On Friday, June 22, 2018, a handful of thirty(30) to be exact, obviously sponsored protesters from Oruk Anam were at the Government House Gate at Wellington Bassey Way, to kick against the legitimate aspiration of the Rt. Hon. Sir Udo Kirian Akpan to contest the upcoming 2019 General Elections to again represent Oruk Anam State Constituency in the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly, AKHA.
The 30 youths were led by the trio of, the Chairman of Youths Council in Oruk/Anam, Imoh Sylvanus Udoh, the Youths Caucus Chairman of the area, Caleb Sylvanus, and the Dakkada Coordinator. To the unsuspecting, and those who are not people of Oruk Anam, that looks formidable.
But if you match this against the fact that, they could only mobilize 27 persons to join their misguided venture and the fact that they are political hirelings handpicked to those positions by the current Chairman of Oruk Anam, Prince Ubong Idiong, then one would see where they are coming from.
Against the growing popularity of Rt Hon. Akpan who is on ground in Oruk Anam, these people who are sadly, dropping the name of the First Lady, wife of the Governor, and elder Sister of the Council Chairman, Her Excellency, Mrs Martha Udom Emmanuel, embarked on a needless jamboree to Government House to say, Sir Udo Kierian Akpan has served out his second term, and he has no business going back to the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly because he is not favoured by zoning for next year’s election.
Taking the zoning argument which they are talking about into consideration, power is shared in our Local Government Area between the two political blocs of Oruk and Anam. In the current situation, the council Chairman is from Oruk. The Chapter Chairman of the ruling PDP, Mr Jacob King is from the same Oruk bloc. This leaves the House of Assembly seat as the only thing left for the Anam bloc to give them a sense of political Inclusion which Governor Udom Emmanuel has been particularly good for insisting on. So who is cheating who with the protest? Should Anam people be completely excluded in the sharing of political offices with everything hijacked by their Oruk brothers?
More worrisome is the danger of the political miscalculation this would bring if the protest is allowed to deceive the governor and the PDP to accept as genuine. Oruk with 7 wards has approximately 52,000 votes leaving Anam with 6 wards that parades 39,000 of votes, going by the statistics of the 2015 General elections.
But Oruk is heavily tilted to the opposition All Progressives Congress, APC.
The Caucus leader of APC in the State and BOT Member, Atuekong Don Etiebet, is from Oruk. So is the, the member representing Ukanafun /Oruk Anam Federal Constituency, Rt. Hon. Emmanuel Ukoette is also from Oruk axis. Others are, the immediate past State Chairman of the APC, Dr Amadu Attai, and former governorship aspirant, Dr Udoma Bob Ekarika who is a strong member of the State APC caucus. In fact, the campaign Director General of the APC in the last 2015 Governorship Election, Obong Sunny Udom who only returned to the PDP recently is also of Oruk extraction.
There is also Engr. Jackson Ekaidem popularly known as Jacky Jay and the immediate past Chairmanship candidate of the APC in the just concluded Local Government elections, Engr. Enobong Ntukidem. The long and short of it is that the Oruk is the hub of APC in the area.
This is proof of how strong the APC is in the Oruk axis which now wants to totally exclude Anam, which is a hundred percent vote basket of the PDP with Sir Udo Kirian as the unifier and last stronghold of the PDP in Oruk Anam as a whole. Imagine the damage removing Anam people in the emerging political equation will cause the PDP and how it will adversely affect the electoral fortune of the party in the area with the arsenal of these APC forces operating from their Oruk base.
Constitutionally, nothing bars Sir Udo Akpan from seeking a third term in office. In the wisdom of the drafters of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, There is no tenure limit for Parliamentarians just as that is the sensible practice and grundnorm of older democracies in the world.
Besides, we have seen other lawmakers in Akwa Ibom State who have excelled representing their people, like, Senator Ita Enang of Itu /Ibiono Ibom Federal Constituency,who served three terms in the Federal House of Representatives and another four in the Senate, which added up to 16 years in the National Assembly.
Another example is that of Rt. Hon. Okpolupm Etteh, who, although hails from Ibeno, served the combined Constituency of Esit Eket /Ibeno State Constituency from when he replaced the Late Hon. Ernest Ukochio(also from Ibeno), in 2005, and was subsequently reelected in 2007 and 2011 which amounted to three terms for the Ibeno political bloc in that Constituency.
A similar scenario was played out in Ikot Abasi Federal Constituency, where Rt. Hon. Bernard Udoh from Mkpat Enin axis served for three terms in the Federal House of Representatives on what was termed as Political compromise to accommodate Mkpat Enin Since the Senate seat was occupied by Senator Udo Udoma who is from Ikot Abasi bloc.
Rather than waste their time by resorting to sponsored protests, the detractors of Sir Udo Kirian Akpan should go to the grassroots and sell their product(s) or programmes to the people. They should stop dragging the goodwill and good name of the First Lady in the mud making people believe that, the Deaconess Martha Udom Emmanuel is bent on imposing a family dynasty on Oruk Anam people using her privileged position to stifle the Anam bloc. This is the sentiment being spread around by the infamous actions of Prince Ubong Idiong.
All Sir Udo Kirian Akpan is asking for, is a level playing field. Let those who feel the good people of Oruk Anam don’t want him test the popularity of their false campaigns of calumny in the upcoming primary and thereafter, the General elections. Nobody can intimidate Sir Akpan out of his legitimate quest or shut Anam people out politically in the next dispensation.
Aniekan Sunday writes from Oruk Anam.