It would appear that the fear of the unknown and a possible descent into political oblivion upon the completion of the constitutional two terms allowed for governors is, perhaps, driving the Akpabios to do the unthinkable.

Recently, the Akwa Ibom state Commissioner for Rural Development, Barrister Effiong Abia, was said to have been duped of the sum of N20 million by the trio of Emem, Prince and Ibanga Akpabio, cousins of Governor Godswill Akpabio, who are derogatorily referred to as the Ukana mafia in political circles.

The Akpabios reportedly extorted the money from the Commissioner under the false pretext of using the said sum to facilitate the governor’s consent for Abia to contest the 2015 governorship election.

Abia, a former commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs who hails from Mbo Local Government area of the state was reportedly lured by the Ukana mafia to the governor’s homestead in Ukana Ikot Ntuen, Essien Udim Local Government Area where he was made to pledge the release of the said sum in exchange for the governor’s endorsement.

The Commissioner was said to have also been subjected to an oath-taking ritual of the dreaded local mbiam which binds him to his pledge of giving the money to the Akpabio brothers.

Our efforts to get the commissioner’s reaction to the allegation which is like an open secret in the state proved abortive as he could not be reached for comments.

However, a source who craves anonymity said extorting money from hapless politicians who are seeking political offices in the 2015 general elections in 2015 has become a money making venture for the governor’s kinsmen.

The Akpabios understand the enormous influence of their brother as executive governor of the oil-rich state and have continued to leverage his clout and authority to their advantage. The governance of Akwa Ibom State is a family affair for the Akpabios, or so it seems.

Chief Emem Akpabio, is widely regarded as the “Godfather of Akwa Ibom Politics” even though he works in the private sector. His word is said to be law. Prince Akpabio, popularly known as “The Mega Prince of Akwa Ibom” is the Personal Assistant to Governor Akpabio and is quite influential too, while Ibanga Akpabio is the two- term Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Akwa Ibom, and is seen as a “governor” in his own right. The governor’s elder brother, Ekan is the big masquerade that only makes occasional appearance in the arena at momentous occasions while his younger sibling Nsentim, no less influential, has chosen to operate from the background.





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