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Opinions of Monday, 31 January 2022

Columnist: www.sunnewsonline.com

2023: Disquiet in Akwa Ibom as Udom presents Umo Eno as ‘God anointed’ candidate

Akwa Ibom state govt logo Akwa Ibom state govt logo

Crisis looms in Akwa Ibom State political sphere as some elders of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), yesterday, surreptitiously endorsed the Commissioner for Lands, Umo Eno as the preferred candidate of the party for the 2023 gubernatorial election.

Daily Sun learnt that the governor had invited some party elders, including some of those rumoured to be having the gubernatorial ambition to the governor’s lodge without disclosing to them the agenda for the meeting.

It was however surprising to many when former governor Victor Attah presented Eno as the endorsed candidate of stakeholders of the party at the meeting.

Signs that all did not well become visible as some aspirants, especially those still serving in the governor’s cabinet, such as  Commissioner for Economic Development and Ibom Deep Seaport, Akan Okon, and Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Ini Emembong, were absent at the meeting, thus confirming the existence of deep cracks and bad blood in Governor Udom’s team.

Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Ekerete Udo, who confirmed the incident to Daily Sun, said the action was taken by a cross-section of stakeholders in the state.

“The governor announced he (Eno) was the one God has revealed to him as the next governor of the state and he was unveiled to the stakeholders from the three senatorial districts of the state by Attah, who then commended the choice. It was an array of political elders made up of senators and House of Representatives members,” Udo said.

When asked if there were some dissenting voices at the meeting concerning the sudden endorsement, Udo said he wasn’t aware of any.

But Daily Sun learnt that one of the governorship aspirants and Chairman, House Representatives Committee on Judiciary,  Onofiok Luke, stormed out of the meeting when he was not allowed to express himself during the endorsement drama.

Luke said he was not aware of the agenda of the meeting but had to attend to honour the governor who extended the invitation to him.

“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 Attah and told him ‘why didn’t you talk to all of us who are in this race? Why didn’t you talk to 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?’ because it was Attah that made the presentation, not the governor.

“We would have loved their endorsement but that would have been after due consultation. We would love the endorsement by the elders of the state. 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 race for the governorship. 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 at the lodge on his invitation.”