Emerging reports allege that President Muhammadu Buhari, who got reelected at the recently concluded Nigerian election, has excluded Senator Godswill Akpabio from his list of new ministers.
The report by Vanguard said that Buhari is more open to keeping Udoma Udo, the current Minister of Budget and National Planning, who also hails from Akwa Ibom State because he is impressed with his level-headedness and for serving as a bridge-builder between the Federal and Akwa Ibom State Governments, since coming on board and helping to create stability and harmony among the two tiers of government.
The report, which quoted a presidential source, revealed that even though the President admired Udoma’s towering leadership and administrative credentials, the Minister has made it clear that he will serve only one term and retire from public service, having put in many years serving Nigeria and its people, in different spheres. This reportedly leaves the President with the option of choosing his replacement from the same state and both people who fit the profile are Godswill Akpabio and Senator Ita Enang, who currently serves as the Senior Special Assistant to the President, on National Assembly Matters (Senate).
Although, Akpabio will be a good fit for the position because he was a former Governor of the state and mobilised support for the ruling party during the recently concluded Presidential election, members of the party in the state are opposed to Akpabio’s candidacy.
The political stakeholders in the state have made it clear that Akpabio should not get the position soon. A power broker in the State, disclosed that they will rather stay without a Minister, than recommend Akpabio to become one; a post that would automatically elevate him to become an APC Political Leader in the State.
The choice of Ita Enang, which appears to be more appealing to the APC fold in the State, however hangs in the balance, since some of the Political Leaders feel that he has been in government since 1999; first, as Member of the House of Representatives for 12 years, and later as Senator for 4 years, before being appointed Presidential Aide in 2015, by Buhari. Many Political Leaders are said to prefer Enang, a Lawyer, to Akpabio, apparently because of his calm political and conciliatory disposition.
Many of those who are opposed to Akpabio, argued that although Enang also defected to the APC in 2015, he did not do anything to cause disaffection between the State and the Federal Government on one hand, and between his former party and the new one.
As at Tuesday night, there was no indication that the uncertainty over the ministerial slot for Akwa Ibom State, had been settled. There were indications that fresh names have been considered by the Presidency, leaving out Akpabio and Enang.
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