It was a tug of war, Saturday night, when the Vice President of Nigeria, Prof Yemi Osinbajo, allegedly lambasted the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio, for reneging on his official responsibility as a member of the Federal Executive Council.
Akpabio who was meant to be a member of the Vice President’s entourage to the anniversary of the State’s creation, went conspicuously missing, allowing only Senator Ita Enang to be seen at the commissioning sites that afternoon.
At a meeting later Saturday evening at the residence of the APC Governorship candidate, Nsima Ekere, Osinbajo was said to have lampooned Akpabio for showing him disrespect, and shunning the state commissioning exercise.
Akpabio and other APC members last year despised the state government and organised a parallel Anniversary Thanksgiving service to mark the State’s 31st anniversary, where the preacher Bishop Josephine Egar prophesied that God said He will replace Governor Emmanuel with Nsima Ekere in 2019.
But this year, many Akwa Ibom people heaved a sigh of relief when former Senator Godswill Akpabio ate the humble pie and attended the Thanksgiving Service organised to mark the 32nd anniversary of the state.
It was gathered that Nsima Ekere, former deputy Governor, shunned the event despite being invited officially, to avoid accepting the sad reality that he has lost the 2019 Governorship elections for which he had sunk in so much money.
At the Commissioning of projects on Saturday by the Vice President, Governor Emmanuel preached that “political party is only a platform to occupy an office. Once election is over, politics drops and we move to governance.
Commending Senator Ita Enang of the APC for attending the event, the governor said, “Through our Dakadda creed, I have always preached that we should rise above biases, political and otherwise”.
Although it is generally adjudged that the immediate past Governor Akpabio in company of his wife, made his way to the Ibom Hall Ground, as a show of repentance, it has been revealed that he was actually directed by the Vice President to attend the event.
At the event, the Vice President was thereafter approached by the Akpabios to honour the Senator by accompanying them to their country home in Ukana.
Despite series of appeals and manipulations, Osinbajo maintained his stance, and shunned the invitation to the Minister’s home for lunch.
The interdenominational service was the first occasion that three former indigenous Governors of Akwa Ibom State, Idongesit Nkanga, Obong Victor Attah and Chief Godswill Akpabio would sit together in an official state function.
All through Akpabio’s era Attah was never welcomed to events hosted in the state, and even had the misfortune of not being granted access to use the Ibom Hotel and Golf Resort(which he built), to celebrate his 70th birthday.
At the occasion, the Vice President preached for the prosperity and wellbeing of the state, and urged all to turn a new leaf and strengthen their faith in God.
Praying at the occasion, legendary papal figure, Dr. Sunday Mbang prayed for forgiveness to repentant enemies of the state, while asking God to end the life of anyone seeking to destroy the state.
Governor Emmanuel in his speech at the occasion, said the state chose the theme “For I believe God”, in line with the belief that God will keep his promise to flourish the state and deliver it from those seeking its downfall.
Mr Emmanuel said, “For we believe God because David, who Saul wanted to kill, said in Psalms, ‘let the wickedness of the wicked come to an end’ in our state.”
Earlier on Saturday morning, during the monthly Government House Prayers, Governor Emmanuel had dropped a hint that several people from the state attempted to mortgage the interest of the state, when they went to convince the Vice President against attending the anniversary celebration, on the basis that it would enhance the popularity of PDP in the state.