By Akanimo Sampson
The seeming emergence of the people’s power in Akwa Ibom State under the watch of Governor Udom Emmanuel, follows the political Sunset of Senator Godswill Akpabio, a marginal political factor in the All Progressives Congress (APC) generally believed to be too boastful.
Often, this former governor who dominated the affairs of Akwa Ibom for eight years (2007-2015), tends to be obsessed with his illusionary image of a political god. In his utopian world, he tends to see Udom as a thing he picked from Lagos, and single-handedly made the governor of the big oil state. The warped logic of the misled followers of this aspirant to the Senate Presidency that without Akpabio, Udom is nothing, drove the supposed demi-god to his political miasma of February 23 in Ikot Ekpene Senatorial District.
In the political arena, every star player was at a particular point made by a dominant political stalwart then. Just like some political potentates made Obong Victor Attah, who in turn, created Godswill Akpabio, is there any justification for boasting about transient political might?
The way things are at the moment in the state, it appears the Sun of Akpabioistic politics is setting, and there is an emerging Udomisticmovement. The Udomification of this year’s elections is a resistance politics of sorts against those playing god and courting violence.
Already, 25 governorship candidates in the state have endorsed Udom, the hitherto political son of Akpabio, seeking re-election still on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) this coming Saturday. They announced their unanimous decision at a rally organised by the PDP in Uyo, the state capital. The rally also witnessed the defection of scores of APC strong men across the state to the PDP.
This came as the state Council of Chiefs equally endorsed the pro-industrialisation Udom and all the other candidates of the PDP gunning for the state Legislature. Their endorsement was contained in a communiqué signed by Edidem Ntoeng Udo Effiong Akpan, the Paramount Ruler of Ini Local Government Area and Chairman of the Council; Nteyin Solomon Daniel Etuk, Paramount Ruler of Nsit Ubium Local Government Area; Oku Ibom Ibibio Udo Joe Ntuk Obom Xll, Paramount Ruler of Ikot Abasi Local Government Area; and OwongEffiong Bassey Archianga, Paramount Ruler of Ibeno LGA.
The others National President of the Traditional Rulers of Oil Minerals Producing Communities of Nigeria (TROMPCON), OkukuPius Effiong Esideh 111, Itai Afe Annang, Edet Okon Isemin, Ahta Oro,Paramount Ruler of Mbo; Odidem Bassey Etim Edet, Eti Oyo Ekpo 11, Paramount Ruler of Udung Uko; Okuku Ime Udousoro Inyan, Paramount Ruler of Ibiono Ibom; Etinyin Edet Nyong Ekeng,Clan Head of Idua, Oron LGA/Secretary, Assembly of Clan Heads; Eteidung Monday Etian Udoaka-Ebe, Village Head – Abiakkpo Ikot Abasi, Eduo – Obot Akara, President Mboho Mme Eteidung; and Edidem E C D. Abia, Attah Ekid Afid/Paramount Ruler of Eket.
In the communiqué, they resolved to support Udom for a second term: ‘’The meeting having reviewed the historical perspective of Akwa Ibom and the need for justice, fairness, oneness, unity, and equity, affirmed the rotational principle in the political governance of Akwa Ibom. Accordingly, the Council affirmed that since Akwa Ibom North East and Akwa Ibom North West Senatorial Districts had taken their turns respectively to produce governors of Akwa Ibom from 1999-2007 and 2007 – 2015, with each of the occupants having eight years of two tenures each, same principle should apply to the current incumbent who is from Akwa Ibom South Senatorial District.
‘’In this wise, the conclave affirmed total support for Udom the current governor to serve for two terms of eight years and after which political power will shift to Akwa Ibom North East Senatorial District in 2023 in line with the unity accord in Akwa Ibom. The Council emphasized that justice and fairness remains cardinal ingredients for unity and development to prevail and as such politics or personal ambition should not be taken to the extreme or allowed to distort the well-established unity accord in Akwa Ibom.
