As the 2019 Presidential elections inexorably draws near which will precisely take place on the 16th of February 2019, the people of Akwa Ibom state have expressed readiness to exercise one of their most important civic responsibilities, which is voting their choiced candidate on the day of election.
Out of the thirty or more presidential candidates cleared by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, there are two prominent contenders in the race which are the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party PDP, Atiku Abubakar and his opponent, the candidate of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Muhhammadu Buhari who is also the incumbent President.
prior to the current political development in Akwa Ibom State, PDP enjoyed overwhelming support of the people of the state but from the current events, and the interaction with observers and the political stalwarts, it appears the status quo has changed as many people now have divergent political views and ideologies.
Supporters of the two main political parties – APC and PDP have been on their toes for over one month, moving to the nooks and crannies of the state, canvassing votes for their political parties.
However, in an interaction with the Catholic Bishop of Uyo Diocease, Dr. John Ayah on how his members will vote in the presidential election, he said that he always encourages his members to vote for their conscience and not to allow any politician buy their votes.
“We Catholics are not into partisan politics, we pray for Nigeria in distress. We don’t persuade our members to vote for a particular political party or a candidate who may even disappoint, rather we speak to people’s conscience and make them to be acquainted with what is happening and allow them vote their conscience. So we cannot tell them Vote PDP or APC,” he said.
In his reaction, a University Don of the University of Uyo, Prof. Emmanuel Onwiuduokit, “No sane person will vote APC in Akwa Ibom State except those whose brains have to be checked. The nightmare has to be stopped, so that, things will be better for the common man.
“What happened in Ogun state was just small compared to what will happen on Saturday. Peoples’ eyes have opened. They are better informed now than before, therefore we are coming out on Saturday to vote PDP 100 percent. ”
A trader in the state who simply identified himself as Chijioke said, “obviously I will vote for Atiku for better Nigeria once again. I believe that the worst of Atiku will be the best of Buhari. Buhari’s policies really made things difficult for our business to thrive, besides, he is not strong enough to occupy that office for the next four years, let him go and rest because even now, it is a cabal that is controlling his government.”
Another person when asked how he will vote in the presidential election simply said, “I am Atikulated.”
However, others have expressed views that Buhari’s reelection will help to restore sanity in the country and stabilize the economy.
Okon, a tricycle operator said Buhari will be re-elected, saying that his fight against corruption has put fear in the minds of some dubious politicians.
According to him, “On Saturday, I will go out and vote APC, Buhari was not the person that made things difficult in Nigeria. Things were already bad before he came into power, and he has been trying to fix them. Let’s give him time he will do wonders.”
A tailor, Donald, said, “i will vote APC on Saturday, let him continue his good work. Atiku is corrupt. Gone are the days when we said Akwa Ibom is 100 percent PDP, now our eyes are opened. We don’t want PDP again. We want APC and my PVC is ready to vote Baba Buhari come 16th February 2019.”
Some political thinkers are of the opinion that with the massive movement of political heavyweights from the PDP to the APC in company of former Governor and Senate Minority Leader, Godswill Akpabio, the APC may take over the State as they are fully on ground just as the PDP are in the State.
Others are, however, of the opinion that there is a powerful feeling and sentiment among Akwa Ibom people that Udom Emmanuel has been constantly harassed and intimidated by the power that be at the centre, hence the PDP will get sympathy votes, as the governor remains the symbol of the party in the State.
For now with all the differring opinions, it remains unknown where the pendulum will swing; only time will tell.
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