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ZONING HAS ENSURED PEACE AND STABILITY IN AKWA IBOM STATE – UDOM’S MEDIA AIDE

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Zoning of Governorship position in Akwa Ibom State does not give birth to mediocrity, rather it has brought about peace and stability in the state.

Micro-zoning has never been applicable in the Governorship position in Akwa Ibom State, rather the governorship seat always rotate around the three senatorial districts – Uyo, Ikot Ekpene and Eket.

The Special Assistant to Governor Udom Emmanuel on Research and Documentation, Mr Essien Ndueso on a ABN Television current affairs programme, ‘The Middle Page’ programme yesterday stated these while giving perspectives on the issue of zoning in a democratic society like Nigeria.

Mr Ndueso maintained that contrary to arguments that micro zoning should be used to decide the forthcoming Governorship elections, micro-zoning only comes into play in positions like the Senate, House of Representatives and State House of Assembly contests.

He said it is only a Senatorial aspirant who should be relying on Micro zoning arrangements among the federal constituencies of the senatorial District.

“A person seeking for a senate ticket can discourse rotation of power among the federal constituencies, while a person seeking position in the House of Representatives is expected to rely on the zoning arrangement among the local government areas of the federal constituency, and a House of Assembly aspirant, keys into the zoning formular between zones in the local area.”

He also stated that the agitations that the governorship seat should be given to Itu/Ibiono Federal Constituency rather than Etinan on the basis that a former governor of Akwa Ibom State, Obong Akpan Isemin hails from Etinan, should be disregarded as that tenure was cut short prematurely by General Sani Abacha’s coup of 1993.

Responding to the host, Amazing Ekedebe’s question on whether zoning does not negate performance, Mr Essien described zoning as an arrangement in which “every unit that makes up a society is afforded equal opportunity of aspiring to occupy positions of leadership”.

In his opinion, the units in the society are not equal and as such, a gentleman arrangement where different units are allotted preferences to political powers. With this arrangement, people from minority groups can aspire and emerge in leadership positions in the country.

Ndueso went on to explain that the concept of zoning works in a country like Nigeria where some ethnic groups have a larger population than others.

Those in the majority ethnic groups would have always won the elections, marginalising contenders from smaller ethnic groups or geographical zone.

In disputing the claim that zoning promotes mediocrity, Ndueso recalled the popular belief during the 2015 elections that there was no capable hand in Eket Senatorial District which the zoning favoured at the time, but Governor Emmanuel emerged and showed that he had the potentials and capabilities of governing and developing Akwa Ibom State.

The Governor’s aide also stated that zoning is only applicable to political parties and that these parties have to present their best candidates for the elections, otherwise the opposition party would win the elections if their candidate is stronger making the process practical and effective.

While speaking on Governor Udom’s preference for a particular candidate out of the other aspirants, he said the governor did not choose a candidate based on popularity or to score cheap points in the polity, and expressed satisfaction that he chose someone competent, experienced and with the capacity to govern the state.

He went on to say that zoning does not disenfranchise the voters because even if a candidate is chosen by a political party, they would have to still carry out consultations, campaigns to sell their ideas and plans to the people, and the elections will still be held for the people to make their choice.

Mr Essien Ndueso ended on the note that zoning has become a tradition among the people Akwa Ibom but urged everyone to view a political position as an opportunity to serve the people rather than a reward to amass personal fortunes.

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Status Quo: OBA, Akwa Ibom Absalom on a free fall

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The rebellious disposition of Obong Bassey Albert (OBA) is congenital. His constant biting of the fingers that fed him is a pronounced character that defines his person. That was why the former Governor of Akwa Ibom state, Sen. Godswill Akpabio in 2015 referred to Bassey Albert as the biblical Absalom. Remember, OBA was his Commissioner for Finance, but fell out of the grace of his master when he chose the path of the biblical Absalom by betraying his political father. He literally bit the fingers that fed him. He was cursed and declared that he would never have a chance to rule in Akwa Ibom state. Read the story in the link: http://saharareporters.com/2014/07/21/2015-gov-akpabio-curses-guber-aspirants-akwa-ibom-pronounces-death-all-his-opponents .

