• Sunday, June 23, 2024
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A/Ibom governor keeps identity of likely successor under wraps as political momentum gathers pace

Excitement as Udom inaugurates roads, others in Akwa Ibom

Governor Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom state is keeping the identity of his likely successor close to his chest as the political momentum begins to gather pace in the state ahead of next year’s general election.

Many of the aspirants who are jostling to succeed him have used the holiday period to consult with key stakeholders and have seized the opportunity to engage with their constituents and in the process presented various items of empowerment to their supporters ahead of next year’s elections.

Apart from Obong Bassey Akpan, a senator from Uyo senatorial district who has attended many social events and met with his supporters in many parts of the state, other aspirants have also left no stone unturned in attending social activities in the state.

Senator Bassey Albert Akpan is reported to have donated several bags of rice to people across the state including religious leaders and this is said to have split the group into factions, one supporting the senator and the groups who have not received any empowerment undecided. Two notable religious groups in the state have emerged recently which include the Fathers of Faith, said to be enjoying the support of the governor and the other, Akwa Ibom Christian Assembly.

The governorship position is unofficially zoned to aspirants from Uyo senatorial district of the state since candidates from Uyo, Ikot Ekpene and Eket senatorial districts have all occupied the hilltop mansion, the official residence of the governor between 1999 and 2022. Having completed the first round of the zoning arrangement as it were, the Uyo senatorial district has the turn to present the next governorship candidate who is likely to be elected governor early next year.

Nonetheless, Udom has consistently kept his supporters and indeed the entire people of the state in anticipation of his likely successor, maintaining that God has yet to reveal the next governor of the state to him.

Read also: ‘Akwa Ibom vehicle assembly plant 99 percent ready’

Many other aspirants including Udom Inoyo, a former top official of an oil company; Akan Udofia, a businessman who appears to have taken the political scene by storm, some members of the state executive council and members of the National Assembly are all in pole position to succeed the governor.

But speaking during a church service in Uyo to usher in the New Year, Udom repeated his familiar refrain, saying God would reveal his successor to him and urged aspirants to go about their consultations peacefully in order not to disrupt the peace and development in the state, adding that God in due time will reveal his successor

“This year, all those who seek political office in 2023 will seek in peace and people should also realise that even if there are up to 100 people there is only one seat and one man will sit and as the homily said no matter what we do it is only the Lord’s council that shall stand.’’

Observers say the unwillingness of the governor to disclose his preferred aspirant and likely successor is making things pretty tough to assess whoever will emerge as the next governor, to interrogate his programmes and his ability to address the myriads of challenges facing the state.

They point to the need to fix the broken infrastructure, improve the quality of education, provide an enabling environment for businesses to thrive and deliberate efforts to attract investment to the state and complete many of the projects that are likely to be left behind by the incumbent governor.

Though many have argued that there is ample time before the next election scheduled to hold in February next year, others believe that turning to God on the issue of politics and succession is like an ill wind that blows nobody any good.