Before now, the Akwa Ibom State governor, Udom Emmanuel, a deacon with the Qua Iboe Church of Nigeria, had said that it is God that would determine his successor. At every fora, he kept drumming it into the ears of the people, that he would need a divine intervention for the emergence of the next governor of the state.
Even at the formal inauguration of the Maintain Peace Movement, a political group initiated and promoted by him, the governor had made similar declarations. And that was at a time that speculations were rife, that he was going to support his name sake, Udom Inoyo, as successor.
But speculations about Udom’s support for Pastor Umo Enoh, the commissioner for lands became palpable much later. So, the talk of the town was that Udom may have to choose between Inoyo and Enoh. But Udom never spoke publicly about Inoyo the way he did about Enoh.
Last September, at a thanksgiving service organized by Enoh in appreciation to God for healing his wife, Udom had given a hint that Enoh was the man to look out for. He had spoken glowingly about his character and charisma. “I am standing on the pulpit to say that Pastor Enoh has never lobbied me for any office ever in this life.
“This is one man, we invited him only once to our retreat and all exco members will give you exactly the same report, he impressed everybody the way he made his presentation and we told him to help us handle Agric Investments and absolutely he has never called me that he wanted anything in this life.
At that event, Udom had also denied being lobbied by Christian leaders, under eh umbrella of Fathers of Faith, to anoint Enoh as his successor.
But Sunday’s endorsement of Enoh as the choice candidate of the Fathers of Faith, with the backing of other stakeholders from the state, including the Rev Uma Ukpai and the Prelate Emeritus of the Methodist Church of Nigeria, Dr. Sunday Mbang almost gave the governor out. And already, there are dissenting voices to that decision.
Among those who have opposed the decision of the governor and the Fathers of Faith is Onofiok Luke, a member of the House of Representatives, who has already declared that despite the endorsement of Enoh, his campaigns would continue.
We believe that as much as the governor and the Fathers of Faith have the right to choose whoever they want to support, the system should not go against any other person who wishes to exercise their democratic rights. Those in this class should not also be intimidated, either to abandon the cause or run away from the state.
Democracy is a game of numbers. The minority will always have their say but the majority must, at every point in time, have their way. If Enoh is able to secure the party’s ticket at the end of the day and then goes further to win the general election, so be it. If the likes of Luke are also able to garner more support, especially from Mothers of Faith, then let it be.
What we would not support is an atmosphere of chaos. Akwa Ibom has experienced so much of political crisis in the past and nothing close to such should be allowed any longer.
It is certain that many more Lukes will come out to challenge the decision of the stakeholders and Fathers of Faith. The beauty of democracy is in healthy competitions. We suggest that all Akwa Ibom people should get ready with their voters’ cards, to be able to choose the best person to take over from Udom, when the time comes.
It will also be wrong for people to be coerced into supporting a certain aspirant, just because the governor or some Christian leaders have anointed someone. Let the birds perch, let the eagles perch. That is the only way that Akwa Ibom will be able to get the best for the top job. Doing so will be counter -productive and will not be in the best interest of Akwa Ibom State.