Today is the senatorial primaries of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Akwa Ibom state. The exercise is meant to decide who fly the flags of both parties, at the senatorial district level, respectively. The PDP is using indirect primaries – simply put, delegates’ election. And the APC is using direct system of primaries – meaning all registered party members voting at the 329 ward centres across the state.

Of interest here is, both the PDP and the APC in Ikot Ekpene senatorial district have already adopted their candidates through consensus arrangements, making it less contentious for the political parties.

The PDP was first to adopt Engr. Christopher Ekpenyong in a stakeholders’ meeting in Ikot Ekpene and lately, the APC followed with Senator Godswill Akpabio being the beneficiary.

Akpabio is currently representing the zone at the red chambers of the national assembly. Before he (Akpabio) joined the APC in August 8, 2018; Chief Inibehe Okorie and Obongemem Ekperikpe Ekpo had been in the race. Susceptible, Akpabio’s “uncommon” entrance into APC, may have caused a reasonable change of political calculations and permutations in the body chemistry of both political parties.

For instance, prior to today (October 2, 2018) there was intense maneuvering and politicking between the duo of Okorie and Ekpo ahead of today’s primary to decide who picks the APC ticket. But, all that is gone and become history. Both gentlemen exercised ‘uncommon’ statesmanship. They stepped down for Akpabio to emerge the party’s sole senatorial candidate for the 2019 poll. And that has reduced the tension in the polity.

Hence, I am not looking at the possible outcome of the ongoing primaries of both parties. We already know it. For those who may not know, Chris Ekpenyong is the PDP candidate and Godswill Akpabio is the APC’s, the primaries are just the mandatory electoral requirement to formalize their candidature as expected by law.

PDP candidate, Ekpenyong is a successful entrepreneur with vast experience in the public and private sector; a former deputy governor of the state. He hails from Obot Akara one of the three local government areas in Akpabio’s federal constituency. Ekpenyong is a founding member of the PDP in Akwa Ibom state.
APC candidate, Akpabio is the immediate past two-term Governor of Akwa Ibom state who until August 8, 2018, was the senate minority leader.

I have theorized on different fora that, the PDP has lost total control of Ikot Ekpene senatorial zone to the APC in the forthcoming 2019 general elections. I want Google to archive this piece for me. It will form part of my working tools after the 2019 general elections. For the umpteenth time, Godswill Akpabio is a big catch for the APC family and a big lost to the PDP family. He wield such an overwhelming political influence not just on the people of his geopolitical zone but on a larger chunk of Akwa Ibom politicians, take it or leave it.

The last PDP joker, for me, is to front Chris Ekpenyong for the 2019 senatorial seat of Ikot Ekpene. Even though, it is a face-saving political drama organized by a few political actors from that zone to hoodwink our governor and possibly extort monies from him in the name of prosecuting the senatorial election for the PDP. This is one of the expensive jokes, I hate to talk about.

As a newspaper publisher, I am a businessman, I make wise investments with my resources. I only invest in the areas where I am sure of making profits. That is why I wonder the reason behind the PDP investing her resources in Ikot Ekpene senatorial elections, knowing that it is counterproductive to field a candidate for an election in an area you have little or no control of, is that not a wasted investment?

As it were, Godswill Akpabio has conquered his political territory for his political party – the APC. I may not be a politician, but I am quick to advise the PDP to forget Ikot Ekpene senatorial zone and look for another zone to conquer, simple!

I am wont to saying that needless of the PDP working tirelessly to replace Akpabio in the senate in 2019. This man has the control and strong grassroots structures on ground in his zone to floor his opponents in the forthcoming 2019 polls. That’s why in my previous articles, I made passive advice that Governor Udom Emmanuel should rather concentrate on his second term ambition and forget about carrying unnecessary baggage on his shoulders. This is another baggage the governor must drop.

For whatever it worth, the choice of Engr. Chris Ekpenyong was too hasty for my likened. Why didn’t the party consider a more dynamic, energetic and resourceful politician. Ekpenyong is good in his own right, but, at least, why not Barr. Emmanuel Enoidem, the current National Legal Adviser of the PDP, who hails from Etim Ekpo LGA? Okay, since the PDP needed to field someone with engineering background, why didn’t it pick Engr. Etido Inyang, the current chairman of Ibom Power Company from Ikot Ekpene LGA? These two men might have turned down the party’s offer because, they know the political tide of the zone won’t favour them either.

Don’t misconstrue my point here. I am explicitly saying that up till this moment, my findings show that Engr. Christopher Ekpenyong – the PDP senatorial candidate is unable to kick start his senatorial consultations. I have also made several contacts in the zone and I can say for sure that, Ekpenyong might have the political zeal but lacks the political energy to drive this herculean task placed on him by his party men against his wish.
Yes! This cross Ekpenyong is carrying is not his own. It was imposed on him by a few PDP stakeholders in order to show the governor that they are working hard to stop Godswill Akpabio’s second term with Chris Ekpenyong as his replacement.

And my governor has fallen for it so easily. It is not late to rescind his decision to bankroll an exercise in futility. This particular project is dead on arrival. I am not from Ikot Ekpene senatorial zone, but like the governor, I am from Eket senatorial zone. But, my opinion is borne out of patriotism. I desire for my governor to see reason with me that, it will be better and lesser load for him, if he focuses attention on his re-election, than spending his limited time, to strategize on how to win back a defeated territory. The political battle ahead of Udom Emmanuel is not a tea party.

• Franklyn Isong is a public affairs commentator and conscience of the society.


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