Special Report: Why Akpabio lost
By Nigeria Today team, Uyo.
(Edited by Imaobong Udo)
We were on ground during the build-up to the campaign, we followed the campaign train of the Former Deputy Governor, Chris Ekpenyong and we also followed the campaign train of the former Senate Minority leader, Godswill Akpabio.
According to our findings and the response from political stalwart in the area, here are the reasons that lead to Akpabio’s Failure:
1. He did not campaign widely
While the former deputy governor and the PDP team toured all the wards in the 10 local government area of the Senatorial district, the former Senate Minority leader only toured the Local government headquarters of the 10 LGA.
According to an APC stalwart, Akpabio was very confidence that he will win even without consulting and engaging with his people. The man noted that Akpabio was always boasting that he was going to use Federal might to win the election.
Aniefiok NseAbasi, our reporter who was following his campaign train noted that Akpabio was focusing more on the Presidential election than his election. He believed that, Akapbio was certain that PDP will win the Presidential election in Akwa Ibom but he was only interested in reducing the vote margin.
Our editor who was following the train of the PDP noted that the former deputy governor visited at least 91% of the wards in the 10 LGA of the Senatorial district and was able to interact one-on-one with women groups, youth groups and other political structure of each ward.
2. The issue of political party.
Take nothing away from the People Democratic Party (PDP), they are on ground. Akpabio was a commissioner under a PDP government before becoming a governor with a PDP ticket, then a Senator with a PDP ticket.
The All Progressives Congress (APC) on the other hands does not have a strong structure in the Senatorial district.
In Every wards we visited, PDP had at least 20-50 mobilzers while APC was struggling to have 4.
3. He underatted his challenger ( Christopher Ekpenyong)
Everyone we interviewed on the APC side before the election sees Chris Ekpenyong as a push over, someone who can easily be beaten. Hence, Akpabio completely ignored making any reference to his Senatorial election, rather he was 100% focused on the presidential and governorship election.
Our chat with a PDP stalwart, Dr Udoma Ekarika made us to understand that Chris Ekpenyong they ignored was among the people in the Senatorial district that fought for the governorship to be zoned to the Senatorial district which Akpabio eventually enjoyed.
According to him, Chris Ekpenyong was fondly called Ukarapa (Someone that is powerful) for a reason. He told our team that Akpabio was no match for Ukarapa that Akpabio was hiding under the Umbrella of the PDP before to fly.
4. Akpabio’s performance when he was the governor.
According to a PDP stalwart, the two LGA that Akpabio won were the only LGA that he did something for in the Senatorial district when he was the governor.
For instance, Essien Udim which is his home town has a Mobile police base, Federal polytechnic and so many internal road network.
Ikot Ekpene LGA has a plaza, a Four point by sheraton hotel and good road network all built by Akpabio’s administration.
The other 8 LGA according to our findings had nothing or little to show for Akpabio’s governorship, hence their decision to turn against him.