President Buhari visits Akwa Ibom

By ETIM ETIM



The visit of President Muhammadu Buhari to Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, this Friday to flag off his presidential campaign is filled with symbolism and significance. According to presidency sources, the choice of Akwa Ibom for the start of the president’s campaign is because the ‘Akwa Ibom people are the most enthusiastic supporters of the president in southern Nigeria’. The APC has grown in leaps and bounds in the last four years in Akwa Ibom State; the most dramatic turning being the switch of Senator Godswill Akpabio from the PDP to the governing party. Only three years ago, the APC had only one member in the 26-member House of Assembly. Today, the party has 5 members in the House, 3 members of the House of Representatives and two senators. They all defected from the PDP in the last four months, apart from one of the senators who defected last year. In addition, every single important politician in Akwa Ibom today is in the APC. Gov. Udom Emmanuel is virtually alone in the PDP. The love of Akwa Ibom people for President Muhammadu Buhari and the mediocre performance of Mr Udom Emmanuel as fuelled the mass migration from the PDP to the APC.


It’s been four years since Tuesday, 6th January 2015 when Muhammadu Buhari last visited Uyo. That was when he came to campaign. I was among the small, but excited crowd, led by Mr. Umana Umana, the governorship candidate then, that went to the airport that afternoon to receive the then candidate Buhari. We walked briskly to the tarmac and I greeted loudly: ‘Welcome General, our next president’. ‘Thank you very much’, he answered. He wore a blue Niger Delta piece and the well known fedora hat. Umana briefed him on the campaign arrangements, and together they swept into town, heading for the stadium for the rally. The crowd was huge and Buhari was generally happy with the turn out and the excitement of the people. He returned to Umana’s residence in the evening, and left for Calabar later at night to continue the campaigns the following day. Just six weeks earlier, Umana had decamped from the PDP to the APC with a huge crowd of supporters. Days after, he won the governorship ticket and thus began some of the most epochal political chain of events in Akwa Ibom state, the reverberations of which were heard outside the state. A little over two months after that visit, Buhari was declared winner of the election and Akwa Ibom people poured out into the streets spontaneously to celebrate him. In no other state in the whole of the South South and South East regions was there such an unprompted reaction to the Buhari victory, and he took notice of it. The president’s relationship with the people and state has been cordial, humane, considerate and mutually rewarding. ‘We would have benefitted in a bigger way if we have had an APC governor who would have known how to tap into the federal system and key into the federal government policies for the benefit of the state’, says Senator Ita Enang, a presidential aide, in a conversation last week with this writer. For instance, Gov. Udom Emmanuel has been very lukewarm in working with Umana Umana, the Managing Director of Oil and Gas Free Zones Authority to have a free zone in the state. ‘Despite our efforts to get the state government to license an oil and gas free zone, they have not responded with much interest’, Umana said in a radio interview two weeks ago. The governor is driven more by political considerations than the welfare of the people.


The President himself has been very thoughtful in his relationship with Akwa Ibom people. Well over 60 of our people have been appointed into important federal government positions, a number that previous administrations never came close to. The all-important Calabar-Itu-Ikot Ekpene road is being expanded into dual expressways, 40 years after it was built. Other programmes of the Buhari administration have had some impacts on our people despite being frustrated by the PDP state government. Over 13, 510 Akwa Ibomites are beneficiaries of the N-Power scheme, earning N30,000 each, while the School Feeding programme pumps in over N500 million each month into the state’s economy and employs 77,000 women, most of whom cook the food for the school kids. Our people are also recipients of the conditional cash transfer and other empowerment schemes like Trader Moni and Market Moni which provide micro finance to the market women.


As the president steps out of the plane on Friday, it is Obong Nsima Ekere, the APC governorship candidate, that would lead other party leaders like Senator Godswill Akpabio, Umana Umana, Don Etiebet, Senator Ita Enang, Senator Nelson Efiong, Senator Aloysius Etok, Senator John James Akpan Udoedehe, Obong Rita Akpan, and many others to receive him. The crowd will brim over the 30,000-capacity stadium. Since 2015, and especially after Senator Godswill Akpabio defected into the party in August, Akwa Ibom has been an APC state. Akpabio himself has publicly regretted his role in foisting Udom Emmanuel on the people as governor, the lament arising from the latter’s dismal performance in office. Ekere is well prepared to offer a more purposeful, focused and dedicated leadership. His blueprint, captioned The New Vision for our Collective Prosperity, contains radical and innovative measures carefully designed to restore the state to the path of economic development and social uplift. His promise to release local government funds directly to them, (as against the current practice of state governments seizing such funds for corrupt reasons), pay N25, 000 to each of our 40,000 students in tertiary institutions and vote N30 billion to overhaul the education sector and N20 billion to grow new generation of entrepreneurs has resonated resoundingly well with the voters. As we heartily welcome President Buhari to Uyo, we request the support of the federal government in making Obong Nsima Ekere the next governor of Akwa Ibom State. As Senator Akpabio had always said, ‘Akwa Ibom people cannot afford to be in opposition’.
Etim lives in Uyo


