-Anietie Udobit, Abuja
The Ibibio nation, fourth largest socio-political ethnic group in Nigeria has endorsed governor Emmanuel Udom of Akwa Ibom state for second term. In a crowded ceremony held on Monday which almost coincided with governor’s birthday on Tuesday 11th July at the popular Asan Ibibio, the ethnic group says she is proud of the governor, which is described as ‘our son whom we are well pleased’.
The well attended event was graced by former military administrators and governors, three serving governors of Abia, Imo and Ekiti states, members of National Assembly including the Senate Minority leader and immediate Past governor Godswill Akpabio, State Assembly members, Religious & Traditional rulers, and many other distinguished Nigerians.
The people of Ibibio in one voice asked Governor Udom Emmanuel to continue in office beyond 2019.
They said Udom has performed creditably well so far in two years, and therefore deserves a second term in office to enable him consolidate on his industrialisation agenda and Infrastructural drive.
The former Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Nsikak Eduok, who was Chairman of the occasion, the Speaker, Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Barr. Onofiok Luke, Senator representing Uyo Senatorial district in the National Assembly, Senator Bassey Albert Akpan, former Military Governor of the state, Air Commodore Idongesit Nkanga, rtd, and royal fathers, said they were satisfied with the performance of their son.
Setting the tone for the ceremony, a former Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Nsikak Eduok, praised Governor Udom for building bridge of unity among the various ethnic groups in the state. He said the governor deserved the honor because he has made the Ibibio nation proud in the way he is piloting affairs of the state.
Appraising the governor’s performance in the past 2 years, the Ibesikpo Asutan born former Air Chief said Udom deserves the support of all for him to continue in office for the remaining 6 years which is allowed by the constitution.
The former military governor of Akwa Ibom state and chairman, central planning committee, Otuekong Idongesit Nkanga could not hold back his excitement on the success of the event. “We are proud people, excited about the success of this event. For us who organized it, this is the first stage. We believe the governor has done very well, it is natural things in this part of the world if your son goes into the field and he comes back then you celebrate him, if he exhibits bravery and valour you give him higher responsibility. That is what has happen! I think the people have spoken well and say he should go back to complete.”
“Why honour Udom now. He has four year tenure and he is just about half way,” he said, adding, “when we did similar one for Godswill Akpabio it was in 2009 which he finished in 2011, this one came in 2015 and we are doing it in 2017. The half way gives us enough time to assess him, if he didn’t do well you would probably have seen us on the street demonstrating against him. But he has done well that is why we are celebrating him so that when we are saying something we are talking from the position of strength. If immediately when he entered office we started celebrating him you wouldn’t know if he will be able to do well so that is the one that is called fanfare, if at the end of his tenure we probably would have been too late. We wouldn’t have had time to tell him he didn’t do well or that for the interest.”
“As a conservative examiner I will deem it fit to score Gov Udom performance as 9 over 10. I will leave that 1 point for the two years left, for him to galvanize and harness the people for positive result.”
Re-echoing the unflinching support of the state legislature, Speaker of the House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Barr. Onofiok Luke, who described Udom as the captain of ‘team Akwa Ibom’ said the 6th Assembly had already taken a stand to give the governor all the necessary legislative backing to enable him succeed in office, having seen his development agenda for the state.
“The first thing I want to say on behalf of my colleagues in the House of Assembly is that having seen his agenda for the development of the state, we promised to give the governor the needed support. We cannot avoid having a mediocre as Governor. We in Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly stand with His Excellency, Mr. Udom Gabriel Emmanuel because he is a good man”.
Speaker Luke, who also represents the people of Nsit Ubium State constituency, noted that the governor has been able to unite all the ethnic groupings in the state.
Speaking for Uyo Senatorial district, the National Assembly member for the district, Senator Bassey Albert Akpan, declared the unflinching support of the Senatorial district for the governor’s second term in office, saying there is no vacancy in the hilltop in 2019, as Udom Emmanuel would remain in office till 2023 after which Uyo Senatorial district would have its turn to produce a Governor.
Senator Akpan argued that the decision by Uyo Senatorial district to back Udom for period of 8 years was informed by the fact that other two districts including, Uyo (1999-2007), and Ikot Ekpene (2007-2015), had produced Governors who served in office 8 years. He maintained that Uyo cannot afford to betray the existing political understanding, noting that the accord was for the sake of justice, equity and fairness to the three Senatorial districts in the state.
In their goodwill messages, former governor of the state and Senate Minority Leader, Senator Godswill Akpabio, who spoke on behalf of the people of Ikot Ekpene Senatorial district at the event, thanked the people of Ibibio nation for honouring his successor in office. He re-assured the governor of the total support of Akwa Ibom North-west Senatorial district for a 8-year tenure for Udom.
Speaking for Eket Senatorial district, a former House of Representatives member, Rt. Hon. Nduese Essien described the grand reception as a step in the direction. He said the honor done on the governor was a clear demonstration of the love the people have for the governor, and an appreciation of his leadership qualities.
Also speaking, the Governor of Imo State, and Chairman, APC Governor’s Forum, Mr. Rochas Okorocha, who graced the occasion as a mark of solidarity to Governor Udom Emmanuel, acknowledged the governor as a performer. He observed that the honor done on the governor by his people was an indication that he has performed well to the admiration of the people.
“Once a Governor emerges he becomes governor for all. I want to congratulate you and I want to advise you my brother, the best way to silence opposition is to work for the people. We must know when to keep aside political parties and embrace governance. I have no doubt that your Governor would live up to expectation”
On his part, Chairman, PDP Governor’s Forum, and Ekiti State Governor, Ayodele Fayose, said the massive crowd that turned out to celebrate Governor Udom Emmanuel at the venue was a pointer to the fact that PDP was on ground in Akwa Ibom. He commended the people of the state for embracing the PDP government. He was optimistic that the party would take over the centre in 2019.
Abia State Governor, Mr. Ikpeazu assure of the readiness of Abia State government to partner Akwa Ibom government in the developing a business corridor in the two state. He urged Akwa Ibom people to continue to support the government of Mr. Udom Emmanuel for a greater Akwa Ibom.
Elated Governor Emmanuel was full of praises for the dignitaries and over a million crowd that witness the occasion.
” I am thankful for the love you’ve shown me today. I must confess that this unprecedented reception by my people in Ibibio Nation is very encouraging and will spur me to do more in the state.
I know that to which much is given much is expected. God brought me to serve my people therefore irrespective of political parties and church denominations I remain committed to serving the great people of Akwa Ibom State.
Let me renew our call of unity to every indigene of Akwa Ibom state to come on board and join hands with this administration to build the Akwa Ibom of our dream”, he said.