There is no gainsaying the fact that suave billionaire businessman, Akanimo Udofia’s influence in Nigeria’s political and business circuit looms large in the nation’s psyche. The vastness and quality of this Affa Offiong, Akwa Ibom State-born oil magnate’s character and political affluence are immeasurable. Akanimo, who graduated from the University of Uyo before getting his MBA from the famous Harvard Business School in Boston Massachusetts, United States, has been growing from strength to strength. As head honcho of Desicon Group —an Engineering company he took over from his dad and has since turned into a multi-billion dollar company which conducts engineering, procurement and construction services for Nigeria’s oil and gas industries— Akanimo has reinforced the fact that he is a force of nature. So, he is all shades of solid. In two years time, there will be a vacancy in the Government House, Uyo when the incumbent helmsman, Udom Emmanuel farmed out his second term tenure. Given his invincibility and influence, many see in Akanimo, a robust renaissance man with huge and wide political contacts who can push and reenergize the people to begin to see the possibilities that surround them in Akwa Ibom. While it wasn’t clear if the 52 year-old billionaire is indeed nursing any political ambition but unconfirmed rumours swirling around suggested that he has quietly joined partisan politics on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in readiness for a life of public service.
Ego is hard work, and trying to make a king of oneself could be tiring. To some school of thought, it’s far more rewarding, effective and exciting to be the kingmaker, than trying to put oneself on the throne, hence the scepticism about the idea of Akanimo, whom many see as a kingmaker trying to wear the crown himself. However, to those who truly love and desire the leadership of this man of immense means, there is nothing to be worried about. As a national and internationally known recognised figure, Akanimo is versed in the art of putting money to personal good use and to the benefit of humanity. Looking at his past and current development drive and economic pursuits and connections within the state, across the country and the world at large, they believe there cannot be any encumbrances. All they want is to have the oil magnate on the ballot of any of the two dominant parties come 2023.
Of course, Akanimo is not a neophyte when it comes to politics and its intricacies. At some point, deep-pocket Akanimo and former Akwa Ibom governor, Senator Godswill Akpabio were very close. They were always together and did a lot of things together. But all that was in the past. During the last 2019 gubernatorial elections in the state, not a few would also remember how Akanimo, a big spender, deployed his intimidating wealth and financial wherewithal to back the incumbent Governor Udom Emmanuel against the candidate of the former governor. And his choice came out victorious. Now, some sections of the people are beckoning on Akanimo to come and take up the mantle of leadership. Will he pick up the gauntlet come 2023? Will Akanimo throw his hat into the ring to lead the over five million Akwa Ibomites or will he play the Russian roulette? Time will tell.