2023: Dissecting the Akwa Ibom State Governorship Race
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has announced that the next general election will hold on February 18, 2023. Effectively therefore, the whistle for the 2023 Presidential, Governorship and National Assembly race has been blown.
I beg the leave of His Excellency Governor Udom Emmanuel, who had hitherto, censored discourse on 2023 to pardon me as I now follow INEC’s lead to commence a conversation on the 2023 race, beginning with my primary concern- the Akwa Ibom State Governorship race.
On March 23, 2021, Governor Udom
Emmanuel, while commissioning the Administrative Block built by the Chairman of Uyo Local Government Area, Dr. Uwemedimo Udo to mark the 100 Days in Office announced that, his
would-be successor would be revealed to him by God.
Indeed, let’s replicate his exact words.
“God will reveal to me who He wants to succeed me; that He is not an Author of confusion to show different names to different people at the same time.”
I agree with him. Accordingly, let me held put that revelation in perspective so that the Governor can see the whole ripe field and let God guide his steps. My job is simple. I want to identify, delineate and classify the pregnant field of possible successors for the Governor to feast on and harness his vision.
The figurative first eleven of the Governorship race are very popular grassroots politicians whose interest in the race was known and declared even before Governor Emmanuel stormed the scene. In this category are:
Distinguished Senator Bassey Albert Akpan a.k.a OBA, who represents Akwa Ibom North East(Uyo) Senatorial District in the National Assembly
* Rt. Hon. Barrister Onofiok Luke who represents Etinan Federal Constituency
*The Honourable Commissioner Economic Development and Ibom Deep Seaport, Mr Akan Okon, current Acting National Secretary of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Senator Dr John James Udoedehe and his party man, The Managing Director and CEO of the Oil and Gas Free Zone Authority, OGFZA, Obong Umana Okon Umana.
These men have solid structures on ground in case it falls on them.
THOSE RUMOURED TO BE GOVERNOR EMMANUEL’S FAVOURITES
A second group in my research are aspirants that are widely believed to be in the governors top wish list to succeed him. They are:
Former Executive Director of ExxonMobil, Mr Udom Inoyo, current Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Uko Udom SAN, Honorable Commissioner for Land and Water Resources, Pastor Umo Eno and Managing Director of Desicon Nigeria, Mr Akan Udofia.
THE OLD WAR HORSES
Former Senator representing Akwa Ibom North East(Uyo) Senatorial District, Senator Effiong Bob features prominently here alongside the Senior Special Assistant to President Buhari on Niger Delta, Senator Ita Enang.
The duo are tested political gladiators who may set sail with eyes on the Hilltop Mansion.
THE DARK HORSES
There are some persons who are not in the news but have all it takes to run the race for Governor and spring a surprise if called upon to test the 2023 waters. In this club are the likes of
* Executive Chairman of Uyo Capital City Development Authority, UCCDA, Prince Enobong Uwah, Special Assistant to Governor Emmanuel on Electronic Media and the CEO of Bush House Nigeria, Akparawa Michael Bush, former Commissioner for Environment and Chairman, Ibom Airport Development Company, Dr Iniobong Essien and Chairman of Akwa Ibom State Internal Revenue Service, Mr Okon Okon.
THE NOT TOO YOUNG TO RUN CLUB
On this list we have the Honorable Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Comrade Barrister Ini Ememobong and former member representing Itu State Constituency in the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly, Prince Idongesit Ituen. Another kid on the block to watch is the current Chairman of Uyo Local Government Area, Dr Uwemedimo Udo.
GOVERNORSHIP HOPEFUL RETURNEES
A one time aspirant who may take another shot at the race is Mr Ini Udonwa and Mr James Iniama.
THOSE WHO MAY RUN FROM OUTSIDE UYO SENATORIAL DISTRICT
Although by unwritten understanding, power is supposed to shift to Uyo Senatorial District, there may yet be aspirants who will run following precedence in earlier elections. Obon Umana Umana ran in 2015 when it was zoned to Eket Senatorial District and Senator Udoedehe ran in 2011 when it was zoned to Ikot Ekpene Senatorial District. On this score, popular Social Housing exponent, Arc. Ezekiel Nyaetok may cross the 2023 Rubicon and run for Governor yet again.
ASPIRANTS WHO MAY DECLARE INTEREST IN THE RACE
Top in this category is Member representing Uyo Federal Constituency in the Federal House of Representatives, Hon. Dr. Mike Enyong a.k.a Baba Ntan and former member representing Uyo State Constituency, Hon. Ekere Affia and immediate past Vice Chancellor of the University of Uyo, Prof. Enefiok Essien.
THOSE WAITING ON THE WINGS
There are a few aspirants who are waiting on the wings and may leverage on their good standing with the System to throw their hat into the ring. In this Class are illustrious sons like, Churchill Udoh and Ide Owodiong-Idemeko
Going forward, I shall examine these personalities and profile their strengths and chances. While I concede, this will be based on my limited human conjecture and permutation, I wholly acknowledge that, there is a God who intervenes and directs the affairs of men.
Power belongs to Him alone.
Next Up: THE DEPUTY GOVERNORSHIP SLOT.