The Evangelist News Edition June 15, 2023. By Tony Udoh
In keeping to his promise to unite Akwa Ibom people across political parties, ethnic and religious interests, Governor Umo Eno, yesterday, Tuesday June 13, 2023, led a delegation of Akwa Ibom stakeholders to congratulate and celebrate with the newly elected president of the 10th Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Senator Godswill Akpabio.
This followed a message of goodwill earlier sent through different media channels to Senator Akpabio immediately after the election.
In his message, the governor emphatically said, “we’re very excited. Every Akwa Ibom person today should be thankful to God and be happy because the number three man in this country is from Akwa Ibom. That means development wise, we can now link our state to the centre and we can collaborate. We congratulate you and I know that it is a great milestone for Akwa Ibom State and every Akwa Ibomite, across party lines, should be happy and thankful to God.”
It must be said that many, especially those that have followed the political trajectory of the state, did not see this coming given the political differences and other inexplicable sentiments expressed by the leaders, especially during the elections.
Senator Akpabio is leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), while Governor Eno is the leader of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), in the State.
It is on record that Akwa Ibom State had over the years been badly polarized down these party lines to the displeasure of many patriotic and well-meaning citizens.
This, it must be said, was one of the greatest motivations of Governor Eno to run for the State’s top job, which has availed him the platform to change the narrative of a people badly balkanized and to unite and promote only the interest of the state above every other consideration.
By reiterating his desire for a peaceful Akwa Ibom under his watch in his speeches at different fora, the governor clearly demonstrated that he is a man of peace.
In his last campaign engagement with members of the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), for instance, he said, “I will like to say to Akwa Ibom people that we are first of all Akwa Ibomites before we become political party members, and the Akwa Ibom project is higher than any political party.
“Among all the candidates for this election, I’m the only one that has friends across all political parties, I have no enemy, so I am coming as a peace maker, I have the ministry of reconciliation and I will reconcile Akwa Ibom across party lines. I will reconcile APC, PDP, YPP, NNPP, LABOUR party and all. I am the one that God has given the ministry of reconciliation.
“I don’t hate anybody, there is no home I cannot enter; I will go round and see people and will bring Akwa Ibom to the table and we will seat down and discuss the Akwa Ibom project. We will ensure that all of us work together.This state has been so polarized along party lines, and polarized along ethnic lines. I will ensure that we kill that divide and together we will be Akwa Ibom state of Nigeria,” he added.
Similarly, as captured in his inaugural speech he said, “elections are over, and our kindred spirit must be renewed and deepened. We are all Akwa Ibom people first before politics. Politics, therefore, must not separate or severe the ties of our brotherhood and common heritage and aspirations.
‘I pledge to you that I will be governor for all Akwa Ibom people irrespective of political persuasions or affiliations.
“I call on our people to come together, and let’s build a State where the pain of one Akwa Ibomite is the pain of all, and where the success of one Akwaibomite is the success for all. We have been too polarized by politics, This should not be. As I said in my Victory Speech, we will set up a bi-partisan reconciliation committee soon, so we can jaw-jaw, instead of war-war on critical issues of our development, unity and brotherhood.”
Barely two weeks after, Senator Akpabio emerged President of the Nigerian Senate and Governor Umo Eno took the bold step to celebrate with him, which has thrown the state into rare frenzy.
This laudable step has made many to wonder and ponder, “what a man is Governor Umo Eno?” The answer is simple: Governor Umo Eno is a promise- keeper and he is simply walking the Talk.
Though, arguably, most political office holders have the ability to cajole, persuade and deceive the electorate through their oratory prowess, and appear to forget all promises they made as soon as they assume office, Governor Eno has shown that he is a breed apart.
Without doubt, he has indeed proven his mettle by walking the talk and carefully driving a paradigm shift in the political trajectory of the state.