By Bernard Tolani Dada
Uyo, Akwa Ibom State Capital on Monday stood still for Governor Udom Emmanuel, who was received at a grand ceremony by Ibibio Nation, Nigeria’s fourth largest ethnic group Our Correspondent Bernard Tolani Dada was there.
At the event which took place at Asian Ibibio, the ancient center of the Ibibios, had in attendance, people from all walks of life, including Abia State Governor, Mr. Okezie Ikpeazu. Ibibio sons and daughters at home and in diaspora, are celebrating the man, they described as prudent financial expert and people’s leader, who has demonstrated strong political will in the development of Akwa Ibom State. Groups in different colours and uniforms are upbeat for the ceremony.
They display various cultural heritage of the State. The Ibibio race comprises the Central Ibibio, usually referred to as Ibibio, the Western Ibibio also known as Annang, the Southern Ibibio also known as Eket, the Northern Ibibio, the Riverine Ibibio comprises the Efik and Oron and the Delta Ibibio which is made up of Ibeno and Eastern Andoni.
The people of Ibibio asked Governor Udom Emmanuel to continue in office beyond 2019.
They said Udom has performed creditably well so far in two years, and therefore deserves a second term in office to enable him consolidate on his industrialisation agenda and Infrastructural drive.
Describing him as their illustrious son in whom they are well pleased, the Ibibio people who spoke through their leaders including, a former Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Nsikak Eduok, who was Chairman of the occasion, the Speaker, Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Barr. Onofiok Luke, Senator representing Uyo Senatorial district in the National Assembly, Senator Bassey Albert Akpan, former Military Governor of the state, Air Commodore Idongesit Nkanga, rtd, and royal fathers, said they were satisfied with the performance of their son
Setting the tone for the ceremony, a former Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Nsikak Eduok, who was Chairman on the occasion, praised Governor Udom for building bridge of unity among the various ethnic groups in the state. He said the governor deserved the honor because he has made the Ibibio nation proud in the way he is piloting affairs of the state.
Appraising the governor’s performance in the past 2 years, the Ibesikpo Asutan born former Air Chief said Udom deserves the support of all for him to continue in office for the remaining 6 years which is allowed by the constitution.
Re-echoing the unflinching support of the state legislature, Speaker of the House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Barr. Onofiok Luke, who described Udom as the captain of ‘team Akwa Ibom’ said the 6th Assembly had already taken a stand to give the governor all the necessary legislative backing to enable him succeed in office, having seen his development agenda for the state.
“The first thing I want to say on behalf of my colleagues in the House of Assembly is that having seen his agenda for the development of the state, we promised to give the governor the needed support. We cannot avoid having a mediocre as Governor. We in Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly stand with His Excellency, Mr. Udom Gabriel Emmanuel because he is a good man”.
Speaker Luke who also represents the people of Nsit Ubium State constituency, noted that the governor has been able to unite all the ethnic groupings in the state.
Speaking for Uyo Senatorial district, the National Assembly member for the district, Senator Bassey Albert Akpan, declared the unflinching support of the Senatorial district for the governor’s second term in office, saying there is no vacancy in the hilltop in 2019, as Udom Emmanuel would remain in office till 2023 after which Uyo Senatorial district would have its turn to produce a Governor.
Senator Akpan argued that the decision by Uyo Senatorial district to back Udom for period of 8 years was informed by the fact that other two districts including, Uyo (1999-2007), and Ikot Ekpene (2007-2015), had produced Governor’s who served in office 8 years. He maintained that Uyo cannot afford to betray the existing political understanding, noting that the accord was for the sake of justice, equity and fairness to the three Senatorial districts in the state.
In their goodwill messages, former governor of the state and Senate Minority Leader, Senator Godswill Akpabio, who spoke on behalf of the people of Ikot Ekpene Senatorial district at the event, thanked the people of Ibibio nation for honouring his successor in office. He re assured the governor of the total support of Akwa Ibom North-west Senatorial district for an 8 year tenure for Udom.
Speaking for Eket Senatorial district, a former House of Representatives member, Rt. Hon. Nduese Essien described the grand reception as a step in the direction. He said the honor done on the governor was a clear demonstration of the love the people have for the governor, and an appreciation of his leadership qualities.
Also speaking, the Governor of Imo State, and Chairman, APC Governor’s Forum, Mr. Rochas Okorocha, who graced the occasion as a mark of solidarity to Governor Udom Emmanuel, acknowledged the governor as a performer. He observed that the honor done on the governor by his people was an indication that he has performed well to the admiration of the people.
“Once a Governor emerges he becomes governor for all. I want to congratulate you and I want to advise you my brother, the best way to silence opposition is to work for the people. We must know when to keep aside political parties and embrace governance. I have no doubt that your Governor would live up to expectation”
On his part, Chairman, PDP Governor’s Forum, and Ekiti State Governor, Ayodele Fayose, said the massive crowd that turned out to celebrate Governor Udom Emmanuel at the venue was a pointer to the fact that PDP was on ground in Akwa Ibom. He commended the people of the state for embracing the PDP government. He was optimistic that the party would take over the centre in 2019.
Abia State Governor, Mr. Ikpeazu assure of the readiness of Abia State government to partner Akwa Ibom government in the developing a business corridor in the two state. He urged Akwa Ibom people to continue to support the government of Mr. Udom Emmanuel for a greater Akwa Ibom.
Elated Governor Emmanuel was full of praises for the dignitaries and over a million crowd that witness the occasion.
Hear him: ” I am thankful for the love you’ve shown me today. I must confess that this unprecedented reception by my people in Ibibio Nation is very encouraging and will spur me to do more in the state.
I know that to which much is given much is expected. God brought me to serve my people therefore irrespective of political parties and church denominations I remain committed to serving the great people of Akwa Ibom State.
Let me renew our call of unity to every indigene of Akwa Ibom state to come on board and join hands with this administration to build the Akwa Ibom of our dream”.
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By Bernard Tolani Dada