2023: Youth group warns Akwa Ibom gov, insists on zoning

2023: Youth group warns Akwa Ibom gov, insists on zoning

An Akwa Ibom youth group in the aegis of Itu/Ibiono Ibom Federal Constituency Youth Leaders Forum has decried the attempt by the state Governor, Mr. Udeme Emmanuel, for whatever reason, to embark on the voyage of distorting the sacred history of the land, regarding who takes over from him, in 2023.

The position of the group is against the anointed candidature of the state commissioner of Lands and Housing, Pastor Umo Eno by the governor, as his preferred successor in 2023, against the unwritten promise made, to give power to Itu federal constituency in 2015.

The youth insisted that Governor Udom Emmanuel must respect zoning arrangement by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in respect for Uyo Senatorial District and allow the people of Itu/Ibiono Ibom federal constituency to take their turn after other federal constituencies in the Senatorial District have been privileged to produce the governor in the state.

In a press conference held at the conference hall of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) press center, along Information drive, Uyo, Akwa Ibom state capital on Tuesday, the group reasoned that: Justice, fair play was necessary for the area, to strengthen the records and indeed be vindicated by posterity.

“It has become absolutely necessary that we address the world today as a federal constituency, on the issue that is dominating every discussion at every clustering of Akwa Ibom citizens, be it at home or in diaspora, it is the issue of governorship of our dear state come 2023.”

In his address, the spokesman for the youth  Barrister Bassey Etim Bassey frowned at a situation where the state governor is spending state funds to finance his preferred aspirant, Umo Eno, saying that such financial recklessness depletes the economy of the state.

He recalled that Itu/Ibiono Ibom federal constituency was denied the opportunity to produce the governor in 1999 and 2014 when their illustrious sons aspired to become governor of the state but were prevailed to rescind their aspiration in the hope that at the appropriate time the area will be considered.

“In 1999 two prominent sons of Itu/Ibiono Ibom federal constituency; Obong Nsima Umoh (Abai Ibiono) and Late Obong Ebong Okon (OFR) stepped out to contest the gubernatorial election, but through the understanding midwived by stakeholders like Senator Anietie Okon, Chief Itak Bob Ekarika, Chief Otu Robert Akpan, Senator Ibok Essien, Otuekong Don Etiebet and Late Senator Etang Umoeyo, etc, engendered the emergence of Obong Victor Attah as a consensus candidate of the party, on that accord Itu/Ibiono federal constituency were shown reasons to wait for the next turn, which is now.

“In 2014, when one of our sons from the federal constituency, Obong Bassey Albert indicated interest for the position, stakeholders in the state, including, the then governor, His Excellency Obong Godswill Obot Akpabio, all impressed on the federal constituency to allow Eket senatorial district to take a shot. It was further agreed at the town hall meeting organized by the party stakeholders at the Kenedy Ekong Hall, Itu local government council, that when the governorship returns to Uyo senatorial district, that it shall be the turn of Itu/Ibiono Ibom federal constituency in the spirit of justice, equity, and fair play.”

He said the people were not comfortable with the undemocratic disposition of governor Udom Emmanuel which he said was capable of truncating democratic institutions in the state.

He appealed to governor Emmanuel to respect peace, age-long peace accord, and be democratic in his approach to support his preferred candidate among other demands.

“The governor can support whosoever he chooses but not to overtly or covertly coerce appointees or political office holders with threats of sanction or falling out of his favour for failing to support his preferred aspirant or candidates, and or expressing their supports for other aspirants. Otherwise, imposition of any guise will certainly bring the existence of our party in Akwa Ibom state to an end, while promoting other political parties.

“It is noteworthy to mention that Akwa Ibom was founded on the six (6) Conference District of Ikot Ekpene, Abak, Eket, Ikot Abasi, Itu, and Uyo. It was therefore for political convenience, effective representation, ease of identifying, capturing, and protection of the diverse political interests of these conference districts that they were merged together to form what is now known as the SENATORIAL DISTRICTS. Itu and Uyo were merged to become – the Uyo Senatorial District; Ikot Ekpene and Abak formed the Ikot Ekene Senatorial District; while Eket and Ikot Abasi were merged to form the Eket Senatorial District.” He explained.

He noted that rotation of governorship position in the state was initiated and same started off as far back 1992 with his Excellency, late Obong Akpan Isamin taking the first shot.

“Unfortunately, that dispensation lasted for just about two (2) years as same was truncated by the military interruption. Let me politely but very firmly state here that the decision to have the governorship position zoned to a unit of the Conference District – being the Uyo Conference district, which later became Uyo Senatorial District, but particular, to the Etinan federal constituency, that is made up of Etinan, Nsit Ubium and Nsit Ibom Local Government Areas was never an event of ‘happenstance’ but a concerted effort at ensuring that with the effluxion of time all the senatorial districts and indeed all the micro-units being the federal constituencies would have a feel of the seat when it rotates to each of the conference districts, now senatorial districts. In that arrangements, our distinguished sons, like; Senator Anietie Okon (senator who represented Uyo senatorial district under the platform of NRC) and Late Elder Ntieyong Iyangmme – then Chapter Chairman of National Republican Convention (NRC) amongst others were all part and parcel of this arrangements and can affirmatively restate this fact.

“With the return of democracy in 1999, his Excellency Obong Victor Attah took the turn of the Uyo federal constituency, being a unit of the former Conference District but now Uyo Senatorial District.

“Take notice that again it was agreed that at the expiration of Obong Attah’s tenure, that the implementation of rotation at the senatorial districts must be effectuated so as to accommodate other senatorial districts being birthed by the hitherto conference districts. This led to having the Ikot Ekpene and Eket senatorial districts produce governors respectively for the state. Respectfully, let me clearly and very firmly state here that His Excellency, Governor Udom Emmanuel is a product of Zoning.” He stressed.

He warned that in preaching peace all must endeavor to act peacefully and give peace a chance.

“In line with the Maintain Peace Mantra of this administration, we state that peace is predicated on the principle of justice, equity, and good conscience. To this end, we appeal to the consciences of the leaders and stakeholders of the state, and particularly, the governor, Mr. Udom Gabriel Emmanuel to allow the opportunity for Itu/Ibiono/Ibom federal constituency to produce the next governor of the state come 2023.” The spokesperson pleaded.

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