By Gabriel Bassey | dISe
Akwa Ibom State which had always been reputable for political consistency owing to its one-party governance pattern is experiencing political convulsions at present. This manifested in form of an open clash involving members and the leader of the State’s legislature earlier in the week resulting in the purported expulsion of five members, the demotion of the House Speaker amidst and against court orders, as well as unprecedented change of police Chief of the State.
The genesis of the whole drama has its roots in the decision of the House Speaker, Hon. Onofiok Luke to declare the seats of lawmakers in the opposition party vacant in an hour-long emergency sitting which took place on Monday. The Speaker justified his deed by invoking the authority of sections of the nation’s constitution that warrant removal of public office holders upon their defection from platforms they were elected upon without tangible reason.
The affected lawmakers are Idongesit Ituen, Gabriel Toby, Victor Udofia, Otobong Ndem and Nse Ntuen of Itu, Etim Ekpo/Ika, Ikono, Mkpat Enin, and Essien Udim constituencies respectively.
An interesting twist in the development has been the issuance of a Stay of Execution to the Speaker from the same State Federal High court which had earlier on mandated the sack of Hon. Idongesit Ituen, the prime victim of the saga. This development which however took place two days after the Speaker’s declaration has been dubbed by analysts as
an exercise of Federal might by the APC ruling party and an undue interference in the State’s polity by the Buhari-led Federal Government.
According to the accounts of eyewitnesses who were on ground at the time of the incidence, as well as video footage circulating on media, tensions in the atmosphere distilled into physical combat when security agents, suspected to have been compromised to serve the interest of the Speaker and his ruling party(PDP), intercepted the legislators in question and prevented their entrance into the assembly complex to participate in the emergency session the Speaker convened by of use of force. This provoked a violent reaction whereby youthful supporters of the embattled lawmakers clashed with the police in a bid to whisk their principals into the assembly complex. On account of the battle, the State Commissioner of police was replaced with immediate alacrity by the IGP in accordance with “orders from above”.
On their part, the APC lawmakers have dismissed the Speaker’s declaration against them as invalid, and further slammed the PDP House Speaker and State Governor for assaulting democracy in the State by attempting to retain a one-party governance by mischievous means. The accusations were buttressed in a statement to journalists by Hon. Ntuen where he debunked the validity of the Speaker’s action by highlighting the following;
- The Speaker, Hon. Luke did not declare vacant, the seat of the first lawmaker who had earlier on defected from APC to his own party.
- He did not follow due legislative protocol of being announced into the chamber by the Sergeant – at – Arms. Rather, he came in through a back door.
- The House mace was not present during the sitting.
Several political geeks in the State have additionally criticized the speaker for being hasty. Typical amongst them is an excerpt from Facebook post of Ekemini Simon, journalist for The Mail Newspaper which reads thus; “Common sense should make anyone and most importantly a lawyer understand that after a judgment from a Federal High Court, there is also a room for appeal at the Appeal Court and as the case may be Supreme Court. When all these steps are exhausted, that’s when execution is appropriate.”
However, the embattled faction of lawmakers in a shocking move elected the member representing Essien Udim state Constituency, Mr. Nse Ntuen, as the new House Speaker in the evening of the same day they were sacked by Speaker Luke. As the validity of the move is still being debated in several quarters, the Assembly Complex has been reportedly blocked by the police till further notice on orders of the new police Chief—another stunt which many, particularly in the PDP, have decried as rascal impunity by a domineering APC Federal Government.
Akwa Ibom 2019 Governorship Tussle: PDP Reserves Flag for Udom
The leadership of Akwa Ibom State PDP have customarily chosen to field only the incumbent governor, Deac.Udom Emmanuel for it’s Governorship slot. The decision, according to party leaders and stalwarts, is to maintain consistency of their zoning agreement.
Being the incumbent State Governor, Deac. Udom is undoubtedly a popular political figure but that notwithstanding, he will have to convince the people of the State of his qualification to be re-elected in the office he presently occupies otherwise be replaced by the APC candidate who equally presents himself for election.
On this account, we review Deac. Udom as follows
Background and Family Life
52-year-old Deac. Emmanuel hails from Awa Iman in Onna Local Government of the State where he served in leadership capacity first time as Sunday school coordinators at United Evangelical Church (QIC) (formerly Qua Iboe Church ).
He is happily married, with kids, to Martha Udom Emmanuel. He is a serving deacon of
United Evangelical Church (QIC), Nigeria where he and his family worship
Deac. Udom attended Secondary Commercial School, Ikot Akpan Ishiet, Onna LGA of
Akwa Ibom State.Thereafter, he went ahead to acquire Advanced Certificate of Basic Studies (CBS) and Higher School Certificate (HSC) from School of Arts and Science, Uyo, Akwa Ibom State.
Furthermore, he earned a bachelor’s degree in Accounting from the University of Lagos far back in 1988.
He is a Fellow of the Nigerian Institute of Management and also undertook an Advanced Management Program at INSEAD, France.
Prior to his assumption of office as State Governor in May,2015, Mr. Emmanuel had previously served in crucial leadership positions including; Audit Manager, Price Waterhouse Coopers, Chief Financial officer of Zenith Bank Plc. and Group Head of Income Optimization, Financial Control & Strategic Planning Department at Zenith Bank.
He is an associate of the Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria.
He served as General Manager of Zenith Bank Plc. He joined Zenith in 1996 from Diamond Bank Limited and was the pioneer manager of its Lagos Central Branch. He was in charge of the Telecommunications Sector, Income Optimization and Financial & Strategic Planning Group of Zenith Bank Plc. He has over seventeen years of financial services experience. He served as an Executive Director of Zenith Bank Plc.
Mr. Udom’s switch from the banking sector was warranted by his appointment as Secretary to State Government in July, 2013 by the then Gov. Godswill Akpabio.
In 2014, he aspired for the governorship of Akwa Ibom State in on the platform of PDP where he contended in a tough tussle with 22 other popular aspirants to emerge as the candidate of the Akwa Ibom State People’s Democratic Party (PDP). His slogan for canvassing the support of the Akwa Ibom populace by then was, “Udom is Right.”
After winning with the election 999,071 votes to defeat APC’s candidate Umana Okon Umana who scored 89,865 votes of the All Progressive Congress(according to INEC), he was sworn-in as Governor in May, 2015.
So far Udom has played host to coordinators of several sectors of the state who in-turn have assured him of supporting his election bid, however, his opponents in APC who are exerting so much influence to topple him are equally enjoying the support of an ever-growing percentage of the State’s populace.
The massive growth of the APC portends the reality that Akwa Ibom is no longer a one-party state and as such, unlike previous occasions, the PDP candidate this time around Deac. Udom will not enjoy a smooth ride to the Hilltop Mansion.
On his part, Mr. Udom is standing by his promise of delivering his five-point agenda and as such has not altered his initial manifesto which he promised;
★Economic and Political Inclusion
★Infrastructural Consolidation and Expansion,
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