Governor Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom State has warned people against hiding under the cloak of political party lines and pecuniary interests to fight against the developments of the state.
Governor Emmanuel who spoke at the Onna Township Stadium during the funeral of the late Paramount Ruler of Onna and Oku Ibom Ibibio 111, late Akwa Edidem Akpabio Udo Ukpa, called on all Akwa Ibomites to unite and pursue the overall interest of the state.
Alluding to the unity witnessed at the occasion by the gathering of all stakeholders in the state, he said, “There are no political parties here, but Akwa Ibomites, may this unity abound in us.”
He lamented the ugly scenario where several people could work against the interest of the state by sponsoring attacks and vandalism against his projects and programmes in the state, in order to score cheap political points.
Decrying the vandalism at his administration’s coconut plantation and refinery project site, among other similar incidents, he urged people to hearken to the sermon delivered at the occasion by fighting just causes in order to leave behind positive legacies for the unborn generations.
“A good fight must recognize that politics is over, and it is time for governance. A good fight must recognize when we live above party politics and think of the future generation,” he enthused.
Eulogizing the late social crusader, Emmanuel said, “We are gathered here today to bid farewell to a colossus, a giant among men who straddled the political, social and traditional space of this land with flash and dash.”
He said that the late Oku Ibom Ibibio 111 was “destined to be the loadstar that would eventually guide, direct and illuminate the path for thousands of people to find their purpose in life, and he did this, with utmost humility and a deep sense of community.”
“We have come here today to pay tribute to the last of that group of rare breed of men who dedicated their lives to public service, accepting in the process, the praise that is usually in short supply and the abuses that also come in torrents.”
The governor in an emotional tone, eulogized Chief Ukpa as one who was in the vanguard for the struggle against oppression, colonialism, and other forms of rights abuse, dating back to 1957 when he served in the Eket County council as pioneer secretary and treasurer, and later Executive Chairman, Onna County Council, before proceeding to serve as Member, Eastern House of Chiefs, Enugu from 1960-1966.
He described the passage of Edidem Ukpa as a sad event, and urged his family, friends and admirers to be consoled only by his services to humanity, to his community, state and the nation.
He announced the renaming of the Onna Sports center as the Akwa Edidem Akpabio Udo Ukpa Sports Stadium,and promised to build a befitting sports center to immortalize the late pace-setter in the wellbeing of the oil communities of the country.
Quoting Alphonse de Lamartine Governor Emmanuel who was flanked by his wife Martha opined that, “Sometimes when one person is absent the whole world seems depopulated,” adding that, “our community, state and the nation is indeed depopulated by the passing of this towering and proud son of Onna, Akwa Ibom and the nation at large.”
Former governors of the state Arch. Victor Attah and Senator Godswill Akpabio described the late sage as a disciplined leader who was not involved in partisan politics but exuded positive influence on the polity of the state especially in the course of justice and equity.
Akwa Edidem (Dr.) Akpabio Udo Ukpa, JP, FCE, Pfd, the Oku Ibom Ibibio 111/ Paramount Ruler of Onna Local Government area was born on the 29th of June, 1923, in Ikot Edor and died at the age of 93.