Nseobong Okon-Ekong writes that all pointers indicate an overwhelming victory for Governor Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom State in the March 9 governorship contest
The victory of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in all three Senate seats and 10 federal constituencies in Akwa Ibom State has again noted the supremacy of the PDP in the state.
The defeat of Senator Godswil Akpabio in his own Senate bid on the platform of the All Progressives Congress was particularly remarkable, given the fact that he had pledged to use what he thought was his clout to crush the PDP.
The victory of the PDP was, however, not for anything. It was based on the fact that the people of the state had seen and believed the works of the incumbent governor of the state, Mr. Udom Emmanuel who deviated from his predecessor’s path to the touch the felt needs of the people of the state.
Indeed, Mr. Emmanuel’s achievements are evident in all three senatorial districts of the state.
The February 23, 2019 Presidential and National Assembly in the country has come and gone remaining the governorship and state assembly polls coming up on March 9.
However in Akwa Ibom state, analysts of the results of the last Saturday election were quick to conclude that the PDP would still carry the day for the governorship and state assembly polls.
Some pointed out that the PDP would have recorded higher scores in the last election if not that the opposition APC in the state caused violence using political thugs and armed security men to disrupt election in PDP strongholds in some wards across the state that led to the cancellation of results in those areas.
Also the result of the last Saturday election which saw the PDP swept all the three senatorial and ten federal constituency seats in the state seemed to point to the fact that Akwa Ibom PDP was prepared for the general elections.
Speculation in some quarters is that the victory of governor Udom Emmanuel is a done deal. This is because he is enjoying massive support of majority of Akwa Ibom stakeholders and elders including all House of Representatives and Senator-elects.
Besides the boasts that Akwa Ibom state is predominantly a PDP state given the fact that it has been controlled by the PDP since 1999, the governor’s achievements across the three senatorial districts of the state seemed to have won him massive of Akwa Ibom people.
Even majority of the citizen and residents were surprised as the governor reeled out his achievements during the campaign tours to the different local government areas ahead of the elections to learn that he was actually working contrary to positions of his critics.
For some of them, what the governor did was like lighting a candle and hiding it under the bushel.
But the governor’s close associates and aides understood the fact that the governor was just being modest or humble about his achievements.
Unlike in previous elections where some aggrieved communities would attack a governorship candidate coming to seek their support for re-election for neglect and marginalization, governor Emmanuel was widely accepted in all the communities and local government areas he toured during his campaigning.
Some Akwa Ibom indigenes even recalled that the convoy of the two past governors of the state were stoned in some areas or even chased out by angry youths during their re-election campaigns especially in the Oro axis of Eket senatorial district as a result of neglect, and non fulfilment of promises made to them earlier.
Close allies and the optimism that aides to the governor were even quick to attribute the development to his performance and spread of development projects and appointments across the senatorial districts especially to the yet-to-be touched areas.
The Commissioner for Works Mr. Ephraim Inyang-Eyen has done so many road projects in the different parts of the state. He listed some of the roads which cuts across ikot Ekpe, Eket and Uyo senatorial districts to include Obtome-Arochukwu road, Awa-Ikot Edem-ikot Edem, 10kilometers Udung Uko road, Ring road2 in Uyo,
“If you go to Akwa Ibom state University, Obio Akpa campus, 6.4kilometers including those linking communities are ready for commissioning. Oron Phase2 is also on course notwithstanding the financial setbacks. By end of April Etebi Enwang road will be ready. In Mkpat Enin and Oruk Anam LGAs we have roads ready for commissioning”
Inyang said not even the outcome of the presidential election could affect the result of Akwa Ibom governorship polls in the state, stressing, “Akwa Ibom people stand with governor Udom Emmanuel. The choices before Akwa Ibom people are very clear and by March 9, they will speak very loud. That is why there are fears in the camp of the APC”
A public servant and member of opposition APC in the state who spoke to in confidence said his wish is for governor Emmanuel to continue so that the peace being currently enjoyed in the state would continue.
He disclosed that most of their members voted President Muhammadu Buhari but may not want to vote Nsima Ekere because they do not trust him and his allies especially Godswill Akpabio and Umana Okon Umana to give Akwa Ibom peace and security.
He prayed for peaceful governorship polls saying, “Election without bloodshed is a major step towards deepening our democracy in Akwa Ibom state and entrenching a new political culture different from what was obtainable in the recent past”
The Eket senatorial district where the governor hails from is definitely giving massive support to their own.
