The Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Akwa Ibom State, has barred its members from making further comments on the political feud between the state governor, Udom Emmanuel, and the Senate Minority Leader, Godswill Akpabio.
The party’s decision was communicated to members during a caucus meeting on Saturday in Uyo.
Mr. Emmanuel, Mr. Akpabio, and the Speaker of the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly, Onofiok Luke, were present in the meeting, chaired by the state chairman of the PDP, Paul Ekpo.
Other party chieftains who attended the meeting were the PDP National Legal Adviser, Emmanuel Enoidem, a former Minister of Lands, Housing and Urban Development, Nduese Essien, and a former commissioner for works in the state, Don Etim.
At the meeting, the governor sat on the high table, alongside Mr. Akpabio and a former senator, Effiong Bob, who had accused Mr. Akpabio of trying to blackmail the governor.
The governor and Mr. Akpabio were meeting for the first time since their feud became public about two weeks ago.
“When the governor was speaking, he gave due respect to the senator. When the senator was speaking, he gave due respect to the governor,” the PDP spokesperson in the state, Iniobong Ememobong, told PREMIUM TIMES, Sunday. “They both walked side by side and left at the end of the meeting.”
Mr. Ememobong said the feud between the two was a “creation of mischief-makers.”
The PDP at the meeting passed a vote of confidence on Mr. Emmanuel and assured the governor of their support towards his re-election in 2019.
The party also restated its commitment to the zoning of all the elective offices in the state in the forthcoming elections and appealed to its members to be united.
The former senator, Mr. Bob, another former senator, Anietie Okon, and a former military governor of the state, Idongesit Nkanga, about a week ago, came out to back Mr. Emmanuel against Mr. Akpabio.
They accused the senator of trying to blackmail the governor.
“Reality must admit that Senator Akpabio in the eight years as Governor of the state did not even complete and commission one kilometre of road in the core oil producing areas of the state where Governor Udom Emmanuel comes from,” Messrs. Bob, Okon, Nkanga, and other leaders from the Uyo senatorial district had said in a communique.
“In the interests of peace and unity, the Ikot Ekpene Senatorial District should caution Senator Godswill Akpabio to desist from making unfounded utterances intended to create ethnic conflicts in Akwa Ibom State to serve his personal benefit.
“We encourage Senator Godswill Akpabio to respect conventions, values, and principles that would sustain the prevailing peace in the state and allow the sleeping dog to lie.
“We debunk and disagree totally with the insinuation made by Senator Godswill Akpabio that ‘all is not well’ and declare boldly that it is well with us,” the Uyo leaders had said.
Mr. Bob and co, interestingly, had stood with Mr. Akpabio in the past, when he was the governor, to fight his then mentor and predecessor, Victor Attah.