2023: OBA Chickens Out?
Barely one week to the 2023 Governorship election, the candidate of the Young Progressive Party (YPP) in Akwa Ibom State, Senator Bassey Albert Akpan, might withdraw from the race.
Findings revealed that there is palpable tension in the air in the State, following the presidential election in which Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu of the All Progressives Congress (APC) was declared winner in a very controversial manner.
It was gathered that OBA is under serious pressure to collapse his structures and turnover support to the APC governorship candidate for governor to avoid completely losing out in the battle for the hilltop mansion and his personal freedom.
An insider who pleaded anonymity due to the utmost confidentiality of the plot noted that since APC has won the presidency, OBA is being persuaded to succumb to the plot to collapse his structures for APC in return for pardon for his recent conviction, for Akan Udofia, whose party is already with structures in the State.
The insider further opined that Senator Akpan’s lobby to toe the line of supporting the Guber project of Akan Udofia was not only for presidential pardon on his conviction status but also for a possible Ministerial appointment too.
However OBA’s resistance to the deal is hinged on the fact that he has more experience and more supporters and could prove a more formidable opposition to the intimidating forces of supporters loyal to the PDP candidate, Pastor Umo Eno.
Bassey Albert who only recently lost his seat in the Senate at the court due to his defection, is said to have argued that he has invested more in the election while Akan Udofia is only a first timer.
The source said the argument is that the last election showed that APC has more presence in the state compared to YPP and it should be OBA stepping down for Akan Udofia.
He further highlighted “OBA is in a bigger trouble than Akan. The possibility of Supreme Court declaring Akan as APC governorship candidate next week is there. But there is no possibility of OBA getting off the hook of conviction for bribery and fraud for which he had been earlier convicted by the federal high Court Uyo”.
The insider said to avoid the backlash that may accompany OBA’s sudden volte face in the Guber project, he is reluctant to accept a withdrawal from the race to avert his people getting offended with him, so that he can at least win the House of Assembly election for his State Constituency for YPP.
Meanwhile, there has been a lot of housekeeping in the APC governorship campaign circle, one of which is the planned arrangement of a lady who can stand in as Akan Udofia’s wife, so she can be presented to the public immediately supreme court decision goes in his favour.