In fact some of the people appear very happy that for the first time since 1999 they are feeling the impact of government in their communities.
And the development appear also to have reduced youth restiveness in the areas who prides themselves as the oil producing areas of the state.
Past governments witnessed ceaseless protest by the youths of the each of the local government areas following marginalization and neglect.
Even key stakeholders of these areas especially Eket local government area in particular never hid their disappointment that the past governments failed to give Eket infrastructure befitting its status as a metropolitan city, and as the local government area that houses expatriates operating in the oil fields in the senatorial district.
However, the development projects ranging from roads, industries attracted to the areas by the Governor Udom led government seemed to have put to rest the agitations and angst.
Among the projects, that the governor Udom’s administration has executed in Eket local Government area a in the past few years include the International Market, the reconstruction of the Township stadium.
And the nearly completed re-modeling of the Eket town is expected to give a facelift to the long abandoned local government area.
In Onna Local government area you have the Syringe, Metering and flour factories, while in Mkpat Enin LGA you have the Coconut plantation and Refinery. The plantation extends to Eastern Obolo LGA.
Some local government areas such as Mbo have also benefitted from the administration by way of appointment of the indigenes into key positions in the state.
There is the appointment of Dr. Emmanuel Ekuwem an Mbo son as Secretary to State Government, won governor Udom Emmanuel lots of commendation and support from the people and stakeholders of the area.
In fact it is on record that no indigene of the area has been appointed into key government position since 1999. Apart from giving the people a sense of belonging in government it appears to have also erased the feeling that they were treated as second class citizens in the state.
The reconstruction of General hospital Iquita in Oron Local government area which is about to be commissioned as well as road constructions in some long neglected local government areas like Udung Ukoh have also boosted support for governor Udom in the senatorial district.
Similarly, so many local government areas in Uyo senatorial district such as Uruan, and Etinan are currently benefitting from infrastructural developments.
The massive support the governor received from Uruan local government area to many is not surprising given that this administration unlike previous administrations has attracted projects to the area such as, the Akwa Hatchery Cattle ranch. Some of the community leaders who spoke when the governor took the PDP campaign to the area were quick to point out that they were neglected by the past governments.
Among notable development projects governor Emmanuel did in the area includes rehabilitating the Ituk Mbang General Hospital that was in ruin and key roads in the communities particularly Uyo Itam-Ibiaku-Uruan to Planet FM roads and Mbiaya -Ita-Ikpa-Mbiakong -Idu roads that had posed untold suffering on the communities for so many years.
Although the general opinion of Akwa Ibom people is that the immediate past governor of the state, Senator Godswill Akpabio concentrated development in his senatorial district Ikot Ekpene, the current governor has also extended his programmes to the area.
Among other projects being executed by this administration in the senatorial district include The Rice Mill in Ini LGA, and Fertilizer blending factory in Abak, LGA.
It is also on record that the governor has done roads in some of local government areas in the senatorial district that did not benefit during Akpabio’s administration such as Nto Edino- Ekwere Azu Road in Obot Akara LGA with 2NO 45m span Bridges among others.
Also Governor Udom Emmanuel has almost completed the controversial Uyo-Ikot Ekpene dualised road, inherited from his predecessor Akpabio.
In the health sector governor Udom is receiving commendations from communities across the senatorial districts over the reconstruction and re-equipping of the almost abandoned General Hospitals in the state.
And the seven that have so far been reconstructed and rehabilitated in the first phase, spreads across the three senatorial districts.
And his development strides appear to have won him confidence of majority of Akwa Ibom people and dwarfed the few dissenting voices expectedly from the opposition APC, hence the unwavering support from the three districts.
It is even being speculated that majority of other opposition political parties in the state appear ready and willing to deliver governor Udom Emmanuel.
Some of the parties were quick to commend the conduct of after last Saturday election which they observed was the first credible and fair election ever held in the state.
Speaking in a telephone interview Barr Mfon Peters, State Chairman of Masses Movement of Nigeria, MMN said he is particularly impressed with the industrialization effort of Governor Udom’s administration.
“I want you to understand that I support good governance and good leadership and in Akwa Ibom state it has been so good. He has done his best to make sure that Akwa Ibom state becomes the most industrialised state in Nigeria, therefore I support his re-election for a second term,” he simply said.