By Chioma Onuegbu and Harris-Okon Emmanuel, Uyo
The high and low in Ikot Ekpene Senatorial District defied the rains to affirm support for Governor Udom Emmanuel’s second term aspiration last Monday in a political carnival unequalled in recent times.
Monday, July, 16, witnessed an endorsement of both Governor Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom State and Senate Minority Leader Senator Godswill Akpabio for a second term in office by the people of Ikot Ekpene senatorial district.
The event which was held at the Ikot Ekpene Township Stadium, Ikot Ekpene local government area was well attended by the prominent political bigwigs and stakeholders of the People’s Democratic Party, PDP from the senatorial district.
Prominent among them were a former deputy governor of the state, Senator Christopher Ekpenyong , who chaired the event, Senator Emmanuel Ibokessien, Barr Emmanuel Enoidem (National Legal Adviser of PDP), Sir Udoh Kieran Akpan, leader of State House of Assembly, Barr. Uwemedimo Nwoko, Attorney General of Akwa Ibom state and not a former Commissioner of Finance in the State, Sir Sunday Akpan.
Air Commodore Idongesit Nkanga, (PDP leader Uyo senatorial district) Senator Albert Akpan, state Chairman of PDP, Obong Paul Ekpo, Speaker of the state house of Assembly Onofiok Luke, members of state and National Assembly and were also in attendance.
Party supporters including youths, men and women from various political groups defied the rain that almost ruined the event and came out in large numbers from their different local government areas to grace the occasion.
Although the event was scheduled for 10:00am the venue was filled to the brim before the time.
The event eventually started with an opening prayer said by the state Attorney General, Barr Uwemedimo Nwoko at about 12:30pm.
A vote of confidence passed on both Governor Udom Emmanuel and Senator Godswill Akpabio to continue beyond 2019 came through a motion moved and seconded by the Leader and Chief Whip of the State House of Assembly, Sir Udo Kierian Akpan and Mr. Emmanuel Ekpenyong respectively.
Speaker after speaker from the senatorial district described the endorsement for a second term as deserving given the performances of both the governor and the senator representing the district within their first term in office.
In his opening remarks Chairman of the occasion and a former Deputy Governor of the state, Dr. Christopher Ekpenyong, said he was impressed with the effort of the Governor and the Senate Minority Leader so far towards ensuring that the senatorial district enjoyed fair share of democratic dividends especially in the area of infrastructure, industrialization and manpower development.
Ekpenyong described Governor Udom Emmanuel as a worthy leader and Son -In-Law, strategic planner, thinker as well as a strategic leader.
His words, “Your uncommon performance in office will surely speak for you in 2019 as the people of this district are grateful for your various achievements. And the people of this area are determined to reciprocate this kind gesture through their votes in 2019 because we want you to go back and do more for us.”
Speaking separately in their goodwill messages, Senator Ibok Essien, Obong Eno Akpan, Sunday Akpan, Barr Emmanuel Enoidem, pointed out that that good work must be rewarded.
“A good soup cost money and our Governor and Senator Akpabio have been preparing good soup for Akwa Ibom and Ikot Ekpene Senatorial District. And they do this by spending so much money. So, it is obvious that one cannot change the winning team,” Senator Ibok-Essien said.
Also speaking on behalf of Ikono/Ini federal constituency, Sir Sunday Akpan particularly pointed out that Akwa Ibom as a state needed prominent lawmakers like Senator Akpabio as a voice in the ongoing call for restructuring and return of true federalism in the country.
On his part, Obong Eno Akpan a former House of Representatives member who spoke for the people of Ukanafun/Oruk Anam Federal Constituency assured that his people with over 200,000 votes were solidly behind the PDP.
Both the governor and Senator Godswill Akpabio however appeared very much aware that PDP supporters in the state were not happy over the victory of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the Ekiti State governorship election last Saturday.
Accordingly during their respective speeches, the duo tried to reassure party supporters that in Akwa Ibom State the PDP would continue to have the ace.
The grand endorsement rally equally offered an opportunity for the party leaders particularly Senator Godswill Akpabio to give insight into the formation of Coalition of United Political Parties, (CUPP).
Addressing party supporters, Akpabio was quick to inform them that the party platform on which he will contest his second term ticket for Ikot Ekpene Senatorial District in 2019 will not matter much.
“Whether you call it CUPP – Coalition of United Political Parties or whether it is PDP, no matter the political party, we are saying ‘Let God’s will be done again.”
On his own part Governor Emmanuel said he was overwhelmed by the show of solidarity and love by the people who defied the elements to receive him.
“The large turnout here shows that no matter what you do, if you don’t have people, you have nothing. So I am impressed by your kind endorsement and I promise to do my best with the mandate you have given me.”
Emmanuel told party supporters not be discouraged by the outcome of the Ekiti election saying that, “the case of Akwa Ibom state is different”
Buoyed by their win in Ekiti state last Saturday, stakeholders of the APC in the state had been boasting that it was a signpost that the APC could dare to encroach on Akwa Ibom in 2019.
The event featured the presentation of copies of the Holy Bible to Governor Emmanuel and Senator Godswill Akpabio and their spouses as symbol of blessing and victory in 2019.