A socio-political group, Akwa Ibom Interest Movement, has faulted a section of the political stakeholders in Itu/Ibiono Ibom Federal Constituency for insisting that the governorship seat be exclusively zoned to them.
In a statement made available to newsmen in Uyo, the group said the communique purportedly issued by the Itu-Ibiono Ibom stakeholders was a skewed and misinformed narratives to justify a predetermined motive geared towards some over-ambitious aspirants.
According to the statement, “At no time in the history of Akwa Ibom State was it agreed that the office of the governor of our dear state, be rotated based on local government areas or Divisions or federal constituencies level and challenged any group or individual with contrary views to bring same to the public domain and rebut this irrebutable fact.”
The group noted that while it rrecognize the fact that the people of Itu and Ibiono Ibom Local Government Areas have the inalienable right to their opinions as guaranteed by section 39 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999, as amended, such opinion should be devoid of misinformation, deliberate falsehood targeted at ostracizing other political entities for any selfish gains as displayed and expressed in the said communiqué.
The statement recalled that in the resolution reached by stakeholders in the botched 3rd Republic, it was clear that Uyo Senatorial District was given the preference to take the first shot at the governorship of the state in 1991 based on its demography of being entirely Ibibio land and also being the district hosting the state headquarters.
The statement stated further that “after the tenure of Obong Akpan Isemin of Etinan Federal Constituency was cut short on 17th day of November, 1993 and the return to democracy in 1999, for peace, equity and good conscience of our dear state, stakeholders met and agreed that Uyo Senatorial District should commence and complete her tenure and this led to their prevailing on the likes of Mr. Benji Okoko from Eket Senatorial District to step down for Arc. Obong Victor Attah from Ibesikpo Asutan Local Government Area in Uyo Senatorial District to complete the turn of Uyo Senatorial District.
“It is worthy to note that if the intention of the forebears was to rotate the governorship on federal constituency level, someone from either Etinan Federal Constituency would have taken the slot and not Obong Attah of Uyo Federal Constituency.
“That on the basis of that arrangement, when the governorship moved to Ikot Ekpene Senatorial District in 2007, Chief Godswill Akpabio from Essien Udim became the governor not on the plank of federal constituency but on the basis of Ikot Ekpene or Akwa Ibom North West Senatorial District”.
The group further reminded the current Itu/Ibiono Ibom stakeholders that in 2015 when, as a matter of equity, justice and fairness, the governorship was zoned to Eket Senatorial District, some political elements in Uyo Senatorial District, including Obong Bassey Albert, the modern day architect and preacher of justice and equity also contested against that arrangement.
“It is on record that Mr. Umana Umana, who contested the 2015 election on the platform of the APC and pursued that case to the Supreme Court was not from Itu/ Ibiono Ibom Federal Constituency, rather from Etinan/Nsit Ubium/Nsit Ibom Federal Constituency.
“We make bold to say that while the zoning of 2023 governorship position is in favour of Uyo Senatorial District, it is however disingenuous and undemocratic to further micro zone the governorship to just two local government areas and shut out the remaining seven local government areas of the senatorial district in particular and 29 local government areas of the state at large.
“That it leaves a sour taste and amounts to a futile attempt to rewrite history, that a group of people in pursuit of their inordinate ambition to produce a governor in 2023, will claim that Akwa Ibom State is founded on 6 divisions, deliberately excluding the five local government areas of Oro nation and the Obolos, when the truth remains that as at 1987, when Akwa Ibom State was created, it was based on local governments. And, as at 1992, the federal constituencies and senatorial districts in the state have been constitutionally recognized,” it stated.
The group declared its stand with Governor Udom Gabriel Emmanuel on his completion agenda and choice of successor.
It further urged every lover of peace in Akwa Ibom to support the sustenance of the prevailing peace in the state anchored by Governor Emmanuel’s administration before, during and after the elections and beyond.