A battle line appears to have been drawn between a member of the House of Representatives from Akwa Ibom State, Mr Onofiok Luke and the state governor, Udom Emmanuel, over the choice of Pastor Umo Enoh, as possible candidate of the PDP ahead of the 2023 gubernatorial election in the state.
On Sunday night, at a meeting of people considered to be major stakeholders from the state, Enoh had been presented to and accepted by the governor, as the next governor of the state. Akwa Ibom has been a PDP state all along.
Not even the minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio, with all the influence from Abuja, could turn the table in 2019 for the APC. The minister himself could not even win his senate re-election battle. Luke is believed to be Akpabio’s core loyalist.
Although, Luke was one of those at the meeting. But he was to come up with a statement almost immediately after Enoh was announced the anointed aspirant, that despite the position of the fathers of faith and other stakeholders, including the governor, he would go ahead to pursue his ambition to become the next governor.
In a statement posted in his verified facebook page, Luke said “out of respect and as a loyal party man, I honoured an innocent invitation from the Governor for a meeting this evening at the lodge.At the meeting, my brother from my local government and Federal Constituency, Pst Umo Eno was presented as the choice of the governor for succession;
“It was at the said meeting that I heard of the agenda and choice for the first time and no one held any discussion with me prior to the meeting. I am not against the choice of the governor coming from my local government, Federal Constituency nor the aspiration of my brother;
“However, as a fellow aspirant from the same local government at the same advantage when successful, my aspiration to serve the state in the capacity of the governor remains on course. This statement would not have been necessary but not for the misrepresentation in media which may create a negative impression about my person and the reputation God has helped me to build these number of years in public service;
“My supporters and those sympathetic to my cause should please note that we are as resolute as ever in our desire to give our people purposeful leadership in the office of the Governor come 2023. God’s Amazing Grace has always seen us through and will always see us through.”
Between Sunday night and Monday, TNN called Luke via his airtel line many times and also sent messages to him. But he neither took the calls, nor respond to the messages.
Ukpai and the Prelate Emeritus of the Methodist Church of Nigeria, Dr. Sunday Mbang were at the meeting, alongside other Christian leaders in the state, always knowns as fathers of faith. In fact, they had prayed for Enoh’s success, a sentiment that was re-echoed by the Oku Ibom Ibibio and Chairman of State Council of Chiefs, Ntenyin Solomon Etuk.
Among those who attended the event, were the Deputy Governor, Mr. Moses Ekpo, MFR, Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Aniekan Bassey, Senators Akon Eyakenyi, Effiong Bob, Ibok Essien, Aloysius Etok, former Deputy Governor, Etim Okpoyo, Member, representing Etinan Federal Constituency at the National Assembly, Onofiok Luke, PDP Party Chairman, Elder Aniekan Akpan, Barrister Emmanuel Enoidem, the National Coordinator of the Maintain Peace Movement, (MPM) . Hon Pat Ifon, Member representing Eket Federal Constituency at the National Assembly and Member, PDP BOT, Chief Nduese Essien, a former Minister of Housing, Ambassador Assam Assam, SAN, Nigeria’s former Ambassador to Russia , Fathers of Faith, and other leading members of the state’s political class.