Godswill Akpabio, former Minority Leader of the Senate, has denied reports his relationship with Emmanuel Udom, Governor of Akwa Ibom State, is strained.
Emmanuel was largely unknown in political circles until 2013, when he was appointed Secretary to the State Government (SSG) by Akpabio. With Akpabio’s support, Udom went on to become Governor of the state two years later.
Akpabio was a Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Governor at the time but he has formally defected to the All Progressives Congress (APC) — a move predated by rumours that he and his protégé had strained their relationship.
But when asked on Channels TV’s Politics Today if this was true, following his defection, Akpabio said: “No, no, no. I don’t have any issue with the current Governor of Akwa Ibom State, His Excellency Udom Gabriel Emmanuel. He remains my Governor, and a godfather to my children. I don’t have any issue with him.
“If there are local issues, these are things we can sit down on the table and resolve. And, for me, I think of the national interest. I believe strongly that with the challenges we’re having now, all hands should be on deck.
“So many people are being killed in Plateau, so many are being killed in Benue, so many are being killed in Taraba, so many in Taraba, Boko Haram has not abated, herdsmen clashing with farmers, South-East we have the IPOB, South-South militants are still not totally satisfied… We have challenges all over the country.”
Asked if it was true he was nursing the ambition of becoming Senate President, he said: “I don’t have any intention of becoming Senate President today. But I have every intention of becoming whatever God wants me to become.
“My name is Godswill, and I believe in the will of God. I believe so much more in the will of God more than the will of man.”