After eight years of eventful reign as the third civilian Governor of Akwa Ibom State since the return of democracy in 1999, Udom Emmanuel has ended his stepped aside, paving way for a governor, Pastor Umo Bassey Eno to step in.
With much fanfare yesterday at the Chief Godswill Akpabio International Stadium (Nest of Champions), Uyo, the state capital, Eno, from Nsit Ubium local government area took the mantle at about 1:26 pm after the oath of office and allegiance was administered on him by the Chief Judge of the state, Justice Ekaette Obot.
At about 1:00pm, his deputy, Senator Akon Eyakenyi, from Oron LGA took performed the traditional oat of office as the second female deputy governor of the 35-year-old state, after Lady Valerie Ebe, who had a brief stint as former governor Akpabio’s deputy in the twilight of his administration.
Addressing the people that thronged the packed 30,000 capacity stadium, Eno looked back at his humble background, as the son of a policeman, who died and left him to eke a living with his teacher mother, and younger siblings at a very young age, and declared: “I am a product of grace.”
“As a policeman’s son, if someone had told me 10 years ago that I will stand here today to inspect this parade mounted in my honour as a Governor, I would have asked the person to see a physician, perhaps he or she has been suffering from malaria to have such hallucination,” he stressed.
Together with his mother, Eno explained that he was able to weather the storm of life to become a big player in the hotel and hospitality industry, and eventually sauntered into politics in the immediate past era of Udom Emmanuel, as commissioner for lands and water resources for about two years before being tipped as the heir-apparent to succeed Emmanuel.
Describing his ascendancy to the position of a governor as stormy due to stiff opposition to the decision by the immediate past governor of the state to pick him as his successor, Eno was full of thanks to his predecessor, for standing by him, “despite all the false propaganda woven against me by my detractors.”
He promised that he would be bolstered by the acid test “to work assiduously with my Deputy to usher in the golden era in the State,” based on his experience over the years in both private and public sectors in the country.