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By Evang Odudu Arthur

A group, Ikot Ekpene Senatorial District Forum and other relevant stakeholders from the geo-political zone has overwhelmingly endorsed Obong Ide Owodiong-Idemeko for the Akwa Ibom 2023 governorship race.

Owodiong- Idemeko, a potential Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) gubernatorial aspirant is the International Coordinator, 1001+ Voices Initiative for People’s Empowerment, a not for profit organization.

At a well attended ceremony at Akwa Ibom Community Hall, Surulere, Lagos, on Saturday, September 4, 2021 and with well over 500 delegates in attendance, the group led by its President-General, Elder Samuel Usoroh, moved for the historic endorsement of the top notch front runner from Uyo Senatorial District.

Primed for effective repositioning, the group had declared its position of support for the aspirant stating that it “wholly embraces the aspiration based on its bright and equitable chances.”

“I beckon on all our sons and daughters of Ikot Ekpene Senatorial District in Lagos and beyond to align and identify with the vision of the senatorial district to back the right horse as we stoutly move to reposition our place in the Akwa Ibom political matrix. We must go with the right choice”, Usoroh urged.

The Lagos Chapter of the group went a step further by urging for the homeland chapter of the Association and her affiliated bodies ” to brace up and brave up” their tacit support for the aspirant, stressing that “he best suits the state at this moment as we particularly seek for a positive transformation and total change in our governance narrative”.

Populated by very influential individuals including CP Aniefiok Essiet (retd.) the group noted that to ideally achieve its ideal of backing the frontline aspirant for the needed political success, IKSD were to take full advantage of the ongoing nationwide continuous voters registration (CVR) exercise, and register massively, and obtain their permanent voters card (PVC ) for the forthcoming elections.

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It has however, urged on members to show great and unrestrained interest by being involved and actively participating in the leadership selection process of the state, especially now that it has moved to Akwa Ibom North East Senatorial District (USD) awaiting a subsequent shift to IKSD in the later years.

In his response, Obong Owodiong-Idemeko who appreciated the wide endorsement said he is actively consulting critical stakeholders across the state to ensure his decision to join the race is based on the popular wishes of the people as exemplified by IKSD Forum.

“I’ve been pressurized by well-meaning Akwa Ibomites to join the race including your well intended endorsement. This is brought to bear by my highly regarded levels of professionalism exhibited over the years, local and international career experience and also a rich academic profile broadly gained across the world”. These he said, he will gladly engage to raise the levels of governance in Akwa Ibom state.

“Proper people”, he warned, “should be ensured are put in proper places of governance. This will raise the stakes in governance capacity and help make Akwa Ibom a destination of choice in terms of investment, and an outlet to enhancing the quality of life for the state residents”.

The endorsed aspirant who noted that “the State is blessed with abundant human and material resources,” suggested that “this requires a strategic and resourceful management from the right minds and capable hands to deploy them into effectually uplifting the state and her peoples.”

Using the occasion to effectively speak on the vision of the not-for-profit organization he runs for the State, Owodiong- Idemeko was explicit on burning issues affecting the youth and women. He also touched on the threat of recurrent insecurity plaguing the land as well as modalities outlined to rejuvenate the economy of the oil rich state.

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The 1001 + Voices Initiative leader who engaged extensively on the need for reintegration in the State, also dwelt in depth on the place and role of equity in deepening democracy. He advocated for the dire primacy of re- skilling and the empowerment of youths as being essential in stabilizing democracy, assuring that such revolving social and economic issues would remain central to his agenda in government if given the opportunity.

“The most powerful incentive of government at any level should be to help people expand and grow. The provision of infrastructure is to serve as an enabler and equalizer towards empowering all businesses.

“A quality government worth its onions should be able to prioritize it’s programmes to give Akwa Ibom people a good measure of opportunities and space to grow. Such focused and deliberate prioritization of development objectives would enhance the capacity of the State and her people to move to the big stage,” he assured.

Obonh Ukoette Etokhokpan chaired the occasion.

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