In a remarkable show of solidarity, the people of Eket Senatorial District of Akwa Ibom State, defied the inclement weather and came out in their number to endorse Governor Udom Emmanuel and wife, Martha, for a second term in office.
Witnessed by top government functionaries and political stalwarts in the state, the mega endorsement rally by the Senatorial District comprising 12 Local Government Areas, held at the Onna Township Stadium, Abat, Onna Local Government Area.
Addressing the sea-heads of supporters from his senatorial district, Governor Emmanuel announced his intention to formally declare for re-election on Friday, August 24, 2018, appreciating the people for the massive show of love regardless of the heavy downpour.
“This endorsement mean a whole lot for me. With this, I want to say that if you are in this arena today, it means you have endorsed me for second term. I want to state here that because you have endorsed me, I will declare to run for second term, on Friday”, Emmanuel stated.
Accompanied by his wife, Martha, the Governor restated his commitment to the unity of the state, stressing, “This is one government that believes in the unity of this state. I stand here as a true son of Akwa Ibom State and I can tell you, I stand for the unity of this state, I stand for the love of my people, I stand for the development and progress of this state, nothing less, nothing more”.
He maintained that his administration is focused on delivering on Project Akwa Ibom, explaining that irrespective of the economic situation in the country, the state government would remain committed to providing good governance to the people.
Rolling out some of his achievements in the last three years, acknowledged that his administration has recorded gigantic strides in infrastructure development, healthcare facilities, industrialization, education, agricultural development and food sufficiency as well as youth empowerment.
He added, “Despite attempts to frustrate our Ibom Deep Seaport Project and Logistics Center, we must complete our Deep Seaport Project, which would provide employment opportunities for about 15,000 youths.
“No matter what, we must complete our Logistics Center in Ikot Abasi, we must also complete the most modern digital sub station in Nigeria, located at Ekim, in Mkpat Enin Local Government Area”.
The State Chief Executive Officer noted with delight that his administration has not derailed from its course of ensuring a robust economy, mentioning that the reviving of moribund industries, including the Ibom Power Plant, which was, hitherto, shut down and now generating 115 megawatts of electricity, were steps towards realizing the set goals.
Earlier, the Chairman on the occasion, Ambassador Etim Okpoyo, said that Governor Emmanuel and wife were symbols of good governance, adding that it was on that premise that he and other lovers of development, chose to identify themselves with the present administration in the state.
According to Okpoyo, who is a former Deputy Governor of the State, “if Emmanuel and wife were not doing all they can to develop the state, I wouldn’t have been a part of all these. I have witnessed the good roads network and industries established under their administration”.
The further remarked, “I remember when I was an ambassador, I came to this state with 12 Italians, there was no support and we had to go back but Governor Emmanuel is doing everything to establish factories to employ the youths and construct good roads, so why don’t we give him a chance to go back a second time”!
He expressed confidence that with the Governor’s superlative performance and divine backing, his second term bid was assured, adding that Uyo and Ikot Ekpene Senatorial Districts govern the sate for eight years respectively and noted that it was only appropriate for Eket Senatorial District to do same.
In a goodwill message, the State Deputy Governor, Mr. Moses Ekpo, said that political stalwarts from Ikot Ekpene Senatorial District were at the event in full force to register their solidarity to Eket Senatorial District at endorsing the Governor.
Mr. Ekpo pledged the unalloyed support of his kinsmen at ensuring the realization of the Governor’s second term ambition, adding, “there are no two ways about this matter, it is a matter of integrity and sincerity”.
Also speaking for the people of Ikot Ekpene Senatorial District, former Deputy Governor of the State, Engr. Chris Ekpenyong, said that they were at the event to reassure the Governor that the Senatorial District was solidly in support of him, appreciating God for the gift of Emmanuel as Governor and described him as man with the vision to industrialize the state.
Engr. Ekpenyong, who was accompanied by political leaders from the Senatorial District stated, “As a worthy son in-law, you have our support 100%. Do not be afraid, we are here with all amount of sincerity. We have political leaders who have exchanged batons from the opposition Party to join in supporting you to succeed”.
The National Legal Adviser of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Barrister Emmanuel Enoidem, who is another son of the Senatorial District extraction, said that they were all speaking the minds of men, women, youths and elders of the district.
