By Akanimo Sampson,
SCRAMBLE for the Managing Directorship of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), an interventionist agency that is fast outliving its usefulness, is further stoking the fire between the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Akwa Ibom State.
There is a bitter shadow boxing between the two parties. As the battle for the political soul of Akwa Ibom gathers momentum, APC is busy porching on the PDP, luring away as many as they can, with the offer of juicy jobs.
The central government currently under the control of the APC, booted out Dan Bassey Abia of the PDP, from the NDDC top job and replaced him with Ibim Semenitari of the APC as Acting MD. The slot, going by the NDDC zoning arrangement, belongs to Akwa Ibom.
No nominee from Akwa Ibom government is likely to get the job for political reasons. And the state government is not broad-minded enough to nominate APC chieftains for the job. That will mean capitulating as far as the power struggle between the two parties in the state is concerned.
However, at the weekend, PDP faithfuls from all over the state besieged Eket, in celebration of what they described as ”outstanding performances” of Governor Udom Emmanuel within seven months in office.
The event, a reception in honour of the governor by the peoples of Eket Senatorial District, coincided with the annual Youth Day carnival of the district.
Leaders of the political bloc, amidst colourful traditional dance troupes, women groups, eminent youths, royal fathers and entertainment professionals used the occasion to express their admiration and support for Governor Udom in his avowed determination to impact on the lives of the people.
Setting the political tone, Chairman on the occasion and leader of political bloc, Chief Nduese Essien, said the people were proud of the achievements and excellent manner their son was piloting the affairs of the state, despite the economic realities.The former Chair of the South-South caucus in the House of Representatives, thanked the state for their support, and maintained that no matter the discordant tunes from ”a few self-seeking politicians, no one can stop Akwa Ibom people from queuing behind their governor at all times”.
Essien called on President Muhammadu Buhari to allow an indigene of the state to complete the four year tenure allotted by the statutes of the NDDC, claiming that such act of injustice will not be acceptable in the state which accounts for the highest revenue accrued to the country from oil exploration and exploitation.
Former Military Governor, Idongesit Nkanga, on his part frowned at the Appeal Court ruling ousted Udom, claiming that it is at variance with the will of the people of the state. He said that after the political judgement comes Divine judgement, and that the Divine judgement will only favour the governor because he has the Divine Mandate in line with justice and equity.
Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Onofiok Luke dismissed any threat to the governorship seat being occupied by Udom, pointing out that Uyo and Ikot Ekpene political blocs will always support the governor to complete his tenure of eight years.
The speaker maintained that justice cannot be overlooked for a zone that has never occupied the office of chief executive of the state previously, especially when that zone produces the bulk of resources used in developing the country and the state.
Meanwhile, Udom is full of commendations for the peoples of the state for their unalloyed support and solidarity to his leadership, and promised to continue providing empowerment opportunities for the people.
While thanking the Eket bloc for the reception in his honour, the governor warned that the peaceful disposition of the Akwa Ibom people should not be misinterpreted by other Nigerians who are meddling into the affairs for selfish gains, and also made a case for the reappointment of an Akwa Ibom indigene as MD of NDDC.
Goodwill messages were received from national legislators and stakeholders from across the state in solidarity with the governor. Lady Valerie Ebe, Senator Anietie Okon, Sam Inyang, an engineer, Mrs Owoidighe Ekpoattai, Mrs Akon Eyakenyie and Dr. Esiokwong Udoh among others pledged their support to the embattled governor.
Chair of the Organising Committee, Ephraim Inyang equally appreciated the people of the state for their massive support, insisting that it is a tradition for outstanding sons to be received and honoured for making the political bloc proud.