By Ima Nkanta

The Hon. Commissioner for Lands and Water Resources, Pastor Umo Eno has cleared the air on the rumoured endorsement of his candidacy for 2023 gubernatorial race by Governor Udom Emmanuel. This is against the widespread media hysteria inundating the state that he was mostly favoured and anointed by the Governor as his candidate for the coveted seat in 2023.

Debunking the media blitz which made headlines across the states and outside penultimate week, the Commissioner said that he has neither consulted the governor nor anyone yet for the 2023 gubernatorial race. He said, rather than bother himself about the coming elections, his primary assignment was to ensure that he works hard to deliver on target his present responsibilities in order to help actualize the Completion Agenda vision of the Udom Emmanuel administration.

Pastor Umo Eno made this clarification when pastors under the aegis of Akwa Ibom Christian Assembly (ACA) coordinators in the 31 local government areas of the state paid him a visit in Uyo to felicitate him on his appointment into the State Executive Council as Commissioner, particularly as someone who worked with them for the re-election of the incumbent.

While applauding the decision of the body of coordinators for their initiative to visit and felicitate with him, as one of their own, he jovially told the audience not to be agitated by the news making rounds about his endorsement as successor to the present governor. He stated that, although the governorship seat in 2023 was not an exclusive right of anyone, and that as a Nigerian he too has met the constitutional provision to contest for such a seat as he was ably qualified, yet he would rather face his duties as a commissioner than bother about who succeeds the governor in 2023. He reiterated the governor’s decision that in due time the successor will emerge and urged that as pastors, the coordinators should not be alarmed by propaganda, but pray that God should give Governor Udom Emmanuel a good successor who will sustain the legacies of infrastructural development and peace that this present administration has enthroned in the state.

His words: “About the issue of succession, a lot of people have written things about me but I want to say that I have never told anybody, I want to contest or I don’t want to contest, I challenge anybody to say that I have come to him or her to say I want to contest. But at the same time, I want to say that I am also well qualified to contest, nobody has an exclusive right over another. The point I want to underscore here is that governorship is not a particular inheritance of anybody, so nobody should feel, “Oh, why should this person come or why should this person not come?”

In an apparent reference to the media which were awash with stories of his endorsement by the governor for 2023, he said: “You don’t push words into people’s mouth.” Going rhetorical, he said: “Who knows if the voice of the people shouting is the voice of God,” and added: “If I have never gone to anybody to say, “I want to contest,” and then people are already shouting, ” I want to contest,” maybe they are pushing me into the ring and who knows?”

He restated his commitment to current engagement and pleaded that everyone should patiently wait and pray alongside the governor for God to choose who will succeed him. “We are waiting for His Excellency, Governor Udom Emmanuel to show direction, whenever he receives it from God, he will let everyone know. I have also made up my mind that whatever direction the governor points to, I will support that person, but for now we are all praying.”

In his remarks, Bishop Awasiakan Otong, thanked the governor for his support to ACA and assured the Commissioner that the Coordinators will wait for a direction regarding the forthcoming elections. Earlier in their remarks, the ACA Coordinators who spoke through Rev. Dr. Hilkiah Eliathah, eulogized the virtues of the Commissioner as a loyal supporter of the Udom Emmanuel administration and that with him in the State’s EXCO, they were confident the interest of the church in Akwa Ibom State would be protected.

He said: “Honourable Commissioner, we recall that during the last elections, you were our hope, fortress and strength. Your motivation, foresight and commitment to a cause was what gave us the enthusiasm to give in our all and worked for the success of that election. You took the risk of leaving your business empire to mobilize the clergy, traditional institutions, communities and the marketplace to support the re-election of our Governor. We can never forget your loyalty and sacrifice for the Governor and this is why as Coordinators, we have decided to stay committed and loyal to the administration of Governor Udom Emmanuel.” The Coordinators also enumerated the successful completion of state wide farmers’ enumeration, building of cassava Off-taking centres, revamping of Akwa Palm project and fast-tracking of issuance of certificate of occupancy, as some of the achievements of the Commissioner in his short stint in public service. The commissioner, however, thanked the pastors for initiating the visit, which, according to him, was symbolic of unity and oneness of purpose in which ACA stands for.

Quest News 24

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