Enoidem intimated that the 10 Local Government Areas of Ikot Ekpene Senatorial District were intact and in readiness to carry out their civil responsibility to re-elect him into office for a second term come 2019, adding, “you are a son of destiny, God is with you and there is nothing anybody can do about that”.
The Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Barrister Onofiok Luke, described Governor Emmanuel as a Luxury Yacht, urging the people of the three Senatorial Districts of the state to rise up and work at ensuring the re-election of the Governor.
Barrister Luke asserted, “the return of Governor Emmanuel in 2019 is not on any agenda, it is not an Ibibio agenda, it is not an annang agenda, it is not an Oro agenda, it is a Pan-Akwa Ibom agenda. No one unit can do it alone. The Ibibios, Annangs and Oros cannot make a Governor alone.
The number three citizen, who is from Uyo Senatorial District extraction, added, “Please let us stop the ethnic sentiments, let us move the Pan Akwa Ibom sentiment. Akwa Ibom belong to all of us. Whether ticket or not, the State House of Assembly will stand with Governor Udom Emmanuel till the end. That is our conviction”.
He called for the termination of a road contract in Ukanafun, to the tune of N11bn, explaining that since the contractor has failed to commence work on the road after collecting mobilization fee of N1.5bn, the sixth assembly has resolved that the state government should immediately put an end to the contract and re award the road project to another construction firm.
On his part, the Senator representing Uyo Senatorial District, Senator Bassey Albert noted that Akwa Ibom has remained a united front than ever before, under the leadership of Governor Emmanuel, hoping that God would sustain the Governor in office to continue in his course of maintaining unity amongst the people.
Senator Albert opined that the Governor was the divine choice to lead the state, expressing conviction that God who gives power to whomever He choses, would install Emmanuel again in 2019 irrespective of the manipulations of any humans.
Others who also spoke from the senatorial district included the Director General of the Divine Mandate Organization and former Military Governor of the State, Otuekong Idongesit Nkanga, who was accompanied by all the Local Government Chairmen, Senators Anietie Okon and Effiong Bob.
Speaking for Eket Senatorial District, Chief Nduese Essien, lauded the Governor for his prudence in managing the state meagre resources to deliver visible development, noting that Akwa Ibom State has fared well under the leadership of Emmanuel and sued for support from the district to return him for a second term.
The former Minister of Lands and Housing maintained that Governor Emmanuel was their sole candidate for the governorship position for eight years, emphasising, “We do not want to change our Governor, we will resist to the best of our ability, any attempt to rig elections in Akwa Ibom”.
A member of the Federal House of Representatives, Hon. Francis Uduyok, said that for equity and justice, Eket Senatorial District should be allowed to serve for two terms through Governor Emmanuel, indicating that the senatorial district lent their support to Uyo and Ikot Ekpene districts to do so during their turn.
Hon Uduyok stated that, “Nobody has the capacity to change the political calculation in Akwa Ibom. This is the time to show us love for the love we showed to you people for 16 years. Eket Senatorial District ‘lays the golden egg’, sustain the economy of this state and country and it is our turn to govern for eight years with one man. Governor Emmanuel has done very well and we are comfortable with his level of performance”.
The State Youth Leader of the PDP, Comrade Enobong Harry, restated the position of the youths of the district to remain loyal to the Emmanuel-led administration, remarking that the youths are appreciative of the Governor’s commitment at empowering them which has repositioned the youths for greater heights.
Harry echoed, “the youths of Eket Senatorial District are intact, ever ready to support you. We are prepared to deliver you come 2019. We will not take it for a joke, any attempt to subvert you, we will stand by you and support you all the way”.
Senator Helen Esuene, Ambassador Assam Assam (SAN), the Deputy Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Princess Felicia Bassey and the State Chairman, Association of Local Governments of Nigeria, ALGON, and Chairman of Eket Local Government Area, Hon. Frank Archibong, all advocated for the re-election of Governor Emmanuel in 2019.
Highlight of the event was the formal reception of some key players in the opposition Party, including Dr. Udoma Ekarika and Obongifiok Ani Asikpo, who defected to the PDP, by the State Chairman of the PDP, Obong Paul Ekpo.