The visit of President Muhammadu Buhari to Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, this Friday to flag off his presidential campaign is filled with symbolism and significance. According to presidency sources, the choice of Akwa Ibom for the start of the president’s campaign is because the ‘Akwa Ibom people are the most enthusiastic supporters of the president in southern Nigeria’. The APC has grown in leaps and bounds in the last four years in Akwa Ibom State; the most dramatic turning being the switch of Senator Godswill Akpabio from the PDP to the governing party. Only three years ago, the APC had only one member in the 26-member House of Assembly. Today, the party has 5 members in the House, 3 members of the House of Representatives and two senators. They all defected from the APC in the last four months, apart from one of the senators who defected last year. In addition, every single important politician in Akwa Ibom today is in the APC. Gov. Udom Emmanuel is virtually alone in the PDP. The love of Akwa Ibom people for President Muhammadu Buhari and the mediocre performance of Mr Udom Emmanuel as fuelled the mass migration from the PDP to the APC.


It’s been four years since Tuesday, 6th January 2015 when Muhammadu Buhari last visited Uyo. That was when he came to campaign. I was among the small, but excited crowd, led by Mr. Umana Umana, the governorship candidate then, that went to the airport that afternoon to receive the then candidate Buhari. We walked briskly to the tarmac and I greeted loudly: ‘Welcome General, our next president’. ‘Thank you very much’, he answered. He wore a blue Niger Delta piece and the well known fedora hat. Umana briefed him on the campaign arrangements, and together they swept into town, heading for the stadium for the rally. The crowd was huge and Buhari was generally happy with the turn out and the excitement of the people. He returned to Umana’s residence in the evening, and left for Calabar later at night to continue the campaigns the following day. Just six weeks earlier, Umana had decamped from the PDP to the APC with a huge crowd of supporters. Days after, he won the governorship ticket and thus began some of the most epochal political chain of events in Akwa Ibom state, the reverberations of which were heard outside the state. A little over two months after that visit, Buhari was declared winner of the election and Akwa Ibom people poured out into the streets spontaneously to celebrate him. In no other state in the whole of the South South and South East regions was there such an unprompted reaction to the Buhari victory, and he took notice of it. The president’s relationship with the people and state has been cordial, humane, considerate and mutually rewarding. ‘We would have benefitted in a bigger way if we have had an APC governor who would have known how to tap into the federal system and key into the federal government policies for the benefit of the state’, says Senator Ita Enang, a presidential aide, in a conversation last week with this writer. For instance, Gov. Udom Emmanuel has been very lukewarm in working with Umana Umana, the Managing Director of Oil and Gas Free Zones Authority to have a free zone in the state. ‘Despite our efforts to get the state government to license an oil and gas free zone, they have not responded with much interest’, Umana said in a radio interview two weeks ago. The governor is driven more by political considerations than the welfare of the people.


The President himself has been very thoughtful in his relationship with Akwa Ibom people. Well over 60 of our people have been appointed into important federal government positions, a number that previous administrations never came close to. The all-important Calabar-Itu-Ikot Ekpene road is being expanded into dual expressways, 40 years after it was built. Other programmes of the Buhari administration have had some impacts on our people despite being frustrated by the PDP state government. Over 13, 510 Akwa Ibomites are beneficiaries of the N-Power scheme, earning N30,000 each, while the School Feeding programme pumps in over N500 million each month into the state’s economy and employs 77,000 women, most of whom cook the food for the school kids. Our people are also recipients of the conditional cash transfer and other empowerment schemes like Trader Moni and Market Moni which provide micro finance to the market women.


As the president steps out of the plane on Friday, it is Obong Nsima Ekere, the APC governorship candidate, that would lead other party leaders like Senator Godswill Akpabio, Umana Umana, Don Etiebet, Senator Ita Enang, Senator Nelson Efiong, Senator Aloysius Etok, Senator John James Akpan Udoedehe, Obong Rita Akpan, and many others to receive him. The crowd will brim over the 30,000-capacity stadium. Since 2015, and especially after Senator Godswill Akpabio defected into the party in August, Akwa Ibom has been an APC state. Akpabio himself has publicly regretted his role in foisting Udom Emmanuel on the people as governor, the lament arising from the latter’s dismal performance in office. Ekere is well prepared to offer a more purposeful, focused and dedicated leadership. His blueprint, captioned The New Vision for our Collective Prosperity, contains radical and innovative measures carefully designed to restore the state to the path of economic development and social uplift. His promise to release local government funds directly to them, (as against the current practice of state governments seizing such funds for corrupt reasons), pay N25, 000 to each of our 40,000 students in tertiary institutions and vote N30 billion to overhaul the education sector and N20 billion to grow new generation of entrepreneurs has resonated resoundingly well with the voters. As we heartily welcome President Buhari to Uyo, we request the support of the federal government in making Obong Nsima Ekere the next governor of Akwa Ibom State. As Senator Akpabio had always said, ‘Akwa Ibom people cannot afford to be in opposition’.


Etim lives in Uyo




1 Comment

  • We will all be there as ONE Ambassadors to welcome our incoming President the man of Integrity, the grand pa of the Nation as he honors us & we return the honor in one spirit with our incoming governor Obnong Nsima Ekere.

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