The former commissioner, Arc. Okon Obot who introduced the defection phase of the event adduced reasons why the people had taken the decision. He said that the people had decided to cast their lot with Governor Emmanuel in order not to distort the 8-year tenancy other senatorial districts had enjoyed. He noted that it is the only way to maintain fairness and equity and ensure stability in the polity. Obot also added that the governor is an in-law and in the Annang cultural mores, an in-law is a taboo, pointing out that, that in itself imposes a moral and cultural imperative in terms of support to Udom on people of Annang extraction. He said that by reason of this, no vote of any person from Abak 5 would go astray. The former chairman of Abak Local Government Area reminded the people of the blessings that accrue to those who uphold the cultural norm and the wrath that may visit those who do the contrary. The icing on the cake of his speech was the announcement of the defection of Obong Sunny Udom from APC to PDP which came after he called the names and number of Ward executives of APC that had also defected to PDP. Obong Udom until that historic defection was the director-general of campaigns for All Progressive Congress (APC).
Obong Sunny Udom, a Quantity Surveyor and Political Juggernaut is not an unknown quantity. He is a well known player on the political turf. A one time member of the House of Representatives and former State Vice Chairman of the People’s Democratic Party, Obong Udom was a vocal voice in the APC. During the 2015 general elections, he was the Director-General of campaigns for the APC. He comes across as an eloquent and cerebral politician. On the podium that fateful day of his defection, he said that as the DG of the campaigns, he is in a good stead to ascertain the state of health of the party. The former chieftain of APC declared without any equivocation that the party can not boast of a clean bill of health. He said that why many initially trooped to the party was to prospect for non existing contracts pointing out hat the people were returning having realized that the so called contracts were scams. The former Director General stated that APC is immersed in such disorder that returning to the party of the people, PDP is the only option. Obong Udom concluded his dramatic speech on a spiritual note: “May the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be accepted unto you”.
The elated State Chairman of the People’s Democratic Party who accepted and admitted the decampees into the party affirmed that the only party that is truly of the people is PDP. He assured the governor of the support of the party reiterating that come 2019, Udom would be the governor. The two term chairman of the party said that anywhere the party goes; it keeps doing good. He advised those flaunting banners conveying information on their aspirations to drop them as the party so far knows only the persons of the Governor and Senate Minority Leader as the people that would fly the flags of the party in 2019.
The Senate Minority Leader and Senator representing Ikot Ekpene Senatorial District which Abak 5 is a component, Senator Godswill Akpabio further enlivened the mood of the event when he addressed the mammoth crowd. Akpabio who was a Special Guest of Honour at the event said that he came as witness to see the mammoth crowed and testify what God has done in the life of the State and the people. The former governor made a detour into history stating that when he was endorsed at this same venue in 2007 and 2011, he was always the first to be announced asserting that Governor Emmanuel would be the first to be announced in 2019. Senator Akpabio told Udom and the wife that the people love them and are very proud of them. He assured the governor of his support and that of the people and pledged his commitment to the full realization of the second term bid of the governor.
For the endorsement of Emmanuel and Akpabio for second term as governor and senator respectively, Senator Akpabio thanked the people adding that his modest deeds are to complement the efforts of the governor. He lauded the governor for making them proud in the manner he has run the affairs of the State stating that the people of Abak -5 and indeed Ikot Ekpene Senatorial District are determined to reciprocate the kind gesture with their votes for him come 2019. To add panache to his speech, he introduced a song and the crowed quickly took over singing along with enthusiasm as Akpabio took a swashbuckling walk back to his seat to accentuate his conviction that both reelections to wit: governorship and senate are fait accompli.
The Deputy Governor, His Excellency, Mr. Moses Ekpo, House Leader of Akawa Ibom State House of Assembly, Rt. Honourable Udo Kierian Akpan and Chief Ekpuk Eshiet who served as the chairman of the Planning Committee took turns to address the gathering as well as laud the guests for honouring the invitation with their physical presence.
The deputy governor lauded the governor and the wife for what they have done in the State. He said Abak-5 was lucky to have Governor Emmanuel as an inlaw and the wife as their daughter. He charged the people to continue to support the Udom administration as it is set to do more than it has done already. House Leader of Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly, Rt. Honourable Udo Kierian in his remarks also thanked the governor and the wife and assured them of the support of the people of Oruk-Anam LGA. Chief Ekpuk Eshiet who chaired the planning committee that delivered the event in his speech used an allegorical story of a bird and a small boy. The moral of the story which was an admonition to hold on to what one has, was extended to the people whom he charged to hold unto Udom since he is the only one Abak 5 has.
The First Lady and wife of the governor, Her Excellency, Mrs. Martha Udom Emmanuel who was visibly elated by the mammoth crowd that thronged the venue of the reception accorded her and the husband thanked the people and assured them of more performance by the governor. She said that the huge crowed was an indication of the love the people of Abak 5 have for them asserting that the show of love would be rewarded by God and man.
Governor Emmanuel was also effusive in his thanks to the people of Abak-5. He promised to turn old Abak Division into an industrial estate stating that for that to be achieved; the power sector must be strengthened. The governor highlighted the things he has done including the building of infrastructure that are being done to leverage the power sector stating that the provision of power is a precursor to industrial development. Governor Emmanuel also notified the people of Abak of a proposed technical school to be cited between Ukanafun and Oruk-Anam . He further informed them of the USD $18 Million bamboo factory adding that agreement has already been signed. Emmanuel lamented the state of General Hospital, Ikot Okoro but was pleased to announce that massive rehabilitation work was ongoing and that within 3 months, the hospital would be up and running with state-of-the-art facilities.
The event which was actually organized as a platform for the endorsements of Governor Udom Emmanuel and Senator Godswill Akpabio for second term as governor and Senator respectively achieved that aim and even beyond. The event had the “who is who” in old Abak Division. If the size of the crowed is anything to go by which actually is in politics, then it is safe to say that Governor Emmanuel and Senator Akpabio would return to their offices to hold forte as leaders of the State beyond 2019.
By Joe Iniodu
Joe Iniodu is a public affairs analyst