Okon Bassey in Uyo
The people of Uyo Senatorial District, Akwa Ibom State on Saturday formally adopted and endorsed the State Governor, Mr. Udom Emmanuel as their sole governorship candidate for the 2019 general election in the state.
The endorsement of Emmanuel appears to have brought to end the circle of his adoption as the Peoplesâ€™ Democratic Party (PDP) Governorship candidate come 2019 general election.
Other senatorial districts in the state, Eket and Ikot Ekpene had done same more than a year ago as well as interest groups including religious body.
Thousands of people from the Uyo Senatorial District including elders, opinion leaders, political class, uniformed group, women and youths defied the early morning rain to march to the Uyo township stadium to participate in the political exercise.
The Chairman of the Planning committee for reception and political endorsement of the governor, Rt. Hon. Onofiok Luke noted that the Uyo Senatorial District was the first senatorial district in the state to adopt the Governor for a second term in a rally.
Luke, who is the Speaker of the Akwa Ibom state House of Assembly said the district was satisfied with empowerment and development of the state by the Governor without any bias including ethnic and religious consideration.
He noted that the Governor was playing politics of inclusion taking every senatorial district as one. â€œThe other interest Uyo Senatorial District decided to endorse you for second term is performanceâ€.
Luke listed areas that attract the adoption of the Governor come 2019 by the senatorial district to include achievement in the education, health, infrastructure, power, road, sports, agriculture, industrialisation, human capital development and respect for elders among other sectors.
He advised the Governor not to be bothered by the spat of criticisms that characterised his administration saying there was never a governor since 1999 that had not received same criticisms.
â€œIn 1999 to 2003 Obong Victor Attah was criticised for being on the drawing board for too long. In his second term we saw the evident of him being on the drawing board. What so ever happened in the second term is the consolidation of what happened in the first term.
â€œGovernor Godswill Akpabio was criticised for turning the entire state into a giant construction site. That was in his first term but we saw the evidence of him turning the state into a global map.
â€œYou (Governor Emmanuel) are in your first term, you came with an agenda to industrialise the state. You start with provision of amenities and infrastructure. The beginning of industrialisation is the creation of enable environment for investors to come.â€
He stated that the political interest for Uyo senatorial district to adopt the governor is for Governor Emmanuel at the end of his second term to also support the district to produce a governor in 2023.
Speaking at the political forum, Senate Minority Leader, Senator Godswill Akpabio lauded the people of Uyo Senatorial Districtâ€™s support for the Governor, saying since the district has the largest number of votes in the state and has no candidate for 2019 the victory of Emmanuel was assured.
He thanked the Governor for making Akwa Ibom a tourist attraction for national and international communities.
Akpabio who noted the effort and determination of Emmanuel to unite the three senatorial districts, cautioned against any plan by politicians to truncate the peaceful environment of the state.
â€œWe must continue to unite in Akwa Ibom State, love ourselves, we must not allow anybody within or outside the state to come and cause any division among us through ethnicity and tribalism so that we can progress. It is only through peace that the government can achieve developmentâ€, he said.
Akpabio, who had spoken for the Ikot Ekpene Senatorial District, assured that the people of district would produce bloc vote for the Governor and challenged the people of Uyo Senatorial District to do same. â€œYour Excellency, you must institute a prize for the senatorial district that will give you the highest number of vote come 2019â€.
The State Chairman of PDP who is from Uyo Senatorial District, Obong Paul Ekpo reassured the governor on winning the governorship election come 2019, saying the party remains loyal and committed for his success.
The chairman of the occasion, Otuekong Idongesit Nkanga said it was a thing of joy for the Uyo senatorial district to gather as a major bloc of political configuration of the state to endorse the governor for second term.
â€œAlthough Governor Emmanuel is from Eket Senatorial District, the leadership of Uyo senatorial district are gathered at this venue to publicly declare alignment to the second term aspiration of the Governor.
â€œAs a citizen of Nigeria, Mr. Emmanuel is protected by the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to seek re-election to the office of the Governor for the second termâ€, he declared.
Responding, Emmanuel praised the people of the Uyo Senatorial District for honouring him and the endorsement for his second term, saying the Uyo senatorial district has shown the entire state that love is not sentiment but strategic.
He said Akwa Ibom is the only state of the federation that a senatorial district has come out to endorse a sitting governor, stressing that he has accepted all the endorsements on him by various groups and senatorial districts.
â€œToday Uyo Senatorial District is saying there is no vacancy in the Hilltop mansion till 2023. Who am I to say no? The symbol of Akwa Ibom State unity is the zoning formula. Outsiders should leave us alone let us chart our course and develop our peopleâ€, he said.