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Friday, 23 July 2021


By Osondu Ahirika 

The political atmosphere in Akwa Ibom State is tensed. Everyone, including the major opposition All Progressives Congress is playing the wait-and-see game. Like the game of Whot,  all are waiting for the Governor to formally say, 'Last Card', before the various agitators and interests erupt like the stratovolcano of Mount Vesuvius.

All stakeholders,  aspirants, gladiators , political pundits and professional politicians are waiting to see who His Excellency,  Governor Udom Emmanuel throws up as his preferred successor or will it end in a whine huff and whimper from the rest?

Again, I'd drop a 'handbook' on possible aspirants whose names are already out there in no particular order and from all political parties 

Arc. Ezekiel Nyaetok

Mr Ide  Owodiong Idemeko

Senator Bassey Albert

Senator Effiong Bob

Mr Udom Inoyo

Rt. Hon. Barr. Onofiok Luke

Dr Iniobong Essien

Rt. Hon. Mike Enyong

Mr Akan Okon

Comrade Ini Emembong 

Akparawa Michael Bush

Senator Ita Enang

Mr Akan Udofia

Pastor Umoh Eno

Senator James Akpanudoedehe

Prince Enobong Uwah 

Prince Idongesit Ituen

Mr Churchill Udoh

Mr James Iniama

Prof. Enefiok Essien 

Mr Gabriel Ukpeh

That list is by no means exhaustive as more names may pop up in the coming days. Governor Emmanuel needs to spread his dragnet through this large field and settle for the best bet.

For now, it looks like the long proverbial Waiting for Godot, (apologies to Samuel Beckett) but it will soon unravel. My worry is what happens thereafter. 

Apostle Nnyenime Andy,  immediate past State Chairman of Christian Association of Nigeria,  CAN Youth Wing and General Overseer of Holy Ghost Ambassadors has sounded the alarm. He says no foreign, or in his words, Abuja or Lagos based Pastor will choose a Governor for Akwa Ibom State. 

Though I disagree with that discriminatory branding of his fellow clerics, he has indicated a dismantling of the seeming stranglehold of the revered Fathers of Faith on determining who succeeds Governor Emmanuel. Indeed, he has predicted a Third Force.

We must not take that kite flying for granted. A Third Force is a clue, and suggestive of political events going forward. I will attempt to deconstruct his proposition in possible scenarios. 

The younger ministers in the ubiquitous Camp of Christian Association of Nigeria are set to chart a new path for 2023, dissimilar to the pontifications of the Fathers of Faith. We wait and see.

Furthermore,  if the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP,  and the rival APC hand their tickets to candidates not popular with the masses, then, there will be a massive realignment and revolt. The people will come up with their mass movement of the people for their popular choice. It's that simple to infere. We wait and see. 

A new platform is in the works as the political actors wait for Governor Udom Emmanuel. From the gamut of candidates whose names continue to prop up, Governor Emmanuel and his inner circle should very carefully scritinize the broad list and make  a choice.

There is another angle however to this Third Force notion. Erstwhile member of the Federal House of Representatives for Eket Federal Constituency,  Rt. Hon. Eseme Eyiboh has proposed that, zoning of the Governorship to any exclusive Senatorial District be dropped. His argument is that,a new cycle is beginning as all 3 Senatorial District's have had their turn by 2023.

Hear him in an explosive interview, 

" Let me give you Akwa Ibom as an example, zoning is a general term. It is a mechanism intended to address perceived injustice, that is zoning. In Akwa Ibom, Obong Victor Attah is from Uyo senatorial district and he was a governor. He handed over to Godswill Akpabio from Ikot Ekpene senatorial district. Godswill handed over to Udom Emmanuel from Eket senatorial district, which other zone is left?"

Responding to the question,  will zoning work in Akwa Ibom in 2023? Eyiboh said, 

"The cycle of zoning in Akwa Ibom has ended. So, what will happen now is, everybody, including somebody from Governor Udom’s local government has the right now to contest in 2023. Somebody from Godswill Akpabio’s senatorial district has the right to contest. Somebody from Uyo has the right to contest. Whoever will emerge as the governor, the cycle will start from there. It’s common sense. Because if you say it should automatically go and start from Uyo, that means the Eket people are perpetually going to be on standby in every cycle of 16 years. But if an Eket man emerges in 2023, then again, Ikot Ekpene and Uyo will struggle for who emerges. We should share the waiting period."

This position can also drive a Third Force agenda.  It panders favourably to the audacious intent of Social Housing guru, Arc. Ezekiel Nyaetok to run for Governor of Akwa Ibom State in 2023. He is the only Aspirant for now, of the lot, who hails from a different Senatorial District (Akwa Ibom Northwest or Ikot Ekpene) as against the proposed Akwa Ibom Northeast or Uyo Senatorial District.  Only last Thursday, July 13, 2021, he grabbed the Membership card of the African Democratic Congress, ADC from the National Chairman of the Party, Chief Ralph Okey Nwosu in company of the State Chairman, Mr Utip Etiebet. Will other aspirants throw their hats into the ring even from the incumbents Akwa Ibom South or Eket Senatorial District? We wait and see.

Will Nyaetok go the whole hog and transform the ADC into a Third Force alternative to the two predominant parties? Will the young turks in the PDP and the APC led by aggrieved Governorship aspirants pull out , form a new alliance and bring up another Party platform? The answer is in the womb of time and dependent on the outcome of the waitng game.

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