With a sitting governor from PDP, and a formidable presidential candidate in Abubakar Atiku, a situation has arisen showcasing a too close to call verdict.

Chidi Obineche

In the 2015 presidential elections and indeed previous ones, Akwa Ibom state voted for the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP. Specifically, it gave the PDP 953, 304 votes out of total votes of 1,017, 064 in 2015. The nature and style of voting was self-evident.

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The state has a tradition of bandwagon slant in their voting preferences and choices. But that was then. New dynamics and considerations have permeated the body polity. A vast coterie of the political elite of the state is now within the confines of the opposition APC which controls the central government. This penurious situation has in tow engendered a frenetic campaign of the APC and its presidential candidate, Muhammadu Buhari. But the breathtaking nature of the governorship tussle has left pundits guessing on how the pendulum will swing. With a sitting governor from PDP, and a formidable presidential candidate in Abubakar Atiku, a pernicious situation has arisen showcasing a too close to call verdict. A mammoth federal political appointees made by Buhari may after all turn the apple cart, as it were. These include Senator Ita Enang, Senior Special Assistant to the president on National Assembly matters, the Managing Director of the EPZ Mr Ime Umannah, the Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, Obong Nsima Ekere, the minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Udo Udoma, Senator Nelson Effiong, among others.

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This is a point that has been deeply canvassed by many bookmakers. This rare assemblage of persona from the state, it is believed, will spare no effort in swinging victory for the president. Res ipsa loquitor (the act speaks for itself). Leading a delegation of this political elite to the president recently, Akpabio, the immediate past governor of the state who defected from the PDP to the APC said,“From the caliber of people you have seen here today, the strength and character of the delegation, the capacities of the personalities you saw, it is clear that president Buhari will win Akwa Ibom state come 2019 general elections.

“He will not only win, he will win with a landslide. I can predict that the first state in Nigeria to fall to the APC in 2019 presidential elections will be Akwa Ibom state. Nobody can controvert it; I say so with authority because I have the backing of my people to pronounce it – victory for APC and victory for Buhari come 2019 in Akwa Ibom State.”

The changing tides have made the party upbeat with series of massive rallies held across the state. This, notwithstanding, the contribution and influence of Akwa Ibom delegates in the emergence of the presidential candidate of Abubakar Atiku cannot be underestimated. The State provided the highest number of delegates at the party’s presidential primary in Port Harcourt. It is believed that this cohesion and single-mindedness in pursuit of a goal can be replicated in the support for Atiku in the presidential contest in the state.

However, the political stature and popularity of the governorship candidates of the two leading parties in the state will invariably cast a statement on the voting pattern for the president in the state. Nsima Ekere, has through his interventionist role with NDDC extended several infrastructural facilities to the state, more than ever before, and this may score a bull’s eye in the perception of the electorate. He exhumed a principle in the NDDC act that confers on member states, projects based on a scale or quantum of oil production.

Akwa Ibom State is number one among oil-producing states, and it follows from the convention that it deserves more projects. Since the presidential election will come before that of the governorship, analysts contend that a victory for either of the two may transcend to easy victory for the corresponding governorship candidate. And this will ultimately bifurcate primordial sentiments and loyalties.

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