By Eric Elezuo
Akwa Ibom State, South South Nigeria came to a complete stand still on Friday as the state Governor, Mr. Udom Emmanuel, officially declared his intention to contest the 2019 Governorship election under the platform of his party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in a mother of all rallies.
Flanked by his wife, Martha, PDP stalwarts, past governors of Akwa Ibom State, some serving PDP governors among the stupendous crowd of followers that thronged the 30 thousand capacity Godswill Apkabio International Stadium, Governor Emmanuel made a 37 minutes speech declaring his bid for a second term in office and the reasons behind his intention., among which is the fact he has done well, and deserves the people’s vote for a second term.
The governor was very confident of retaining his seat after the February 2019 election despite the recent defection to the All Progressives Congress of his former ally, Senator Godswill Akpabio
Both politicians have parted ways in the wake of the defection and have not ceased to throw banters at each other at the slightest opportunity. Governor Udom is accusing Akpabio of betraying the people’s confidence because of his personal ambition.
Reeling out his achievements while seeking the people’s mandate to run for a second term, Governor Emmanuel itemized relative peace and security in the state as one of the achievements of his administration as well as the establishment of “pencil and toothpick-manufacturing company, metering company, coconut refinery, and other industries”. These he said he brought to the state.
“My administration has done over 1,700 kilometres of roads in the state in less than three years, renovated over 349 schools, brought down the cost of garri, (a staple food in the state), at least by 50 per cent, and revived the healthcare system”.
He praised himself as having performed more than any other first-term governor in Nigeria given the resources available and harped the administration’s focus on preparing the future for the youth as well as preparing the youth for the future.
He promised to surpass his performance and every other expectation if voted back in office, saying that “The collective future of all of our youth, our women, and our elders is the centre of our policy.”
Speaking on the mammoth crowd that turned up, Emmanuel said it typifies unity among Akwa Ibom people, and shows without equivocation the party the state has identified with while reiterating that “Never in history has Akwa Ibom been this unified. Never in history has Akwa Ibom been this peaceful.”
He added: “I am overwhelmed. The number of people here (in the stadium) is enough for me not to say anything here today. You’ve written the story, you’ve shown it to the whole world that Akwa Ibom is PDP.”
any country that does not build its economy cannot build its politics. Politics, he said, must be anchored on the economy.
While throwing shells at his erstwhile political ally and predecessor, Akpabio, he claimed that some of the projects in the state like the Uyo-Ikot Ekpene Road and the five-star hotel at Ikot Ekpene were left undone and abandoned by before he came into office to restart them.
“Let nobody deceive you, it is this administration that has taken that road (Uyo-Ikot Ekpene Road) up to 23 kilometres.”
He made further revelations:
“They talked about Four-Point by Sheraton. Today, I don’t want to answer them. But let me state, the facts must come out fast and the facts must point to the truth because the truth is constant.
“It is just now that we have incorporated a company to negotiate with Starwood for that name Four-Point by Sheraton. If anybody has ever done that, let him show me the agreement he signed.
“It is now that we are doing external works in that premises in order to turn it into a hotel. Is building a hotel? Can a building be a hotel?”
“I don’t want to join issues today, I just want to humbly submit myself. But the truth must be told that it is just now that I have paid $7.2 million to Starwood so that we can retain the name that was surreptitiously put on the building called Four-Point by Sheraton Hotel.
“Who is telling you a lie? Who is telling you a lie? Can they tell you that there were mechanical or electrical fittings in that building?”
Asserting his readiness to take on any opposition, he declared that “Politeness is not weakness, so you need to go and warn them”.
“I submit myself for your consideration to continue with the good work you’ve supported me to do in the state,” he said.
He derided ‘anyone’ who wishes to take over the government by force of arms as Germany did against Poland, added that ”no single person can determine who governs the state”.