The first official visit of the wife of the President, Aisha Buhari, to Akwa Ibom State on Friday was marred by a security breach allegedly caused by the wife of Senator Godswill Akpabio, Unoma.
The incident occurred at the Victor Attah International Airport, Uyo, the state capital, when Mrs. Akpabio, was said to have made quick move to welcome the wife of the President.
Reliable sources told Saturday PUNCH that the sudden move made the protocol officers from the Presidency to quickly intervene.
The sources told our correspondent that while the door of the aircraft opened and the First Lady Aisha Buhari was preparing to come out, Mrs. Akpabio suddenly sprang from her seat to shove aside Mrs. Martha Emmanuel, the wife of incumbent governor Udom Emmanuel, who was billed to welcome the President’s wife.
This led to the door of the aircraft being shut as the President’s wife retreated and waited inside for another 25 minutes before the senator’s wife was persuaded to stop further attempts to welcome the President’s wife.
Once normalcy was restored, the aircraft doors were opened and the President’s wife disembarked from the aircraft and was received by Mrs. Emmanuel, who introduced the guest to other Akwa Ibom women at the airport waiting to receive her.
One of the sources told our correspondent in Uyo that some women at the airport expressed displeasure at Akpabio’s wife’s conduct.
The Press Secretary to Senator Akpabio, Anietie Ekong, however, said even though he was not at the event, there was no breach of protocol.
He said, “There was nothing like breach of protocol, though I was not at the airport. I have watched the video and there was nothing like that. It was overzealousness on the part of the governor’s wife’s security. The senator addressed this in the course of his speech today.”
Meanwhile, reports had emerged earlier in the day that there was an attempt by the APC to disrupt protocol during the visit of the President’s wife in a bid to score cheap political gains.
Over 11,000 women and youths drawn from the 31 local governments of the state received various forms of empowerment from the President’s wife in furtherance of the Federal Government’s social intervention programme.
The President’s wife commended the NDE for its forward-looking approach to the empowerment of Nigerians and charged participants to submit themselves to the training programmes in order to become grounded in their areas of training.
In his remarks, Akpabio, who is a former governor of the state, lauded the President for his transformative policies, adding that many of them left the PDP because of the President’s transformation programme, including the reduction of over 500 accounts used by the Federal Government to one due to the implementation of the Treasury Single Account.
Earlier, the governorship candidate of the APC in the state, Mr Nsima Ekere, commended the Federal Government for the priority given to poverty alleviation programmes in the country, adding that change would come to Akwa Ibom with the anticipated victory of the All Progressives Congress in the 2019 general elections.