Akpabio’s anger against OBA started when he(OBA) defied the zoning arrangements of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) wherein they zoned the governorship seat in 2015 to Eket senatorial district. Bassey Albert who hails from Uyo senatorial district decided to aspire as governor against the decision of the party. This implies that OBA’s disloyalty to the party that made him didn’t start today. He is known for fighting his fathers and benefactors: A rebel in the similitude of Lucifer, just like Akpabio addressed him in 2015.

The zoning arrangement in Akwa Ibom state is a long standing one, and power has always been rotating within the 3 senatorial districts of the state. Obong Victor Attah in 1999 took the turn of Uyo Senatorial District, Senator Godswill Akpabio came to power in 2007 for Ikot Ekpene senatorial district, and in 2015, it was the turn of Eket senatorial district, when Mr Udom Emmanuel as at that time came into the political picture for Eket senatorial district. But like a rebel, OBA rose against the long standing political tide. It was at this point that Akpabio called him Absolom, one of David’s sons who rose against his father.

But out of pity and much pleas, OBA was offered the Uyo Senatorial District ticket, panel beaten and “packaged” to the Senate.

Today, the same scenario is playing out. In his usual character of rebellion, he is standing against the tide, the same tide that packaged him in 2015 just to give him a soft landing.

First, he started by agitating for the right of consideration for the governorship seat on the ground that the party promised to give him the party ticket.
If the party had promised him the governorship ticket, why did he not decline to take the senatorial tickets in 2015 and 2019?

Second, as if that is enough, he is sponsored series of attacks on the person of the governor of the state and the Peoples Democratic Party, the party that made him who he is today. He attacks party stakeholders and call everyone names. Is this the type of governor Akwa Ibom people need?

Now, he is conniving with Ephraim Inyang, who has turned himself into the Judas Iscariot of our generation, to attempt to truncate a very peaceful and credible ward congress conducted in the state.

This is exactly what Absalom did. He raised an army against his father. He betrayed his father and the people of Israel.

OBA and Ephraim Inyang have risen against the fingers that fed them and brought them to prominence. They are fanning the embers of disloyalty and destruction of the party that made them. What a height of betrayal?

Finally, on the status quo issue, the PDP should put their house in order, stand with the governor and mobilize the delegates to support Umo Eno, and OBA will be beaten hands down.

His last move to seek court injunction to stop the ad-hoc delegates from voting is aimed at sending fear to weak hearts. This alone should boost the people’s morale to stand against his disloyalty to the party. The party should massively vote him out of the race. The PDP is too big for one person to destroy.

Richard Peters

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Alleged Electoral fraud: Prof. Uduk’s lawyer plans to abandon case

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If the recent absence of Prof Uduk in court is anything to come buy, indications are that the defence lawyer, Abasidiong Ekpeyong is planning to prevent the prevalence of justice by frustrating the conclusion of the trial, having exhausted and exploited all available legal tactics at his disposal.

All clues point to the assumption that he connived with his client not to appeal in court at the next adjourned date of 18th Wednesday where he will be expected to open his defence in the trial that has been delayed by the defence team unwilling to open his defence for a period of five months.

It will be recalled that INEC’s prosecution counsel had closed its case since on the 27th of January after calling five witnesses some of whom the defence lawyer could not cross examined and had tendered several documentary evidences to prove the criminal attempt to up-turn the North West senatorial election in the 2019 election.

The no case submission filed, had been Dismissed at the on the 23rd of April sitting by the erudite Justice Bassey Nkanang for lacking merit.

At the last court sitting, the defence lawyer tested the waters when he deliberately failed to come to court with the defendant, Professor lgnatius Uduk who ought to be in court at every court sitting, given that the case is a criminal trial.

That the defendant will always be in court was one of the conditions for the bail granted him that he will make himself available throughout the duration of the trial. But at the last court sitting, the accused initially was not in court when the case was called and the matter had to be stood down for professor Uduk to be brought to the court.

It would be recalled that the professor was compelled to appear in court only after a bench warrant was issued by the court for his arrest after evading Court summons and was hiding in Abuja.

