Godswill Akpabio b

Ahead of his expected declaration for the 2015 presidential race,

supporters of President Goodluck Jonathan appear to have been pitted

against one another.

 

The development has threatened the cohesion of the president’s camp as

preparations for the general elections gather momentum.

 

Although signs of suppressed rumbles have been noticeable in the

president’s political family since late last year, the real threat

became glaring recently as pseudo-mobilisation bodies heightened their

struggle for space in the expected campaign structure that may emerge

in a few months.

 

The latest sign of cold war materialised in Akwa Ibom State one week

after a similar case in the president’s home state, Bayelsa, in the

form of a supremacy battle.

 

Already, Governor Godswill Akpabio is said to have complained to

Jonathan about the activities of the presidential adviser on political

matters, Ahmed Ali Gulak.

 

Akpabio, who is also the chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party

(PDP) Governors’ Forum has reportedly asked Jonathan to call Gulak to

order by asking the presidential aide to steer clear of his state as

the 2015 election approaches.

 

The governor is said to be unhappy over the ‘back-door’ approach the

presidential aide is alleged to be adopting to make incursions into

Akwa Ibom on the pretence of garnering support for Jonathan’s

re-election in 2015.

 

He specifically accused Gulak of fraternising and associating with his

political enemies in the state.

 

Akpabio was not comfortable that Gulak was giving tacit encouragement

to some of his estranged political associates who are pursuing agenda

different from his own in the countdown towards 2015.

 

The governor was particularly angered by Gulak’s well-publicised

political fraternity with his (Akpabio’s) former deputy, Obong Nsima

Ekere, and ex-secretary to the state government (SSG), Umana Okon

Umana, under the guise of membership of Goodluck Suppport Group (GSG),

one of the numerous groups rooting for the re-election of  Jonathan in

 

Gulak incurred the wrath of the governor when he stormed Uyo, the

Akwa-Ibom State capital, on Tuesday, April 14, and inaugurated the

South-South zonal office of the GSG.

 

Besides that, Gulak did not intimate the government about the visit

and his activities in the state. The ceremony was attended by Umana,

Ekere and other notable political opponents of the governor.

 

The governor was said to have considered Gulag’s action as

“disrespectful and an affront” to his exalted office.

 

Akpabio, it was learnt, was infuriated that Gulak created the

impression that he acted on behalf of the Presidency.

 

The governor’s position may have influenced the last meeting of the

Akwa Ibom chapter of the PDP, which lampooned the presidential aide

over his recent political foray into the state.

 

In the communique signed by the Akwa Ibom State PDP chairman, Mr Paul

Ekpo, the party accused Gulak of breaching existing and relevant

protocols during his visit to the state.

 

“Gulak came to Akwa Ibom State and inaugurated a sectional and an

unknown support group in favour of President Goodluck Jonathan without

calling on the state’s party leadership.

 

“Let Gulak sort out PDP problems in Adamawa State, deliver Adamawa

State to the president before rushing to safe territories like

South-South Nigeria where Jonathan requires no campaign,” the

statement said in part.

 

Also, one of our sources said: “The Akwa Ibom State governor, Chief

Godswill Akpabio, is very unhappy with the Gulak because of his recent

visit to his state. You know the governor is a known ally of Mr

President and he has reported the presidential aide to his boss for

appropriate action.

 

“How can Gulak come to the state and gather some dissidents and well

known political enemies of the governor for a nocturnal meeting under

the guise of inaugurating an office of a support group for the

president? He did not even bother to inform and relate with the

government and the party in the state during the visit.

 

“The governor considers his action as disrespectful and an affront and

he has asked Mr President to call Gulak to order and prevail on him to

stop further interference in the political affairs of the state.”

 

It could be recalled that a similar incident happened in Bayelsa State

last week as the police, allegedly acting on instructions from the

state governor, Hon. Seriake Dickson, forcefully stopped a

pro-Jonathan rally bankrolled by another presidential aide,

Waripamowei Dudafa, who is eyeing the governorship of the state in

 

The group, New Dawn Initiative for Development, led by its national

chairman Olalekan Bello and national secretary Michael Agbo Baro, had

in the announcement and invitation letters circulated to political

leaders in the state, including the state governor, Hon. Dickson,

stated that the rally would kick-start series of programmes and

activities targeted at the grassroots so that the message will gain

traction well before the 2015 election.

 

In the letter of invitation dated March 28, 2014, and sent to the

governor requesting him to attend as special guest at the rally, the

group noted that “the rally will provide a message loud enough to

reverberate in Aso Villa to the hearing of the president that his

people earnestly yearn for him to continue the good work he has

started through vehicle of his transformation agenda.”

 

The New Dawn was, however, suspected by loyalists of the state

government to be a new political machinery set up and bankrolled by

 

While many members of the New Dawn claimed the pro-Jonathan rally was

aborted by the police under instructions from the state governor due

to the rumour that it was to be used as a platform to endorse the

candidature of Dudafa as Bayelsa governor in 2016, close aides of the

governor dismissed the claim.

 

It was gathered that the leadership of the group had secured the

permission of the state police commissioner Hillary Okpara to hold the

rally at the Opolo Primary and Secondary School, in Opolo area of the

state capital, before the sudden action of the police.

 

The presidential aide, Dudafa, is touted to be eyeing the governorship

ticket of the ruling PDP, with reports linking his ambition to the

desire of the president’s wife Dame Patience Jonathan to stop Governor

Dickson from seeking a second term in office, a claim she denies.

 

However, she is said to be backing Dudafa as the next governor of Bayesla State.