By Dominic Akpan
One of the biggest events in the political process leading to the 2023 general elections gets underway in Akwa Ibom State, today, as the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) rolls out the campaign drums a bit earlier this time, expecting its seventh consecutive victory.
Since 1999, the PDP has been victorious and dominant in everything that has to do with an electoral contest in the state and the party. It appears it is not prepared to surrender its brilliant record to any of the opposition political parties at the polls next year.
So, clearly 123 days to the Presidential and National Assembly elections, the party is set to stretch its leading advantage with the commencement of an all-out campaign at Ikot Ekpene Stadium for Ikot Ekpene Senatorial District.
Expectedly, the campaign will also be launched in Eket and Uyo Senatorial Districts.
Last week, the PDP/Umo Eno Campaign Organisation was launched by Gov. Udom Emmanuel, who predicted a landslide victory for the party at the polls.
The Ikot Ekpene Senatorial District campaign flag-off is coming on the heels of the inauguration of the campaign council of Mr. Emmanuel Enoidem, the PDP candidate for the senatorialdistrict by the deputy governor, Mr. Moses Ekpo.
The campaign council is headed by Senator Emmanuel Ibokessien as the director-general.
A large crowd of party faithful from the 10 local government areas that make up the district will converge on the stadium to listen to and have a feel of the leaders of the party that has given them so much development since 1999.
They will also listen to the soft voice of the ‘golden boy’ and PDP standard-bearer, Pst. Umo Eno, who would have his running mate, Senator Akon Eyakenyi, by his side at the podium as he takes them through his plans to consolidate on the five-star performance of Gov. Udom Emmanuel.
The big moment for the people of the senatorial district can be felt in the air even before the commencement of the event as Enoidem mounts the podium to address the people of the district.
Enoidem, alongside four House of Representatives hopefuls namely: Messrs Unyime Idem, Aniekan Umanah, IdongesitNtekpere, and Dr. Glory Edet, will be presented to the people.
Similarly, the eight candidates for the State Assembly seats within the district – Messrs Udeme Otong, Abak State Constituency; Mfon Idung, Etim Ekpo/Ika State Constituency; Sampson Idiong, Oruk Anam State Constituency; Emem Udom, Ukanafun State Constituency; Prince Ukpong Akpabio, EssienUdim State Constituency; Messrs Jerry Otu, Ikot Ekpene/ObotAkara State Constituency; Itoro Columba, Ikono State Constituency, and Lawrence Udoide, Ini State Constituency – will sparkle as they mount the podium for presentation to the people.
Always fielding the best in all electoral contests, a peep at the credentials of all the candidates of the PDP reveals that they are men of outstanding antecedents.
A chronicle of the antecedents of all the candidates for various offices within the senatorial district by the Media Directorate of Enoidem Campaign Council indicates that Enoidem, a lawyer and former commissioner in three ministries, will take the experiences he has acquired in party politics, administration and governance to the red chamber.
On the other hand, Mr Aniekan Umanah, who is seeking a second term is a media guru and former commissioner for information.
Mr Unyime Idem is on course for a second term in the House of Representatives. He had made his mark in the business world before joining politics.
Idongesit Ntekpere enjoys a steady career progression in the politics of his area. He is a former chairman of Obot AkaraLocal Government Council and he is currently a two-term member of the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly.
A former university teacher who got appointed into the Akwa Ibom State Executive Council in 2013, Dr. Glory Edet, is in the race with a bag full of experience in administration and politics.
Mr Udeme Otong is a product of the labour movement in the state. He is a former state chairman of the National Association of Nigeria Nurses and Midwives, while his colleague, Mr Idung, had been a chairman of Etim Ekpo Local Government Council some years ago.
Sampson Idiong is a former banker, whose experience in the Inter-Ministerial Direct Labour Coordinating Committee, where he served as the chairman and an aide to the governor is an asset in administration and governance.
For Emem Udom, loyalty and experience in public administration and in politics are the defining qualities of his political career.
So also is Prince Akpabio; a lawyer and former aide to a governor for eight years.
Otu is a grassroots politician, while Columba had served as a chairman of Ikono Local Government Council Transition Committee before his election into the same office few years ago.
QqqOn the other hand, Udoide is a former aide to the governor.