Vice President of Nigeria, Prof Yemi Osinbajo on Friday shunned the commissioning of the St. Gabriel’s Coconut Refinery in Mkpat Enin, Akwa Ibom State.
The Vice President arrived Uyo arrived the Victor Attah International Airport on Friday afternoon and was received by Governor Udom Emmanuel and some chieftains of the All Progressives Congress.
Immediately after the airport reception, Prof Osinbajo moved to the Council of Chiefs Hall, Wellington Bassey Way, Uyo to consult the Traditional Rulers Council for his presidential ambition while Governor Emmanuel and his team left to Mkpat Enin for the commissioning exercise.
After meeting with the royal fathers, the Vice President left to consult the waiting APC delegates in Akwa Ibom ahead of the forthcoming presidential primary of the ruling party.
TheMail can report that modalities were set in place by the state government to have the Vice President commission the project, with the event given massive publicity in both national and state-based media platforms.
With the Vice President unable to attend the event, Governor Emmanuel turned to his friend and Director General of his presidential campaign council, Senator Gabriel Suswam to perform the commissioning.
Suwam, while speaking at the commissioning, said the Vice President could not attend the event because he is vying for the same office which Udom Emmanuel is equally eying.
“I am humbled to be here. By stroke of fate, I will be the one commissioning this history making project. On the programme, you would see that the Vice President of our dear country was supposed to be here. The Vice President has been here several times to commission different projects. So, if he is unable to be here today we can excuse him, knowing that he also wants the same seat that your son (Udom Emmanuel) is vying for. And it would not be in his own interest to promote him (Udom) over and above himself. So we can excuse the Vice President for not being here. You do want someone to come and compete with your own son who wants to be president…”, Suswam said as he went on to commission the project after Governor Emmanuel’s speech.
Credible Government House sources told TheMail that Vice President’s main purpose of coming to Akwa Ibom was to consult the APC delegates over his presidential ambition and not to commission the coconut refinery.
“The Vice President’s primary objective of coming to Akwa Ibom is to consult APC delegates. As you might have noticed, information by government media handlers about the Vice President coming to commission the project was only out in the media space about a day ago. That is because the commissioning was not the Vice President’s main purpose of coming to the state. They only tried to factor it in to the VP’s itinerary. The state government tried to ‘hijack’ him into commissioning the project before he goes for his presidential consultation. But it didn’t turn out as the governor expected.
“The governor’s advisers have not done well. They are the ones that caused the governor this embarrassment. This is not the first time the state government has hurriedly hijacked the visit of a senior national figure. When former President Goodluck Jonathan visited this state in October 2021, he was to flag off NMA/Hensek Medical outreach in Ikot Abasi and attend the NMA Physician’s Week. But the state government which was not planning any commissioning that day quickly fixed the commissioning of the General Hospital, Ikot Ekpene. The former President’s itinerary couldn’t accommodate going to both Ikot Ekpene and Ikot Abasi. Hensek had to alter his event in order to accommodate the commissioning of the General Hospital. Much to the chagrin of the former President and his team, the Governor was not there to attend the event. Since the commissioning was hurriedly packaged, the governor had a prescheduled engagement outside the state, so he couldn’t attend it”, our source said.