Akwa Ibom PDP Reject Governor Udom’s Anointed Successor

Akwa Ibom PDP Reject Governor Udom’s Anointed Successor

By Wires | The Trent on February 2, 2022
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Governor Udom Emmanuel
Akwa Ibom State's Governor Udom Emmanuel

The endorsement of Pastor Umo Eno, Commissioner for Lands and Water Resources in Akwa Ibom by the state governor, Udom Emmanu­el, as his successor is already caus­ing ripples in the Peoples Democrat­ic Party, PDP, the ruling party in the state.

Stakeholders in the party on Monday said the action of the gov­ernor is capable of further polaris­ing the party which has been divid­ed since the defection of Godswill Akpabio, former governor of the state and Minister of Niger Delta, to the All Progressives Congress, APC.

The governor presented Eno on Sunday evening at a PDP stakeholders’ meeting which took place at the Gov­ernor’s Lodge in Uyo.

Some party leaders pres­ent at the meeting said they reluctantly applauded the choice of Eno when a for­mer governor of the state, Obong Victor Attah, made his formal presentation as the governor’s successor to the stakeholders.

They also said all stake­holders in attendance were refused the opportunity to re­spond during the presenta­tion.

A cross-section of mem­bers of the PDP has ex­pressed displeasure over the decision, saying it is the wish of a selected few par­ty members who had been handpicked by the governor.

The stakeholders, who re­jected the governor’s move, called on him to rescind his decision and allow all inter­ested and qualified aspirants in the party to contest the election.

They also said Pastor Umo Eno is not popular and that his emergence may affect the chances of the PDP in the governorship election.

It was also learnt that Hon. Onofiok Luke, the Chairman of, House of Representatives Committee on Judiciary, was one of those who stormed out of the meeting.

Speaking on the develop­ment, Luke said he was not aware of the agenda of the meeting but attended to hon­our the governor’s invitation.

“I’m not against their endorsement, and I’m not against the elders of the state. But I’m saying the endorse­ment could have happened after proper consultation.

“I went to Obong Attah and asked him why didn’t you talk to all of us who are in this race? Why didn’t you talk to Sen. Bassey Albert? Why didn’t you talk to Akan Udofia? Why didn’t you talk to Akan Okon? Why didn’t you talk to James Iniama? It was Obong Attah that made the presentation, not the gov­ernor.

“We would have loved their endorsement but that would have been after due consultation. But whoever they would endorse should be the choice of the majority of people in the state.

“So, for me as Onofiok Akpan Luke, I am in the gov­ernorship race. I am going to stand election on the plat­form of my party, the PDP. I am not part of that endorse­ment at all.

“But I respect their views; I respect the opinion and choice of the governor. I re­spect Obong Victor Attah and the opinion of the elders of the state. It is their choice. I only respect their opinion, but I am not in support of what they are doing.

“I was ambushed. I didn’t know the agenda of the meeting but I had to respect the governor and attend the meeting. For the good times, I had raised my hand, seeking to be allowed to speak but I was ignored.”

Speaking with Daily Independent on Monday, January 31, 2022, Oduduabasi Effiok, a chief­tain of the party, said despite claiming that God revealed to him to choose Eno as his successor, the governor only did what he wishes in order to enthrone a stooge to continue governing by proxy.

“The action of the gover­nor is going to cause crisis in the party. The guy he has picked is so unpopular. What really happened was that the governor just called the king of Ibibio and told him that God had given him a di­rection to pick Umo Eno as his successor. But the truth is that he has been prop­ping Umo Eno for the past six months. He even set up a political structure called ‘Maintain Peace Movement’ to launch the commission­er and mobilise support for him.

“He now called these peo­ple last Thursday and said God gave him a direction to pick Eno as his successor. He then said he will call a meet­ing on Sunday and hand over the commissioner to them as Ibibio elders.

