By Edidiong Obot
The commissioner for information and strategy, Comrade Ini Ememobong, has charged those vilifying and attacking the governor over the unvailing of Pastor Umo Eno, commissioner for lands and water resources as his preferred successor to sheathe their swords.
Speaking on the 2023 Akwa Ibom governorship elections, the state’s spokesman noted that leaders have always been interested in who should succeed them, therefore the recent unveiling of Pastor Umo Eno as Governor Emmanuel’s preferred successor in2023 was just a normal phenomenon that should not call for the abuse of the governor or divide the state along non-existent tribal, ethnic or religious lines.
The information boss maintained that the desire to have a successor has always been a source of concern to every leader, hence it was not out of place for the governor to unveil his preferred successor after enduring months of humongous pressure to do so from all the quarters.
Ememobong explained, ” If biologically, traditionally and even in churches people are interested in succession, then it is practically impossible that people should not be interested in succession in politics, especially the occupant of the office who understands the pains, challenges and nature of the office, and it is the governor who wears the shore and understands the burden of the office in this case “.
Speaking during a press briefing with journalists in the state at the NUJ Press Centre, Information Drive, Uyo, recently, he said, “It takes a lot of humility for a person of power at the level of the governor to publicly admit that he submits to a higher power like God before making critical decisions such as who should succeed him at the end of his tenure”.
He called on all sections of the media to stop vilifying the governor whom he described as only a medium, who merely made known who was “divinely revealed “to him as his successor come 2023.
In his words, “Akwa Ibom is our only state, and if we hit up the political space and things degenerate, we have nowhere else to go, therefore I call on everyone of us here to continue to support the governor and his succession plan for the state. The endorsement of Mr Umo Eno, as the preferred aspirant for 2022 gubernatorial election in the state by the governor does not in any where place a ban on other aspirants in PDP from aspiring, even if they decide to consult the governor,” he added.
Ememobong noted that as a leader, Governor Udom Emmanuel strives for continuity, hence, the need for a successor with good antecedents with the choice of Mr Umo Eno, an entrepreneur, administrator and minister of the gospel, a choice the governor admitted was revealed to him by God.
He was concerned that Governor Udom Emmanuel was asked to name his successor and lamented how it has become an issue of contention after revealing same, adding that the people of the State should be interested in the choice of a successor to Governor Udom Emmanuel as the succession plan of each administration may be different from others.
Filing questions on the agitation of Ibiono Ibom to produce the next governor of the state, Ini Ememobong said, “As an Ibiono Ibom son, I am not ignoring the demands of my people to canvass their position, but as an appointee of government, I owe it a duty to be loyal and respectful to constituted authority and,most importantly, the governor who appointed me into office.”
The information commissioner used the medium to dismiss the rumour making rounds that there was a secret employment in the state civil service as none of such exist and charged journalists to investigate the matter.
He called on the people in the state to maintain the peace that the state is noted for as politics remains a game of interest not vilification.
In his response, the chairman of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, Akwa Ibom State Council, Comrade Amos Etuk,commended the information commissioner for the timely clarification on the endorsement issue as it concerns the interest of other aspirants through a press conference, describing same as a better government and media relation.
Etuk also acknowledged the friendly disposition of the state chief executive who is widely known as a media friendly governor, and pledged the state NUJ’s determination andcontinued loyalty and partnership towards the success of the completion agenda of the governor.
He further harped on the need for the governor to address the media as soon as possible.