Just three years ago the imagination of Obong Godswill Akpabio playing second fiddle in the affairs of Akwa Ibom State seemed a near impossibility.
As he neared the end of his eight-year regime, the apostle of the Uncommon Transformation of Akwa Ibom had in the imagination of the public transformed the pace and pattern of politics in Akwa Ibom into his image.
He was the governor whose wife many commissioners had to curtsy to before speaking in private or in public.
He was the man who at the peak of his hegemony over Akwa Ibom just a few years ago was seemingly heralded as the maker of modern Akwa Ibom. Obong Akpabio was in the reckoning of many projected to loom large over his selected successor in the nearest future.
His ascension to the national plane and his enthronement as Senate Minority Leader, some supposed, would even help sustain him as the godfather of Akwa Ibom Politics.
So when last Thursday a group of acolytes of the incumbent governor, Mr. Udom Emmanuel published a rebuttal to aspersions made by some former aides of Governor Akpabio in an earlier publication, it revealed that the Akpabio hegemony had come to an end.
The Akpabio Boys under the aegis of Forum of Former Aides To Gov. GOA had alleged that the incumbent governor had refused to pay those they dubbed as Akpabio Boys their statutory allowances even while he, Emmanuel, also a former aide of Governor Akpabio, paid himself and some other selected confidants. Insinuations of a rift in the uncommonly transformed political heritage left by Akpabio is one that many had been whispering.
READ:Again, Akpabio’s Former Special Assistant blasts Udom: Akwa Ibom State does not have a sound industrialization policy
However, to the credit of the two men, Akpabio and Emmanuel, they have sustained a public and maybe a private cordiality that betrays the scepticism often conveyed by aides and associates of the two men.
The relationship between governors and their successors is one that is often handled with much circumspection especially when the transition was carefully arranged as in Akwa Ibom and some states like Abia, Sokoto, Cross River where the incumbents projected their chosen successors to office.
The situation is seemingly awkward in some other instances like Delta, Lagos, and Ebonyi for example.
In these states, though the same political parties as that of the incumbents won the governorship, the incumbents were not initially supported by their predecessors in the party primaries.
It is thus not surprising that it took the minister of power, works and housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola 22 months after he left office to meet his successor, Akinwunmi Ambode.
Even more few would have noted the fact that Fashola was conspicuously missing at most of the activities that were organized to mark the 50th anniversary of Lagos State.
If the incumbent governors of Delta, Lagos and Ebonyi and their immediate predecessors tread with caution when relating with one another, the relationship between governors of Rivers, Benue, Niger among other states and their predecessors where succession was through hostile takeover can be better imagined.
READ: Akpabio ’s Former Special Assistant Passes a Damning Vote of no Confidence on Gov. Udom Emmanuel’s Industrialization Efforts
The acerbic attacks between Governors Nyesom Wike and his predecessor, Rotimi Chibuke Amaechi which this week sunk deeper with insinuations against their wives is only an example of what happens when there is a hostile takeover. Wike, like some of other governors who came to power after hostile takeovers all, seem determined to send their predecessors to prison.
It is the determination to avoid such public obloquy that inevitably hardens the hearts of incumbent governors that make them go to the extreme to ensure they push forward only those they believe can protect them and give them the kind of aura that bespeaks the feeling of continuity in office even if they have left office.
By Emmanuel Aziken
The Killer Punch News | Latest News About Akwa Ibom, Nigeria
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