Akwa Ibom State Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) stakeholders on Sunday endorsed and Governor Udom Emmanuel named a concensus candidate to succeed him.
Recall that Governor Udom Emmanuel had during the past 12 months advised Akwa Ibom people to remain calm as he was waiting on the holy spirit to reveal to him someone to succeed him in office.
In a stakeholders meeting held at government house, Uyo on Sunday, the state Commissioner for Lands, Mr Umo Eno was presented as preferred candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for the 2023 gubernatorial election.
Our Correspondent reports that Eno had been rumoured by persons close to the seat of power as one who was likely to receive Governor Emmanuel’s anointing.
Information available to our correspondent had it that the governor had invited some party elders including some of those rumoured to be nursing gubenatorial ambition, to the governor’s lodge without disclosing to them the agenda for the meeting.
It was however surprising to many when former governor Victor Attah to presented Umo Eno as the endorsed candidate of the stakeholders of the party at the meeting.
Some gubernatorial aspirants, some of whom are still serving in the state Executive Council, including the Commissioner for Economic Development and Ibom Deep Seaport, Mr Akan Okon, was reportedly not present at the meeting.
When contacted, the Chief Press Secretary to the governor, Mr Ekerete Udo, confirmed the incident, but said the action was taken by a cross section of stakeholders in the state.
In his words “The governor announced that he (Eno) was the one God has revealed to him as the next governor of the state and he was unveiled to all the stakeholders from the three senatorial districts of the state by the former governor, Obong Victor Attah, who then commended the choice. It was an array of the political elders made up of senators and House of Representatives members.” Udo said.
It was however learnt that one of the governorship aspirants and Chairman, House Representatives Committee on Judiciary, Mr Onofiok Luke stormed out of the meeting when he was not allowed to express himself during the said endorsement.
Luke who was later contacted by newsmen said he was not aware of the agenda of the meeting but had to attend to honour the governor who extended the invitation to him.
In his words “I’m not against their endorsement; and I’m not against the elders of the state. But I’m saying the endorsement could have happened after proper consultation.
“I went to Obong Attah and told him why didn’t you talk to all of us who are in this race? Why didn’t you talk to Sen Bassey Albert, why didn’t you talk to Akan Udofia; why didn’t you talk to Akan Okon; why didn’t you talk to James Iniama? because it was Obong Attah who amade the presentation, not the governor.
“We would have loved their endorsement but that would have been after due consultation. We would love the endorsement by the elders of the state. But whoever they would endorse should be the choice of the majority of people in the state
” So, for me as Onofiok Akpan Luke, I am in the race for the governorship. I am going to stand election on the platform of my party the PDP. I am not part of that endorsement at all.
“But I respect their views; I respect the opinion and choice of the governor. I respect Obong Victor Attah and the opinion of the elders of the state. It is their choice. I only respect their opinion; but I am not in support of what they are doing.
” I was ambushed. I didn’t know the agenda of the meeting but I had to respect the governor and attend the meeting at the lodge on his invitation.”For thee good times I had raised my hand seeking to be allowed to speak but I was ignored”.