The governorship candidate of the All Progressives’ Congress (APC) in Akwa Ibom State, Obong Nsima Ekere, has called on the party faithful to be peaceful and shun violence throughout the period of electioneering campaign.
Ekere who spoke during a solemn assembly to flag off his campaign yesterday in Uyo, urged party members to exercise restraint even in the face of provocation.
He used the opportunity to condemn in strong terms, the turmoil in the State House of Assembly, blaming it on the failure to respect the separation of powers by the State governor.
“This is the first time we have seen a sitting governor leading thugs to go to the State House of Assembly to cause mayhem. Akwa Ibom people say no to this invasion. It is totally unnecessary and uncalled for. It is against everything that democracy represents. The separation of powers must be respected.”
The APC flag bearer sued for peace, saying: “Akwa Ibom people deserve peace. We appeal to every person, all the actors that caused the present problem, to please ensure that they resolve it. You know how you started this problem, resolve this problem in the interest of Akwa Ibom people and in the interest of democracy.”
Ekere, who is the managing director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), explained that they held the solemn assembly to dedicate the entire campaign to God and to seek God’s face for safety, peace and victory.
He promised to run a government based on truth and transparency, if elected governor next year.
“We are not interested in the kind of lies and deceit that is going on in the polity,” Ekere said. “Akwa Ibom people, this is a state that was named after God and some people will come and pretend and you will not know that they are wolves in sheep’s clothing. The days of hypocrisy are over. We are in a new dawn for Akwa Ibom people. And that is what the APC family will bring. APC will win Akwa Ibom State and APC will return Akwa Ibom State to the centre.”
The State Chairman of APC, Mr. Ini Okopido, harped on the post-primary unity in the party, pointing out that it ran contrary to the expectations of their opponents.
He announced the constitution of the APC campaign organisation with a member of the party’s Board of Trustees, Group Captain Ewang Sam Ewang (retd.), as chairman, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly (Senate) Matters, Senator Ita Enang, as director-general, the Board Chairman of the Centre for Black and African Arts and Civilization (CBAAC), Abom Tony Esu, as deputy director-general, the former Senate Minority Leader, Senator Godswill Akpabio, as chief adviser, and a former governorship aspirant, Senator John Udoedehe, as deputy chief adviser.
Udoedehe is to double as chairman of the APC Reconciliation Committee while two other former governorship aspirants, Sir Bassey Dan-Abia and Dr Edet Efretuei, and a former national vice-chairman (South-South Zone) of Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Edet Mkpubre, are to serve as advisers to the campaign organisation.
In his acceptance speech, Ewang pledged that Ekere will perform as governor, stressing that he was ready to be held responsible for that.
The former Military administrator of Ogun and Rivers States said he accepted the assignment upon conviction that the APC was heading for a clear win in the 2019 elections in Akwa Ibom State.
Also speaking, Akpabio reasoned that Ekere’s election was certain because all those with God-given grace to make governors were with him.
He hinged his support for Ekere on the latter’s humility, prowess and track record of performance, particularly in the NDDC.
“Nsima Ekere, you are the next governor of Akwa Ibom State,” the former governor declared.
Akpabio decried the non-performance of the present state government, the abandonment of his legacy projects, the lack of State government projects to commission, the resort to politics of ethnicity and the campaign of calumny, blackmail and character assassination against his person.
On his part, Udoedehe assured Ekere of the total support of the people of Akwa Ibom North-East Senatorial District, the most populous district in the state.
“All the powers that make people governor, we are here,” he said. “You are the next governor of Akwa Ibom State. God has ordained him for this time. It is God that gives power no matter how you struggle. Prayers have been offered. Prophecies have been said. But God has taken the decision to make Nsima Ekere the governor of Akwa Ibom State.”
Udoedehe said that by endorsing Ekere he had disappointed PDP leaders who had expected him to work against his party.
The representative of Akwa Ibom South senatorial district in the National Assembly, Senator Nelson Efiong, declared that “we are going to take back our state, we are going to take back our government and the man who is ready to take us to that destination is Obong Nsima Ekere.”
He condemned the declaration of five seats in the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly as vacant because of defection, pointing out that there was no such declaration in the National Assembly and in the House of Assembly during his time as Speaker.
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