‘’The Council call on the Akwa Ibom electorate to go out en-mass to participate in the Gubernatorial and state House of Assembly elections on Saturday, March 09, 2019 The Meeting urged the Independent Electoral Commission (INEC), to ensure free, fair, credible, transparent and acceptable elections. It also advised the Police, Army and other security agencies to ensure impartiality in their security support and coverage of the elections.
‘’The Council admonished all Akwa Ibom people to maintain peace and order and directed all traditional rulers to take the message of peace as proclaimed by the conclave to their clans, villages, hamlets and domains.’’
However, among those who dumped Akpabio’s APC are Obong Dan Akpan, a House of Representatives candidate for Etinan Federal Constituency in the February 23, Presidential and National Assembly elections. Akpan was defeated by Onofiok Luke of the PDP, who is currently the Speaker of the state House of Assembly.
Others include Saviour Udo, former member, House of Representatives; Dr Etido Ibekwe, former Majority Leader in the state House of Assembly, who represented Essien Udim, Akpabio’s home base; Efefiong Antigha, former member of the House of Assembly; Essien Nkanga, former Chairman Uyo Local Government council, Ime Umoh, George Uya, Obonganwan Arit Udonwa -Woman Leader; 24 APC local government youth leaders, Apostle Ikon John, a zonal chairman of APC and 40 others led by Joshua Basil Nya aka Joe Pastor; group heads for the Nsima Ekere Campaign Organisation led by Prince Michael Isonguyo and Mrs Idorenyin Effiong Ekpo.
Addressing the rally, Governor Udom thanked the people for casting their votes for the PDP on February 23, and assured the defectors that the umbrella of the PDP is big enough to accommodate them, and accordingly charged the people not to be deceived by blackmails and lies of the people from Abuja alleging that they don’t have followers.
While challenging the opposition to an option A4 voting pattern, and underlining that if this is adopted in Akwa Ibom, the PDP will win over-whelmingly, Udom also attributed the poor turnout during the Presidential and National Assembly elections to the pre-election intimidation and harassment of the electorate which made many to stay away.
Even as he appealed to the people to come out on Saturday and vote and defend their votes, the governor admonished security agencies against harassment and intimidating voters on Saturday, and pointed out that security agencies were being fund from the resources tax payers money therefore they should defend the people and not fight them.
According to him, ‘’Akwa Ibom is a peaceful land. Today I am here to appreciate the Akwa Ibom people. I am here today telling Akwa Ibom people that I salute you for standing firm, for your resilience in letting the world know the truth between light and darkness, God and man. If Akwa Ibom is a land named after God, the wicked man will continue to fall; Akwa Ibom shall be liberated. Let me also thank all of you for voting PDP on the 23rd of February.
‘’Let me thank all those who have completely collapsed their stature for the PDP. Let me also thank all those people who have defeated to PDP. I want to assure them that we have many mansions in PDP. The PDP is big enough to cover them; PDP is the only party that can bring unity, development, bring infrastructure and preach righteousness.
‘’I challenge the Abuja people, let them proof something to the centre, let them come down, let the Akwa Ibom people queue, if they have 20 percent, whenever we tell you that Akwa Ibom is PDP, don’t believe us.’’
Director General of the Divine Man date Organisation, OtuekongIdongesit Nkanga, called on Akpabio to accept defeat and congratulate Chris Ekpenyong who defeated him at the elections, adding that it is the most honourable thing for him to do.
The retired Nigerian Air Force chief cautioned the APC factional National Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, to be mindful of his statements on the state, and declared that Akwa Ibom people have chosen PDP and will remain so: ‘’I can only advise that once the people have spoken, the sign of liberty is that we go by the wishes of the people. We pay tax so that the security operatives will protect the people of Nigeria, please don’t turn their guns against the people of Nigeria.The people of Akwa Ibom wants PDP. For anyone to bring violence into a peaceful community means that they don’t mean well for Nigeria.’’