The Udomification of the 2023 governorship recruitment process in Akwa Ibom State is causing a lot of concern. Truth is, Governor Udom Emmanuel, just like any other political actor, has the right to tap any person in his view has what it takes to move the state out of crushing poverty and the growing unemployment.
What those crying themselves into insanity do not seem to understand is that Udom cannot singlehandedly elect the next governor of the state. In spite of the flaws of Nigeria’s electoral system, the ballot box will still provide the electorate an opportunity to make their choice. That way, they can either cut Udom to size or travel with him on his preferred choice as the governor of the state in 2023.
I am opposed to the irritating noise pollution about Udom’s choice of Pastor Umo Eno as his preferred governorship aspirant. The anti-Eno forces should instead of polluting the state the more with their noise, work harder to recruit who they want on the platform of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) provided the governorship primaries in the state is not compromised. And, there are political parties in the state that can provide a better alternative to the PDP if the Udomification of the PDP politics is not going down well with the greater majority of the players of the party.
The Akpabiorisation of the 2015 governorship recruitment process produced Udom. At that time, strong contenders from Uyo Senatorial District were coasting home to succeed the then Governor Godswill Akpabio, now President Muhammadu Buhari’s Niger Delta Affairs Minister. At that time, the supremacy of zoning persuaded those strong contenders to demobilize their political foot soldiers to file behind the Udom governorship aspiration.
Unarguably, the defection of Akpabio to All Progressives Congress (APC) rattled Udom. Political heavy weights like Senator Bassey Albert, popularly known as OBA, and Onofiok Luke, who refused to follow Akpabio to APC helped in making the Udom reelection possible. That Udom at this time may have rewarded them unkindly, is part of the dirty game of politics. To that extent, Udom is right. That the governor did not or has not horse traded sufficiently with them is a matter of debate.
For now, Udom is busy defending his choice of his Lands and Water Resources Commissioner, Pastor Umo Eno, insisting that that his decision is based on the fact that he means well for the state. “I will never use God’s name in vain’’ as he defended his position that Eno is a divine choice. He was speaking while answering questions from some journalists: “Let me say this emphatically, I mean well for this State, that is why I waited for God to show me the man who would continue with the pace of developmental strides we have started in the last six plus years and then move the needle even further.
“Pastor Umo Eno is a highly respected person; he has enormous capacity, is an epitome of humility, and is blessed with the common touch, a compelling story and he is God-fearing. He is a successful entrepreneur who has employed our people, lifted thousands from poverty to prosperity.
“He will be coming to the office of Governor with an economic blueprint that will further guarantee employment, development, and economic prosperity for our people. He is a man of peace and will ensure that the peace and security of life we have enjoyed in the last six plus years will be maintained.
‘’His life story resonates with the story of most ordinary Akwa Ibom people.He came from the Police barracks, where, as he said during his Thanksgiving Service last year, life was dreary and hope seemed a distant ingredient.’’
Udom says he is not looking for a surrogate to do a third term but rather that he is looking for a man of exceptional capacity, of peace and humility and enjoined all peace-loving and progress-minded Akwa Ibomites to rally round and support God’s choice.
Only the future will tell on the foregoing. At the moment, his choice has ignited hot air across the state with aggrieved parties calling the governor all sorts of names. As a governor, Udom has the right to choose whosoever he prefers to succeed him. As a person, the son of Gabriel Udom has a fundamental right to make a political choice. His choice may not be the ‘gospel’ truth but Udom is right!