Governor Udom Emmanuel has called on the people to eschew divisive tendencies and come together for peace, unity and progress of the state.
The Governor made the call at the funeral of Late Oku Ibom Ibibio 111 and Paramount Ruler of Onna Local Government Area, Akwa Edidem Akpabio Udo Ukpa, held at ONNA Local Government Sports Stadium.
He described as unfortunate attacks by people in the guise of political party platforms and pecuniary interests to fight against the development programmes embarked upon by the state administration saying development supersedes political platform, ethnic or pecuniary interest.
The Governor cited the spate of vandalism on government infrastructure, destruction of seedlings at the Coconut plantation, molestation of workers at road construction sites among others and used the occasion to warned perpetrators to desist from such acts explaining that it is counterpart productive to the development of the state.
Aligning himself with the theme of the Sermon “Fighting a good fight,” delivered by Chairman Ibeno Area Conference of Qua Iboe Church, Reverend John Akpan Johnson, and taken from 2nd Timothy Chapter 4 verses 7 through 8, Governor Emmanuel said that good fight must recognize that politics is over for development to hold sway and bequeath a legacy for the future generation.
He eulogized the late Monarch saying “We are gathered here today to bid farewell to a colossus, a giant among men who straddled the political, social and traditional space of this land with flash and dash.”
In his words: “the late Oku Ibom Ibibio 111 was destined to be the loadstar that would eventually guide, direct and illuminate the path for thousands of people to find their purpose in life, and that he advanced this with utmost humility and a deep sense of community.”
“We have come here today to pay tribute to the last of that group of rare breed of men who dedicated their lives to public service, accepting in the process, the praise that is usually in short supply and the abuses that also come in torrents.”
The Governor spoke of the Monarch as the vanguard for the struggle against oppression, colonialism, and other forms of rights abuse, dating back to 1957 when he served in the Eket County council as pioneer secretary and treasurer, and later Executive Chairman, ONNA County Council, before proceeding to serve as Member, Eastern House of Chiefs, Enugu, between 1960 and 1966.
He described the passage of Edidem Ukpa as a sad event and urged his family, friends and Community to be consoled by his services to humanity, and announced the renaming of the ONNA Sports Stadium as Akwa Edidem Akpabio Udo Ukpa Sports Centre.
Mr. Emmanuel promised to upgrade facilities at the Stadium to immortalize the late Patriarch whom he said worked hard to ensure the wellbeing of the people and development of the oil bearing communities.
Quoting Alphonse de Lamartine Governor Emmanuel who was flanked by his wife Martha said “our community, state and the nation is indeed depopulated by the passing of this towering and proud son of ONNA, Akwa Ibom and the nation at large.”
Former Governors of the State Arch.(Obong) Victor Attah and Senator Godswill Akpabio, in their tributes described the late Oku Ibom III as a pillar of unity, peace, equity and stability in governance through rotational governorship .
Senator Akpabio acknowledged that the deceased was at the forefront of emergence of Dr Clement Isong, Obong Victor Attah, himself and the present Governor Mr Udom Emmanuel, as governors of the state.
Akwa Edidem Akpabio Udo Ukpa, whom until his death was the Oku Ibom Ibibio III and Paramount Ruler of ONNA Local Government Area, was born on the 29th of June, 1923, in Ikot Edor and died at the age of 93.
The funeral ceremony, which was attended by members of the political class across the country and dignitaries from all walks of life, was spiced up with traditional display.