By Umoh-Obong Kingsley
As the race for the 2019 general elections gets tougher by the day, and inward look and in-depth thought would discover that not all of the candidates for political offices have anything in mind to offer for the benefit of the electorates and for the development of the state. While some are contesting to have direct access to the resources of the state in order to proffer solution to most of the economic problems facing the state, others are in the race for their personal interests. But a closer look into the antecedents of most of the candidates will, however, unravel what they are in for.
In Akwa Ibom State, there are several others vying the office of the No.1 citizen of the state – Hilltop Mansion, but let’s focus on the two major candidates of the governorship seat, which are the incumbent Governor of the State, Deacon Udom Gabriel Emmanuel, who is contesting for his second term in office under the umbrella body of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), and Obong Nsima Ekere of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
The Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) and former Deputy Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Nsima Ekere, who was ousted out of office by his then boss, Godswill Akpabio, due to his disloyalty, drug addiction and inconsistent attitude. He left the PDP for the APC in a quest to win the 2015 governorship election in Akwa Ibom State for Umana Okon Umana but lost to Udom Gabriel Emmanuel of the PDP who was massively voted for and declared elected by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
The momentum has grown for the APC’s Governorship hopeful for the 2019 elections since the much-talked-about defection of his former boss, Godswill Akpabio, to the APC, joining force in causing anarchy and violence to threaten the hard-earned peace of the state.
In July 2013, Udom Emmanuel was appointed Secretary to the State Government of Akwa Ibom State under Governor Godswill Akpabio, and later aspired for the governorship seat in a hotly contested primary election and defeated 22 other aspirants (G22) to emerge the candidate of the Akwa Ibom State People’s Democratic Party (PDP). His campaign with the slogan, ‘Udom is Right; received mass support. In 2015, he was elected Governor of Akwa Ibom State, running under the platform of the PDP and with 999,071 votes to defeat APC’s candidate Umana Okon Umana who scored 89,865 votes of the APC.
Governor Udom Emmanuel, upon assumption of office, has been able to lead the Akwa Ibom from a predominantly civil service state to an industrial hub of the nation through his five-point agenda of Wealth Creation, Economic and Political Inclusion, Poverty Alleviation, Infrastructural Consolidation and Expansion, and Job Creation, as blueprint for the development of the state, which brought at least 12 industries in the state.
Before now, the immediate past administration had promised to site at least one industry in each of the 31 local government areas of the state, which would amount to 31 industries but could not boast of a single industry in its entire eight years tenure. But Governor Emmanuel, within his three and a half years in office, has been able to attract not less than 12 industries in the state including the Jubilee Syringe Manufacturing Company Ltd in Onna (largest in Africa), Greenwell Fertilizer Blending Factory in Oku Abak, Electric Metering Industry in Onna, Kings Flour Mill, Rice Processing Mill in Ini, AKEES Toothpick, Pencil, Plastic and Cottage Industries and a host of other industries.
Despite dwindling resources due to economic recession in the country, Governor Udom Emmanuel remains focused on delivering qualitative governance. For just about three and a half years on the saddle, the Governor has not left anyone in doubt as to his mission of translating his campaign promises to affect lives, thereby ensuring that government is seen as a force for good.
Different sectors including Agriculture and Food Sufficiency, Education, Works and Infrastructure, Investment, Commerce and Industry, Health Care, Culture and Tourism, Housing and Special Duties, Unity Luxury Estate Project and several other sectors have experienced the dividends of democracy by the Udom Emmanuel-led administration.
School children in the state now enjoy free, compulsory and quality basic education, as well as payment of over N600 million as WAEC fees every year. Children of age 0-5 are being treated free and the aged too. The youths are not left behind as they have been empowered with diverse skill acquisition programmes.
Akwa Ibom State had, in time past, witnessed violence ranging from kidnapping, assassination, armed robbery, thuggery and other societal vices in the previous administration, but Governor Udom Emmanuel has left no stone unturned in a quest to return normalcy and that has yielded massive result as Akwa Ibom was recently adjudged the safest state in Nigeria by a former Commissioner of Police in the state, Mr. John Bassey Abang, and was confirmed by former Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria and Emir of Kano, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi II, who declared Akwa Ibom investors-friendly.
The unfolding events of recent times in the state can also serve as indicators as to who has the interest and future of the state and its people at heart, for he who thinks well will act well. He who acts well will do well. He who does well will take our native land to a greater height. It is not all about fighting, disobedient and division of any means. It is to embrace peace for our land to be healed from violence. The Holy Book states that “If my people, which are called by name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.
My people, elders of our land, youths, men, women, old and young, let’s rise up to look for the failure mode and root causes of problems in our dear land in order to search for counter measures to these problems.
Any alternative to Udom Emmanuel is satanic. Udom is right and nothing can go wrong with God that is with us.
Kingsley writes in from Uyo.