PROMINENT citizens, including elders, traditional rulers and political leaders in Uyo Senatorial District in Akwa Ibom State, have continued to reject any third term aspiration to the Senate by aspirants in the forthcoming 2011 elections.
Early last month, the Chairman, Uyo Senatorial District Elders Council, Major General Edet Akpan (rtd.), along with several key political elders and opinion leaders in the area, told a world press conference in Uyo that any attempt by any of the aspirants to exceed two terms of four years would be setting a dangerous precedence in the polity that would be difficult to sustain.
According to the former National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) Director: “After a careful and painstaking review of the political antecedents of the three Federal Constituencies that make up the senatorial district (Uyo, Etinan and Itu), the Council observed that Etinan, where the incumbent Senator comes from, was the only constituency that has produced a representative that has served more than one term of four years”.
Consequently, he argued that considering that each of the nine local government areas (Uyo, Uruan, Nsit Atai, Nsit Ubium, Nsit Ibom, Ibiono Ibom, Ibesikpo/Asutan, Itu and Etinan) that cut across the three constituencies has equal stake and right to serve in that capacity, it would neither promote equity nor enthrone fairness among all stakeholders if Etinan is allowed another four-year term in 2011.
“If Etinan were to get a third term, the Council reasoned that a dangerous precedence would have been set in the political arrangement of the district, as each of the other constituencies or local government areas would have to wait agonisingly for a minimum of 36 years, or 108 years, respectively, to realise the dream of having a representation from their area in the Senate,” he explained.
Traditional rulers in the nine local government areas, under the aegis of Forum of Paramount Rulers in Uyo Senatorial District, have also declared that “as custodians of the people’s traditional values, which abhor any act capable of injuring their oneness and brotherhood, “two terms is more than enough for any one Distinguished Senator”, “in order to preserve the spirit of unity, love, equity and justice among the people”.
Similarly, 456 village heads from all the nine local government areas also met under the umbrella of the Conference of Village Heads of Akwa Ibom State, not only demanded that the representation in the senatorial seat to be moved from Etinan to Itu/Ibiono Ibom Federal Constituency, but also urged the state Governor, Obong Godswill Akpabio, as the leader of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state to ensure the actualisation of the decision, in the interest of equity and justice.
The Oku Ibom Ibibio, HRH Edidem Robert Obot 11, told the House of Representatives Committee on Rules and Business, during a courtesy visit in his palace that he will do everything within his powers to ensure that what is right for the people is done.
The traditional head of the Ibibios, who is also the paramount ruler of Nsit Ubium Local Government Area, said he was speaking on behalf of seven other traditional rulers for Uyo, Etinan, Nsit Ubium, Nsit Atai, Uruan, Itu and Ikono local government, pointing out that though royal fathers are non-partisan, it is at the peril of the political aspirants to ignore their opinion in the affairs affecting the corporate interest of the people.
While thanking Mr. Ita Enang for being “a worthy representative in the National Assembly”, particularly his role during the fight for the abolition of the onshore/offshore oil dichotomy principles in the constitution, he wished him the best in his aspirations to vie for the Uyo Senatorial District seat in the forthcoming elections.
“As royal fathers who should not be seen to be partisan, let me, on behalf of the other traditional rulers in the council, wish you success in your future aspirations, even though only God knows the man who will win at the end, given that three persons are vying for the same position from Ibiono Ibom,” he said.
Before departing the Oku Ibom’s palace, in the company of other first glass paramount rulers present, performed the symbolic anointing of the aspirant, declaring: “As this oil is poured on your head today, you shall shine and win in all your endeavours”.
The Will Of God Cannot Take You Where His Glory Cannot Keep You’.
Mr. Udo INIM, a commentator on national issues, writes from Uyo, Akwa Ibom State