The reluctant defence lawyer pleaded to be given more time and asked for any date in the month of June but the court order for both counsel to choose a date within the next ten days.

Even though the defence counsel’s dairy was free within the period, yet he refused and when both counsel could not agree on a day, the court fixed on the 18th of May for the defence to open his case and matter adjourned.

The defence lawyer and the accused may not appear in court on Wednesday as being contemplated and this may lead to the revocation of the bail earlier granted professor Uduk by the court or in the alternative, he will appear but his lawyer will not come to court to avoid opening his defence and thus compel the court to adjourn the matter again to frustrate the case.

The people of Akwa lbom state and Nigerians are waiting the outcome of this case whether the justice Bassey Nkanang will courageously do justice and it will be served timely and irrespective of position in status of the parties before the court.

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GOV EMMANUEL ADVISES WARD COUNCILLORS TO BE AGENTS OF PEACE AT GRASSROOTS LEVEL

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Governor Udom Emmanuel has called on Ward Councillors in Akwa Ibom State to be agents of peace and discipline expected of them as leaders given the task of community development

Governor Emmanuel made this known while addressing ward Councillors during a two- day Leadership Retreat, with the theme ‘Leadership for Service and Victory’ on Sunday, at Ibom Icon Hotel and Golf Resort Uyo.

The Governor said the essence of organizing the retreat for the 368 Ward Councillors in the State has been a fulfilment of his promise to prepare them with requisite leadership skills for an effective interface with the rural communities.

“The reason we pass this knowledge is that you can also use it to build your families because in your homes, families and wards, you are a leader and once you are a leader there are certain things expect of you.

“Some of you lead groups, committee, communities and you must provide leadership at wards, at any level that you have an opportunity you must provide leadership. I want you to see this as an opportunity to lead a good life”, the governor stated.

Governor Emmanuel harped on the need for Ward Councillors to inculcate loyalty as an essential leadership virtue which can stand them out in future.

Mr Emmanuel who gave reasons for neglect of the Local Government Areas, principally due to poor funding, however advocated the need for Local Government Areas to access more revenue allocation from the federal government, stressing that adequate funding and attention will serve as a major support to build thY oue rural communities.

“You need to know how much you get as a Local Government, I am one of those who still emphasize that if the grassroot must be built we need to look at the revenue allocation, take more from the center and give it to the grassroot because they are closer to the people so that we can build a stronger society”

The Chief Executive however thanked the facilitators Peculiar People Management ( PPM) in conjunction with Ministry of Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, for organizing the retreat and also commended the orderliness of the ward Councillors during the retreat.

Earlier in his remarks, Secretary to the State Government, Dr. Emmanuel Ekuwem, described the councilors as leaders in their various wards and urged them not to give themselves to prejudice or allow it influence their official conduct at any time.

Dr. Ekuwem, further enjoined the councillors to be self- confident in themselves and exhibit a high sense of discipline without inferiority complex so as to lead boldly by example.

Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Hon. Frank Archibong in his welcome remarks thanked Governor Udom Emmanuel for keeping to his promise with the Councillors and called on the 368 councillors who participated to make the retreat count in order to replicate the knowledge gained at the grassroot level.

In a goodwill message, the immediate past Commissioner for Lands, Pastor Umo Eno, commended Governor Emmanuel for organizing the retreat which he noted will build capacity and ideas of the ward leaders and empower them to harness resources towards the development of the rural communities.

Also in a goodwill message, the National Coordinator, Maintain Peace Movement (MPM) Barr. Enoidem, urged councillors to take advantage of the retreat as leaders at their various communities and apply the knowledge gained positively as they have the onerous task to select leaders that will sustain the legacy of the present administration.

The Chairman of ALGON, Engr. Iniobong Robson, thanked Governor Udom Emmanuel for keeping to his promise in approving the retreat for Councillors in the state.

One of the resource persons, Dr. Maxwell Ubah, spoke on the importance of leadership and the four principles of leadership, pointing out that leadership has a generational impact and it is about securing the future of the next generation.

Certificate of participation and souvenirs were presented to all ward Councillors.

Media Unit
Govt House,Uyo
15/05/22

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