By Winifred Udosen
Obong Paul Asuquo ‘Politics’ Ekpo is a household name synonymous with loyalty, perseverance, team spirit, and forthrightness in service.
His several years of service to the ruling Peoples’ Democratic Party, left an indelible mark that will remain a reference point for excellent stewardship.
He must be relishing the record of being the longest-serving State chairmen of the big umbrella party, who has served two governors of the State, Senator Godswill Akpabio in his second term as governor and both terms of Governor Udom Emmanuel.
From Nkana village in Iman Ibom clan of Etinan Local Government Area, the proud son of late Chief Asuquo Ekpo, worked his way into the annals of Akwa Ibom political history as a remarkable steward, a loyal partyman and an outstanding community leader.
Having identified his calling early, the enigma obtained formal training in political scientist and became a career administrator, who has put several years working with reputable institutions, stands tall as one of the founding members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Akwa Ibom State. He patiently climbed the proverbial rungs of Akwa Ibom political ladder, acquiring experiences and gaining crucial life skills including accountability and dedication to duty, which have enabled him attain great heights.
Before his emergence as State Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party in 2012, he was appointed as the Honourable Commissioner for Commerce and Industry and by July 2008, he was re-assigned to Ministry of Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs.
Obong Paul has been lauded by both Governors Godswill Akpabio and Udom Emmanuel as well as party faithful as a trusted, dependable, consistent, accountable and rugged politician who fully understands the dynamics and the terrain of Akwa Ibom politics.
In recognition of his outstanding service to the PDP and development of Akwa Ibom State, the addition of the honorarium “Obong” (king) and the sobriquet “Politics” as a putative to fully reflect the depth of his resilience, trustworthiness, party loyalty and selfless sacrifices to the socio-political growth and development of the State thus Obong Paul ‘Politics’ Ekpo, is a household name across the state.
As a ruling party at the federal level, PDP in the state sailed through general elections for 16 years without any serious hitch. However, the game changed in 2015, when the hurriedly assembled All Progressives Congress, APC, took over the federal government. The party weathered the political storm for four years untill it came to a defining moment ahead of the 2019 general elections, when the former governor, Senator Godswill Akpabio, decided on his infamous ‘uncommon defection’ to embrace the broom.
Against all manner of tantalizing offers, insinuations, uncertainties and intimidating posturing by the opposition who boasted of federal might, Obong Paul ‘Politics’ Ekpo stood firm and resolute as he patriotically paddled the canoe of PDP across the stormy seas to a safe shore.
Political analysts describe Ekpo as a party leader with uncommon candour and dexterity which has helped him work with two state governors with very different ideology. “He may not be the most perfect human being but he has one strong point that counts for him – loyalty. This loyalty is laced with an uncanny humility that disarms even the strongest of his opponents.
He has a penchant for result maybe because of his experience in the private sector before joining politics”.
This position is corroborated in an eulogy by Borono Bassey, the State Publicity Secretary of PDP, in an article titled “Paul Ekpo: Bracing the finishing line in style”, where he states that Ekpo “had resolved to go all the way out to not just ensure he sweats it out in building a stronger and more vibrant party that continually orchestrate victorious streaks in elections, but also positioning the party as the most admired and acceptable choice in the eyes of the Akwa Ibom electorate”.
It is without argument that Obong Paul Ekpo has written his signature in Akwa Ibom politics as a trustworthy steward with capacity to deliver.
Of course, his remarkable track record is undeniable, having led the party to two very significant victories in 2015 and four years later, when the party had to prove itself as the preferred brand in Akwa Ibom State.