The ex-governor spoke on Friday last week following Udom Emmanuel’s declaration of intent to run for a second term as governor.

Kosiso Anokwuru

Former governor of Akwa Ibom State, Air Commodore Idongesit Nkanga (rtd) has said the current governor, Udom Emmanuel, has laid a solid foundation for the industrialisation of the state. He expressed confidence that, with the governor’s strides in that area as well as in other sectors, Akwa Ibom’s continued development was assured.

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The ex-governor spoke on Friday last week following Udom Emmanuel’s declaration of intent to run for a second term as governor. The ceremony was held at at the Godswill Akpabio International Stadium, Uyo, with thousands of people in attendance.

Nkanga, the director-general of the Divine Mandate Campaign Organisation, said the current administration has attracted a number of industries to the state through the provision of an enabling environment. Some of such industries, he said, include the Jubilee Syringe Manufacturing, Awa, Onna Local Government Area, pencil and toothpick factories, resuscitation of Peacock Paints Industry, installation of a power plant sub-station, and fertilizer factory, among others.

He expressed optimism that some other facilities, including the Ibom Deep Seaport, Ibom Industrial Park and Jetty, a plastic manufacturing concern, as well as a flour mill, among others, would soon be completed.

Nkanga said Friday’s event was an opportunity to express appreciation to the people of the state, most of whom had been openly canvassing that Udom should run for another term.

Earlier, the governor had said he was presenting himself for consideration to continue the works he had been able to achieve as a ‘servant-leader’ in the state. He charged the people not to jettison the platform that had given the state a lot of opportunities and had provided visible democratic dividends since 1999.

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He listed achievements in the areas of investments in quality health care, development and provision
of amenities, food security and affordability, as well as education, among others. He stated that the construction of several economically viable roads had opened up the hinterland to enable commercial activities to thrive.

The governor said the people of the state had been very cooperative with his government, which led to the successful establishment of several industries in the state.

He also denied insinuations that he had abandoned some parts of the state, noting that the Uyo-Ikot Ekpene road, which had only three kilometres executed when he mounted the saddle, had now gone beyond 20 kilometres. He said his government was also working to make the Four Points by Sheraton Hotel a standard facility.

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Udom said: “The hotel never had the trappings of a five star hotel at the time we assumed office. It is only today that we are negotiating with Starwood Group for the acquisition of the name ‘Four Points by Sheraton Hotel.’ We just did the electrical installation and other finishing.”

Rivers State governor, Nyesom Wike, praised Udom’s purposeful leadership. He described Udom as a sincere and God-fearing leader that had the support of the people.

Speaker of the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly and chairman of the central planning committee of the event, Rt. Hon. Onofiok Luke, said he rejected an offer of N2 billion as well as the offer of a deputy governor’s position from those who wanted him to defect from the ruling party in the state.

A former deputy governor, Chris Ekpenyong, said the people of Ikot Ekpene were in support of the governor’s second term ambition. He said Governor Udom had done a lot in the area to convince all doubters that he deserved the people’s votes again in 2019.

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“If our son decides to leave us and go to another party, that is his political interest and one man’s political interest cannot supersede the interest of a people,” Ekpenyong stated.

Another former deputy governor, Sir Etim Okpoyo, said the people of Eket Senatorial District were fully behind the governor. He said Udom had recorded several accomplishments in Eket, including construction of blocks of classrooms in many schools, renovation of health centres, the international market at Urua Nka, construction of dozens of roads, dualisation of the 19.5-kilometre Eket-Ibeno Road and the dualisation of the 23.4-kilometre Eket-Etinan Road with three bridges.

Senator Anietie Okon and Effiong Bob, who spoke on behalf of the people of Uyo, also praised the governor for his strides in the state capital. They contended that it was wiser for Udom to complete a second term, so that someone from the Uyo district could get the people’s nod in 2023.

Chairmen of the 31 local government areas in the state said the governor had worked hard in every local government in the state.

Mr. Frank Archibong, chairman, Eket LGA, who spoke on behalf of other council bosses, said: “We were 31, and we are still 31. You have our support. Anyone that says he is going to overrun Akwa Ibom must first contend with all 31 of us.”

Women groups, led by Senator Helen Esuene, youth groups, who spoke through Aniedi Iwa, and many other groups also pledged support for the governor.

Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state, Mr Paul Ekpo, said: “In 2014, we had G23, but today we only have G1.” He assured the governor that the people of Akwa Ibom were behind him and would ensure his return in May next year.