Against all expectations and hype, Governor Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom State declared for a second term on Friday with the presence of only two of the 10 other Governors of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in attendance.
The boycott by most PDP Governors may not be unconnected with the widespread allegation and their suspicion that Governor Emmanuel was lobbying to join the All Progressives Congress (APC).
It was contrary to the hype by the Governor and his top officials that they were expecting the presence of all PDP Governors.
The governors of Cross River, Bayelsa, Delta, Enugu, Ebonyi, Ekiti, Taraba and Gombe states stayed away from the ceremony without any explanation or representation.
Only Governors Nyesom Wike of Rivers State and Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia State were present, arriving towards the end of the ceremony held at Godswill Akpabio International Stadium, Uyo.
Also conspicuously absent was the PDP National Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus.
Barr. Emmanuel Enoidem, the PDP National Legal Adviser, who is from Akwa Ibom State and a close associate of Governor Emmanuel, was the only member of the party’s National Working Committee present and he announced that he was representing the National Chairman.
The ceremony also witnessed the poor attendance of members of the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly.
Barr. Onofiok Luke, the Speaker of the Assembly who chaired the ceremony’s central planning committee, was able to muster the attendance of only 12 of the 24 PDP members of the Assembly.
Most speakers dwelt more on attacking Senator Godswill Akpabio, Governor Emmanuel’s predecessor and estranged godfather, than on the Governor’s performance.
Contrary to the promise he made last Monday to present his score card at his declaration ceremony, Governor Emmanuel focused more on Senator Akpabio.
“No man is God…One man in Akwa Ibom cannot determine who governs, who does not govern, who stays, who does not stay,” he said.
He sent a clear message to Sen. Akpabio: “Politeness is not weakness. So you need to go and warn them. “
Governor Emmanuel lambasted Sen. Akpabio for criticising his government’s non-completion of the Uyo-Ikot Ekpene Road and its failure to open the Four Points By Sheraton Hotel in Ikot Ekpene, located in Senator Akpabio’s Ikot Ekpene senatorial district.
In his remarks, Governor Wike said, “Akwa Ibom people, today you must thank God that you have been liberated. Some people are trying to play God.”
His Abia State counterpart, Dr. Ikpeazu said that “no one person can make a king.”
Sen. Anietie Okon, a Third Republic senator and close ally of Governor Emmanuel, also attacked Sen. Akpabio for criticising the Governor and announced that “the people of Uyo senatorial district have declared war.”