“Our grouse is that Eno whom he has endorsed is not marketable. You cannot even market him to primary school students. He has two wives, and he is not known to the majority of party members in the state”.

Also speaking, Imoh Ubong, another PDP chief­tain, said the governor does not have 30 per cent of the party structure, adding that Senator Bassey Akpan is the one with the party structures across the three senatorial districts.

“Right now, Governor Emmanuel does not have 30 per cent of the structure in the state. Senator Bassey is the one with the structure. We are ready to fight him to the last on this illegality. All the governor is interested in is to install a stooge he can be controlling after leaving office.

“The commissioner he has endorsed actually comes from his own side of the Ibibio land that the gov­ernorship is zoned to. Eno is not a core Ibibio person. His village to the governor’s village is about 30 minutes maximum.

“So, the governor still wants to maintain all the nepotism which has been the bane of his administration. This was the same reason why he packed the majority of the projects to his local gov­ernment area. Things like teaching hospitals, all the cotton industry, the coconut factory, everything is in the governor’s area.

“He is hoping that this commissioner he has picked will continue the develop­ment in that area. So, it is not about the state’s interests. It is only about Udom Emman­uel’s interest.

“The governor’s action will only create animosity among party members and further weaken the chances of the party in producing the next governor in the state. We can’t afford to remain silent while these anti-democratic practices go on in our party”, he said.

Also speaking, state Chair­man, Civil Society Organizations, Mr. Harry Udoh, said the choice of Eno as Gov. Emmanuel’s successor does not automatically make him the people’s choice as both the party and gubernatorial elections would determine that. ­

“That’s the governor’s choice and it is within the governor’s remit to support whoever he wants and that’s not the choice of Akwa Ibom people. There’s still the pri­mary election to be won and there’s still the general elec­tion to be won.

“Anybody can choose any­body, it is left for the people to decide. I think that’s what democracy is all about. The governor can go ahead and dream the dreams he wants and see visions he wants but that is not the dream and vi­sion of the people. The people have to decide at the end who should be governor. We can’t argue with the governor.

“Things are changing, so­ciety is evolving, the way we used to do elections in time past is no longer like that, elections are different today, people are more conscious, there is a heightened interest in what is happening in the polity. There used to be impo­sition but now I see a strong battle for that position. Even in the time past, there were upheavals.

“The governor is not say­ing I chose this one based on his antecedent or what he can do but based on what God told him, in this 21st century? That is the fallacy to ‘appeal to authority,’ that is just reduc­ing God to a politician. I don’t have any problem with Umo Eno but the governor’s postur­ing is unpalatable,” he noted.

A chieftain of African Democratic Congress in the state, Arch. Ezekiel Nya-Etok, said, that “the governor had the choice to stay neutral or to have a preferred aspirant. He has made his choice, and it is his fundamental right so to do. You also have your choice: to align or to meet them on the field. Just as much as you should respect the right of the governor, he also must respect your right to agree to disagree with him.

On his part, one of the gubernatorial aspirants and Governor Udom Emmanuel’s personal friend, Mr. Akan Udofia, said, “I heard it just as you heard so. I don’t have any comments. How can I subscribe to what I don’t know about? The endorse­ment may be the governor’s initiative, so I don’t have any comment.”

Asked whether the en­dorsement wouldn’t affect his aspiration, Udofia replied: “How would it affect my as­piration. My aspiration is my aspiration. I don’t have time for side issues. My as­piration is for the people of Akwa Ibom State.

“I have not heard any statement from the governor, so I’m not aware. The gover­nor is my friend.”

However, speaking with Daily Independent, a former senator in the state said he is confident all the issues will be resolved before the election.

“You really can’t blame the governor. Everybody wants to become governor but he can­not endorses everybody. He can only endorse an aspirant, and he has settled for Eno. Other aspirants have reasons to be aggrieved but they should put the interests of the party and the state first. I believe that the dust raised will settle in the coming days.”

Source: Independent

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