The scramble for Governor Udom Emmanuel's successor started even before he was announced winner in the just concluded governorship election.
Udom is taking a second shot in the Government House, a tenure that will expire in 2023, paving way for Uyo Senatorial district to take their turn in the governorship zoning, which began with Obong Victor Attah.
The question of rotating the governorship slot to Uyo Senatorial District in 2023 is not news in the state. However, what makes the news is, who the state governor, whom close sources say is bent on producing a successor, will anoint to rule the state, where he will come from in view of the three federal constituencies that make up the senatorial district, and especially, whether Udom's successor will, as is suspected, also be a “Lagos boy”.
Uyo senatorial district has three federal constituencies, namely; Uyo Itu and Etinan. The argument among political analysts is that Etinan Federal Constituency had, through Obong Victor Attah, taken a turn in the governorship office; Etinan Federal Constituency had also taken theirs through Obong Akpan Isemin, who was the first civilian governor of the state, leaving Itu Federal Constituency.
Based on this analysis therefore, pundits believe that in all fairness and equity, the governorship slot should be given to Itu Federal Constituency, for justice to prevail.
Statistics however show that most influential PDP political gladiators are from Uyo Senatorial district and most of them are eyeing the governorship seat in 2023.
TNN gathered on good authority that the present speaker of the state house of assembly, Onofiok Luke, who has won the Etinan Federal Constituency seat in the House of Representatives, has an eye on the seat.
Senator Effiong Bob, a PDP Chieftain from Nsit Ubium, (Etinan Fed. Const.) Senator John James Akpanudoedeghe from Uyo (though in APC now), is still unrepentant about succeeding Udom in 2023; Senator Bassey Albert Akpan, from Ibiono (Itu Federal Constituency) is also on the long list. The state commissioner of Finance, Linus Nkan (from Ibesikpo Asutan in Uyo Federal constituency); Akan Okon, Commissioner of Special Duties and many others.
A Government House source who pleaded anonymity, hinted our correspondent that among the aspirants, the state governor, from body language, may anoint Akan Okon to succeed him. According to the source, Okon is a banker like the governor. He came from Lagos like himself and as a financial expert and close friend of the governor, he will be able to balance both political and financial equations to give the governor a “safe-landing”.
This development, according to reliable findings, has planted a time bomb in the party, as many stakeholders have vowed to resist any attempt to impose another “Lagos boy” on the people of Akwa Ibom, like Senator Godswill Akpabio did. According to this school of thought, Okon had just come and has not been around. So, if the governor imposed him on them in 2023, other popular and influential stakeholders, like Albert and Luke, who were desperately eyeing the same seat, may defect to other political parties and contest the election.
Otuekong Emmanuel Edem, a PDP statesman from Uyo Local Government, while reacting to questions from our correspondent, said, should the governor impose a banker on the people, the implosion that would rock the PDP might cost the senatorial district the chance of producing the next governor in 2023. He however agreed that it was too early to discuss that, but noted that the race had long begun.
In his opinion, “for equity, fair play and justice, the position should rotate to Itu Federal Constituency and it should not be a banker, but a politician who understands the political terrain and he should be someone who knows Akwa Ibom people and the people know him; he should be someone who knows our problems and how to solve them; he should be a politician who will have a practicable development template and the political will to develop the state. Above all, he should be a popular politician, else, the party might experience terminal collapse.''
Edem reasoned that at that time, the governor would be rounding off and getting ready to bow out and in effect, the traffic of abundant loyalty and honour he was enjoying now may begin to deplete as politicians will be hustling to pitch their tents in the coming dispensation. He also reasoned that if Udom were not very careful about the choice of his successor, those he fed, will not only bite, but will chew his fingers. “The same people who are praising him today, will call him names tomorrow,'' he said.