A cross-section of youths from the 31 Local Government Areas of Akwa Ibom State have demanded a level playing field for all governorship aspirants in next year’s elections saying the adoption of a preferred gubernatorial candidate should not interfere with the choice of their candidate.
They adopted the position following the state-wide mobilisation for the governorship ambition of Onofiok Luke, a member of the House of Representatives pointing out the adoption of a particular aspirant was not the collective interest of the youths and the majority of Akwa Ibom people.
According to them, they would pursue their collective interest to support the candidate of their choice for the 2023 governorship outside Governor Udom Emmanuel’s choice.
Coordinator of the group known as The Onofiok Luke People’s Movement, Ekemini Smart, said the youths believe in Onofiok Luke and have resolved to campaign for his governorship ambition without let or hindrance.
“The governor’s decision was his personal decision; it did not represent our collective decision and the interest of the masses; so we will go ahead to pursue our collective interest.
“Onofiok Luke is the collective interest of Akwa Ibom people. We have come out to propagate that interest. The youths of Akwa Ibom believe so much in him because he has the leadership capacity; he has proven that to us in several leadership responsibilities.
“We believe in the mantra of the Amazing Grace and what the Onofiok Luke’s governorship represents. Onofiok Luke is the best candidate for Akwa Ibom State. He has proven over time that he is the best. He has full grasp of the grassroots; he knows how to relate with the masses and he has genuine love for people,” Smart said.
In a goodwill message to the group, the Coordinator of Amazing Grace Campaign Organisation, Onofiok Luke’s campaign organisation in North America, Otobong Umana, charged the youths of the state to join the train of supporters for Onofiok Luke, saying “it is time for the youths to rise up and take their destiny”.
In another goodwill message, Daniel Udo, he said: “Akwa Ibom people can vouch for Onofiok Luke and his leadership qualities;” the reason they were all coming out to launch a movement for him.
Inaugurating the chapter coordinators of The Onofiok Luke People’s Movement, Director General of Amazing Grace Campaign Organisation, Imo Udo, thanked the youth for mobilising themselves across the state to drum up support for Luke.
Udo said Luke’s governorship is for the collective interest of Akwa Ibom people, their well-being and their future.
“You came out here not by anybody’s prompting. You called us to come and witness what you people are doing. This shows that you believe in this course and have absolute trust in your friend, Onofiok Luke. I am proud of your conviction.”
“Onofiok Luke will protect the interest of every Akwa Ibom person including those residing in our state. He is the choice that every Akwa person craves to make. I’m urging you to go out there and appeal to our fathers, the leadership of the PDP, and delegates to please support Onofiok Luke,” he said.
Udo however, urged members of the group to go about their mobilisation peacefully.
Many aspirants have gone ahead with consultations and mobilisation despite the adoption of Umo Eno as the preferred candidate by some stakeholders in the state.