By Umoh-Obong Kingsley
Uyo, the Akwa Ibom State capital was on Saturday agog as people from Uyo Senatorial District stormed the township stadium in their numbers to show appreciation, support and solidarity to Governor Udom Emmanuel for his lofty programmes and projects within the three years he has been in office.
The mammoth crowd which of citizens from across the nine local government areas of the Senatorial District, defied the initial early downpour to endorse him for second term in office come 2019, thereby foreclosing any chances of any other aspiration for the same office.
Former Military Governor of the State, Otuekong Idongesit Nkanga, in his opening speech, expressed great joy to see the people of Uyo Senatorial District gathered as a major blood in the political confederation of Akwa Ibom State, to do the needful for continued peace, progress and development in the state.
“Students of Akwa Ibom political history will very readily attest to the fact that political direction in our clime is often the outcome of the understanding amongst stakeholders across the state, and needless to say that because of the insightful political antecedents as a senatorial district, our compatriots from other senatorial districts have learnt to align with the prepositions that we take in Uyo Senatorial District.
“Therefore, it is natural that we have taken a lead in critically considering the second term aspiration of our dear Governor, Mr Udom Emmanuel. As a people, we believe in fairness, and we put forward strong argument to support whatever position we take in the best interest of our state.
Otuekong Idongesit Nkanga who was also the Chairman on the occasion further stated that “If Uyo Senatorial District, through Obong Victor Attah served as Governor for eight good years, Chief Godswill Akpabio from Ikot Ekpene Senatorial District also served for eight years, Governor Udom Emmanuel deserves to be accorded same opportunity.
“It is fair and justice that Governor Emmanuel from Eket Senatorial District continues till 2023.
“As a people, we must strive to appreciate good things regardless of political or ethnic background. I want to assure His Excellency, the Governor that the people of Uyo Senatorial District are standing with and will continue to stand by you in thick and thin. Congratulations in advance His Excellency.”
Goodwill messages from the Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Youths, Comrade Aniefiok Iwah Udofia; Leader of Itu Legislative Council and Chairman of Akwa Ibom State Councillors Forum, Barr. Bassey Bassey Etim; Dr (Mrs) Ekaette Ebong Okon; Senator Representing Uyo Senatorial District, Sen. Effiong Dickson Bob; and Senator Anietie Okon, were strong statements that there won’t be any vacancy in the Hilltop Mansion, which is the seat of power in the Akwa Ibom State, come 2019.
Speaking on behalf of the people of Eket Senatorial District, senatorial leader, Chief Nduese Essien thanked the people of Uyo Senatorial District for endorsing their son to run as Governor for second term, describing it as a thing of joy.
The immediate past Governor of the State and Senate Minority Leader, Sen. Godswill Akpabio, speaking on behalf of Ikot Ekpene Senatorial District, noted that “When your ways are right with God, even your enemies will work for you. I’m talking like a father who has a good product to sell.
“If Uyo Senatorial District which has the largest number of votes would come out with this massive crowd to endorse the most performing Governor, Mr Udom Emmanuel needs not to worry about victory during the 2019 general elections.”
In his remarks, Speaker of the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. (Barr) Onofiok Luke, who doubles as Chairman of the Central Planning Committee for the occasion, noted that politics is about interest, saying that the first interest of Uyo Senatorial District was the passion for the development of Akwa Ibom without any bias through ethnicity and religion, which he said the Governor has shown.
“The second interest is the politics of inclusion. The interest of Uyo Senatorial District is that whether you are from Ikot Ekpene, Eket, Ibibio, Eastern Obolo or Annang, we all must be treated as one. You have done that through your politics of inclusion.
“Another interest has to do with performance. The billboards brought into the stadium have shown it all. There was no enough space to display all in order to comprehend all you have done in the senatorial district. All the nine local government areas in Uyo Senatorial District have reasons to endorse you for second term to continue the good work.”
Gov Emmanuel, in his response expressed appreciation to the people, describing the rally as unprecedented and beyond politics.
“In this context, love is not a sentiment but a strategy. Today, Uyo Senatorial District has shown the whole world that love is a strategy, and whoever gives love, it is given back in return.
“I want to assure Uyo Senatorial District that for this wonderful love, which is not only for me but for the entire Akwa Ibom State, is for Nigerians to emulate. Tell me one state in Nigeria today that a senatorial district has come together like this for an endorsement rally for a sitting governor. Let me categorically state here that I accept with all amount of gratitude the volume of endorsement that have reeled out today.
“You elected me to me to do those things, it is not good for me to count them but better for people to give an account. I’m happy that today Uyo Senatorial District has come out to tell the whole the good news about the good things in Akwa Ibom State.”
The endorsement of Governor Emmanuel was well received by the PDP leadership in the state. Led by the state chairman Obong Paul Ekpo, the PDP leaders thanked the Uyo people for the support and congratulated the Governor on the honour on him.
Several groups, stakeholders and women organisations added colour to the occasion.