buhari and the APC to key the state to the central government”, he said,
According to him, if the state had played opposition during Olusegun Obasanjo’s administration, it would not have been possible for it to win the battle on the obnoxious onshore\offshore oil dichotomy.
He, therefore, enjoined the people of the state to ensure that the PDP led government of Mr. Udom Emmanuel, was displaced at the ballot in March 9, 2019 election.
However, the outgoing Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Mr. Onofiok Luke, debunked the claim pointing out that things had gone so bad in many APC controlled states to the extent that Benue and Sokoto had to switch for better life.
Luke who spoke during the weekend on the Comfort 95.1FM Uyo said: “On the ‘Get connected to the Center’ claim bandied about by some selfish politicians in this state, Akwa Ibom people, let me draw your attention to one thing: Benue State was an APC state, connected to the center but things got so bad that Benue State had to run away from the center and now Benue is enjoying the warm coverage of the umbrella of People’s Democratic Party, PDP.
“Also, Sokoto State was an APC state and connected to the Center and when it did not see any difference in being attached to the center, it took a decision to come and enjoy the coverage of the umbrella. Osun State is connected to the center and salaries are owed for several months.
“So this get-connected-to-the-Center claim is fuelled by the desire of these people to protect their stomach, it is not in the best interest of Akwa Ibom people.”
He added that the performance of Governor Emmanuel in the first term would speak loud for the party on Saturday.
“My prediction for March 9 is that Governor Udom Emmanuel and candidate of the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, will get the mandate of Akwa Ibom people to govern this state for another four years, next Saturday. This is because the vision that he has for Akwa Ibom State is in line with the visions of our founding fathers
Reacting to the allegations of favoritism, Igini maintained that the poll was credible, denying assisting the PDP to win in the state.
‘’The political elite who are the chief beneficiary of our democracy are the greatest problem. In this state, votes will not only count, but be counted to determine who wins. I will keep to my oath of office to do right to all who come before us as umpire. We will ensure that the election is credible, and knowing full well that we operating in the atmosphere of mistrust, the umpire must show that it is above board’’, he said.