The Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Udom Emmanuel, has denied a report in a local newspaper in the state that he was no longer interested in a second term in office.
The newspaper, Global Concord, in its latest mid-week edition, reported that Mr. Emmanuel has been offered the position of vice president by a Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, presidential aspirant, Sule Lamido. Mr. Lamido, a former governor of Jigawa State, met with the governor and other PDP leaders in Uyo on Monday when he visited the state for consultation on his 2019 presidential ambition.
“The story in its entirety is false,” the governor said through a statement issued on Thursday by his spokesperson, Ekerete Udoh.
“The PDP Presidential hopeful, Alhaji Sule Lamido during his courtesy call on Governor Udom Emmanuel on Monday, February 12, 2018, never offered a Vice Presidential slot to Governor Udom Emmanuel neither was such an issue ever discussed or solicited,” the statement said, adding that the governor never endorsed Mr. Lamido’s ambition.
Mr. Udoh said the governor referred to Mr. Lamido as “presidential hopeful” throughout the meeting and also told him that God would determine who will be Nigeria’s next president.
Mr. Udoh, who described the report as “disingenuous and utterly malicious”, said the governor’s second term ambition has the backing of the people.
Global Concord has, however, said that it stands by its story.
“You know politicians will always deny information that they won’t expect would get to the public as at the time they don’t want it to get to the public,” the Chairman of Global Concord’s editorial board, Unyime Ekwere, told said Thursday.
“We have it on good authority that a lot of people in the PDP, not only Lamido, have offered him (Governor Emmanuel) the vice president slot because of his financial war chest, so that he will sponsor the presidential campaign of the PDP.
“A source at the Government House, Uyo, told us that (the Senate Minority Leader) Akpabio was earlier tipped for the position but because of several cases against him at the EFCC, the party is afraid that the APC-led federal government would seriously work against Akpabio. So, they are now going for Udom Emmanuel.
“We don’t manufacture stories, we write what we hear,” Mr. Ekwere said.
Meanwhile, a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress, APC, in the state, Umana Umana, has denied a newspaper report of an alleged rift between him and the Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, Nsima Ekere.
Mr. Ekere is also an APC member from the state. He is said to be in the race for the 2019 governorship election in the state, although he hasn’t declared his ambition.
Mr. Umana, who is the Managing Director of the Oil and Gas Free Zones Authority, OGFZA, said through his personal aide, Inyang Unya, that the report was “pure fabrication by the same people who have been publishing one fictitious story after another about leaders of the APC in the state”.
Mr. Umana said, “the relationship between Umana and Ekere is that of harmony and robust collaboration by two leaders who are working together to shore up the fortunes of the All Progressives Congress to ensure that the party wins all elective positions in the forthcoming general elections in the state.”