The supports base of incumbent governor Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom State ahead of his re-election bid received a boost on Sunday with the endorsement by former President Olusgun Obasanjo, who paid him a solidarity visit and worship with at to Qua Iboe Church in Uyo the State capital.
Obasanjo’s visit is Coming at a time when Governor Emmanuel is facing a serious political battle due to the gang-up of opposition forces including his erstwhile god-father, Senator Godswill Akpabio, who recently crossed to the All Progressives Congress (APC) , the visit of the former Nigerian leader, observers say could give the embattled governor some sense of relief.
For instance, since the defection of the former, who single-handedly installed him as his successor in 2015, several of his cabinet members including two Commissioners and seven of his Aides have dumped him and transferred their loyalty to Akpabio and his new found party All Progressive Congress APC.
Besides, some key members of the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP) including the Party Secretary, Mr. Ibanga Akpabio and Deputy Chairman, Mr. Godwin Afangideh, left the party for the APC, toeing Akpabio’s line.
In the same vein, the ranks of the PDP members in the 26-member House of Assembly, also depleted, as no fewer than six members have bade goodbye to the party and pitch tent with the APC.
The former President visit though an elixir for the embattled Governor later turned to be needed as a form of confidence building, especially in this his trying political moment.
Obasanjo was received by the state governor and other government officials upon arrival at the Qua Iboe Church, 112, Ikot Ekpene Road,Uyo, church service.
Speaking with newsmen, Obasanjo said that he was able to make independent enquiries before arrival, to confirm the record achievements of Mr. Emmanuel.
“I listened to people, I made enquiries before I came here and then of course, I came here and I saw things on the ground and I’ve encouraged the Governor …”
Explaining the need for Akwa Ibom people to remain in support of Mr. Emmanuel, Chief Obasanjo said, “I also think you don’t change a good thing you cherish, you hold it, you use it
“I think one thing that we must understand in this country; leaders don’t flock and when we see a good leader, let us get the best out of it.”
In attendance at the church service is the wife of the governor, Martha Emmanuel, Deputy Governor, Moses Ekpo, State Assembly Speaker Onofiok Luke, amongst other dignitaries.
Obasanjo who said Nigeria is in dire need of more leaders in the mold of Governor Udom Emmanuel, who is focused described him as a great leader and assured him and the people of the state that he will come back for greater celebrations.
He labeled Governor Emmanuel as a good product, asserting that, this is a good product, let’s have him for continuity.
‘’Mr. Governor, I don’t have any doubt about your attributes, your capacity, your courage, your interest about your state and Nigeria at large. I congratulate you and It is well with you.”
Children of God, we have a good product (Udom Emmanuel) and there is no need for change. He is a true child of God and he will fear not and will stand still, so please Akwa Ibom people continue to stand with him.”
Obasanjo said he was in the state to congratulate the governor for performing well, maintaining that, “we should be celebrating Good Leadership”.
Chief Obasanjo said, “The prayer he has just prayed touched me, and you really have to be sure of yourself, you have to be a man of God, you have to be a Christian, a strong believer to be able to say, God, provide for me a successor that will do to me what I have done for my predecessor.”
The ex-president who described God as a God of Continuity posited that, “I always say to myself and to my family, if something is good, keep it.
‘’ I can assure you, the Governor has no fear, he will stand still, please stand with him and he will take you to the Promised Land.”Obasanajo pleaded.
The former President who said he was in the state to congratulate the governor for his superior performance maintained that ‘’ we should be celebrating Good leadership instead of castcation’’
In his remark at the church service, Governor Emmanuel described Obasanjo as his political father, and predicted that his visit to Akwa Ibom, signifies more positive developments for the state and for the country.
Apparently reacting to speculations that he may have been too hard on Senator Godswill Akpabio, Governor Emmanuel, attested that when he leaves office in 2023, he would be very happy to receive from his successor, the same measure of treatment he meted on his predecessor.
“I stand in the pulpit as a Christian to say, when it is my time, may God give me the kind of successor I have been to my predecessor.”
“The Bible says, in all these things we are more than conquerors. The Bible says in Deuteronomy, that the Lord would not hearken unto Balak, and all he meant for evil, God turned it into blessings for me.”
“I can say that the visit is a solidarity visit and a blessing of a political father to his son.”
‘’I therefore thank God for giving to us Baba Obasanjo whose wisdom and understanding of the country have never been rivaled.
Speaking on the theme Fear not, stand still, Rev Ibup Emah urged people to desist from being derailed by fear.
He said that fear can reduce anybody to a status that Satan can easily conquer, adding that, “anyone who fears God has no reason to fear man.”
Defining courage as the resistance to fear, Pastor Emah said that despite the circumstance, God is always ready to fight the battle of his people
The Church Service was attended by wife of the Governor, Deaconess Martha Emmanuel, and Deputy Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Mr. Moses Ekpo, and Speaker of the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly, His Eminence Methodist Church Prelate Emeritus Sunday Mbang, and members of the State Executive Council as well as hordes of worshipers.