– Follow up meeting holds Monday in Uyo
After months of intrigues, scheming, political horse trading, seeking divine direction and permutations, Akwa Ibom State Governor, Mr Udom Emmanuel has finally presented his successor for the 2023 Governorship election to his kitchen cabinet.
He is Hon Pastor Umo Eno, who until his appointment as Commissioner for Lands and Water Resources, was Chief Executive Officer of Royalty Group, a company he founded in 1997 with business interest in hospitality, manufacturing and oil and gas sector.
The Governor investigation reveals did the secret unveiling before a powerful cartel of his kitchen cabinet and most trusted allies recently. The group is Code named “G31 Believers” and is made up of one person per local government area across the state.
Governor Emmanuel’s now known preferred candidate for 2023, the Nsit Ubium Pastor is also the Chairman/CEO of Royalty Hotel, Eket and a major player in the hospitality business. He is one of the behind-the-scene- front liners of the “Fathers of Faith” in the state and one of the Governor’s close confidant even before his appointment into the State Executive Council.
Going forward and as a kick off campaign strategy, Father’s of Faith, a coalition of Clergy men and women in the State are to play a more prominent role in a subtle campaign that will commence by May 2021, aimed at announcing the candidate under a religious setting.
The Clergy group which will become more prominent and powerful in the days ahead is to be led by Apostle Lawrence Achudume, of Victory Life Bible Church International. The Governor recently visited his church at Ogun State and he is rumoured to be one of the power brokers in the adminstration.
As a follow up meeting to kick start the campaign process, a follow up meeting has been scheduled for Monday, April 26, in Uyo to be presided over by former Attorney General and Nigerian Ambassador to Russia, Chief Assam Assam at Enjmm Hotel and Hon Monday Uko, the Commissioner for Youths and Sports at Monty Hotels respectively.
One of the G 31 Coordinators from Uyo Federal Constituency has already started mobilizing his boys into the Pastor Umo Eno for 2023 Governorship campaign while some media practitioners have been co-opted to prepare ground for a massive media awareness and sensitization campaign. Mr Ernest Akpan and Victor Ukpong have been mandated to oversee the preliminary media strategy. This is what gave birth to the recently formed Uyo Senatorial District Media Practitioners Forum, a splinter group sponsored by the Governor to break the ranks of the NUJ in the state.
Though the Lands Commissioner keeps denying any Governorship ambition come 2023, credible Government House sources informed our reporter that the public declaration to present Pastor Eno as the Governor’s successor, that will signal the commencement of the 2023 battle is billed for August 2021, at an event billed to take place in Uyo.
The Governor it was gathered finally settled for Pst Eno following feelers he got from his kitchen cabinet that his earlier choice of Mr Udom Inoyo will be hard to fly and the need for him to present a candidate with minimum political baggage that will be easy for major stakeholders to adopt and rally round.
As part of plans to ensure the smooth operations of the plot, Pastor Umo Eno will be elevated to the position of the Secretary to the State Government, SSG, by December 2021, a move that will see Dr Emmanuel Ekuwem leaving government. The current SSG whom many of his kinsmen have accused of not doing enough to protect the rights and interest of the Oro nation within the adminstration has already being notified of his December 2021 “terminal date” under the deal brokered recently.
But to achieve their plan and for a smooth strategy implementation, there is one last hurdle that must be crossed and that is the choice of who replaces the Late Hon Udo Ekpeyong as PDP State Chairman.
Sources close to Government says Pastor Umo Eno is the one who threw up the name of Hon. (Elder) Aniekan S. Akpan, currently a Member of the Local Government Service Commission as a replacement for Udo Ekpeyong. Until now, he was a former Local Government Chairman of Ukanafun LGA, and a former member representing Ukanafun in the State House of Assembly, AKHA.
It is not yet clear if the Lands Commissioner and the former Lawmaker had a relationship or knew each other before now but sources close to the plot told our reporter that Umo Eno is the brain behind the Aniekan Akpan candidacy for PDP State Chairman and the idea now has the backing of the Governor and his kitchen cabinet.
Umo Eno’s fear is that if another person becomes State Chairman of the party, it may be hard if not impossible for him to emerge the PDP Governorship Candidate at the primaries, but with Aniekan Akpan, his chances of getting the party’s ticket is brighter.