The relatively peaceful Akwa Ibom State is currently witnessing some agitations among politicians as Governor Udom Emmanuel has retired Senator Bassey Albert and a member of the House of Representatives, Onofiok Luke, with the emergence of Pastor Umo Eno as the 2023 governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Most of the power gladiators in the state, including the federal legislators, had sought to hold Governor Udom Emmanuel ‘hostage’ in the build-up to the state delegates’ congress for the recruitment of the governorship candidate.
Most of the contenders withdrew from the congress that held on Wednesday in Uyo, the state capital, basing their action on a court injunction which in the mean, does not exist.
Irked, followers of the aspirants who withdrew from the contest are claiming that the next governor of Akwa Ibom will be decided by the Supreme Court.
But, a public interest and human rights lawyer, Sammy Etuk, is saying that the governorship aspirants, including the National Assembly members who withdrew from the contest, shot themselves in the foot.
According to him, ‘’it will be tough for them to prove that they have locus standi when they go to court. The subsisting electoral legislation in Nigeria today does not make provision for any court to stop parties’ primaries by way of injunction.
‘’Members of the National Assembly sought to use the controversial Section 84 of the Electoral Act to cut the excesses of governors. In their hurry to pass the law, they committed a lot of blunders playing out across the states.’’
On his part, Celestine Mel, Akwa Ibom political analyst says ‘’we need a full dose of empathy from political leadership. We need a governor who understands that a worker is entitled to the rewards from his labour; someone who connects with the weak and vulnerable and knows that when salary is owed, a generation suffers; when promotion is delayed, lives are stunted; when roads are not fixed, people pay with their lives.
‘’We need a governor who understands that N10,000 (which is less than the cost of a plate of food in some hotels in Uyo) can go a long way in creating everlasting hope and joy in the life of 57% of the people of our state, said to be living below the poverty line.
‘’I congratulate Pastor Umoh Eno for the success in the primaries, and pray that he learns from his weaknesses and leverages on his strengths.’’
Meanwhile, Governor Udom has congratulated Umo Eno for emerging as the PDP standard bearer for the 2023 election, saying the governorship candidate has the capacity to take the state to greater heights.
He has also appealed to the aggrieved party stalwarts to sink their differences and embrace peace since ‘’only one person can emerge winner as a governorship candidate although many aspirants were in the race.’’
Adding, the outgoing Akwa Ibom governor said, ‘’many people are always needed to form a government. This is why we should reconcile, come together to win the 2023 governorship election so that we can form a harmonious government for the good of Akwa Ibom people.’’