Akwa Ibom State Governor, Udom Emmanuel has denied any ‘face-off’ with his predecessor, Godswill Akpabio.
“In my honour, as I’m standing here I don’t have a problem with a single person,” Mr Emmanuel said on Friday while speaking with reporters at Government House, Uyo.
“There is no human being on planet earth that will tell you hey, that man you are seeing there he doesn’t greet me.
“You know it is one thing for you to go your way, you don’t know you have an issue with Eddy but another thing for Eddy to say that man you’re seeing there has issues with me. But the man might not even be aware.”
He was responding to a question from a reporter who asked him what he was doing to end the “undeniable face-off” with his predecessor.
Mr Emmanuel, however, said, “There is a difference between politics and having issues (with people),” apparently wanting to leave the impression that his differences with Mr Akpabio was political, and not personal.
Mr Akpabio, while still the governor of Akwa Ibom, played a leading role in the emergence of Mr Emmanuel as his successor in 2015.
However, the relationship between the two became soured soon after Mr Emmanuel became governor, and then Mr Akpabio in 2018 defected from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the All Progressives Congress.
Mr Akpabio, after defection, lost an election in 2019 and failed to return to the Senate where he had served as the minority leader.
He was later appointed the minister of Niger Delta Affairs by President Muhammadu Buhari.
Governor Emmanuel said the question the reporter asked was “very critical and sensitive”. He also called it “banana peel”.
Akpabio’s hotel project
Governor Emmanuel talked about the numerous projects inherited from past administrations and what he was doing with them.
One of them is a multi-million dollar hotel project in Ikot Ekpene, initiated by Mr Akpabio’s administration.
The hotel, called Four-Point by Sheraton, was inaugurated by Mr Akpabio a few days to the end of his administration, although it was not completed.
“Let us understand this thing for an umpteenth time; a building is not a hotel so let us not confuse ourselves. There is a difference between a building and a hotel. There are few things that make a building a hotel,” Mr Emmanuel told reporters.
“If you say we inherited a building I agree. I didn’t inherit a hotel.”
He said the hotel was 64 per cent completed when he took over as governor, and that his administration took it to 99 per cent completion as of the first quarter of 2020.
“What is remaining can be done in three months which is just the system that can run and link it up with Starwood all over the world,” he said.
Mr Emmanuel also said there was a need to amend certain clauses in the agreement with Starwood so that the state government could get returns for its investment in the hotel.