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Governorship Race 2015: Akwa Ibom PDP Finally Decides!

Let me begin by welcoming and thanking all members of the State Executive Committee of the Peoples Democratic Party, Akwa Ibom State chapter for honouring our invitation to this very important meeting. Permit me to register my deep appreciation to His Excellency, the performing Governor of Akwa Ibom State, and the Leader of our great Party in the State, Chief (Dr.) GodswillAkpabio, CON, for the unquantifiable support he has given to the Party at all levels.

The PDP family takes great pride in the breath-taking developmental strides of His Excellency, the Executive Governor of Akwa Ibom State. His unparalleled achievements have continued to attract local, national and global accolades. The uncommon transformation of the State has impacted on all sectors of the State economy and improved the quality of life across the length and breadth of our dear State.

Today, Akwa Ibom, the once backward State, has emerged as a model and reference point in the journey of our dear country courtesy the Uncommon Transformation Agenda of our dear Governor.

You will recall that during our expanded Caucus meeting in this same hall on the 3rd of January, 2014, the Party unanimously passed votes of confidence on His Excellency, the Executive Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Chief (Dr.) Godswill Akpabio, and the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, GCFR for their achievements in the discharge of their various responsibilities and commitment to the growth and stability of our Party.

On that occasion our State chapter of the Party called on Mr. President to step forward and contest the 2015 presidential election. We reaffirm our earlier position even with greater vigour. We assure Mr. President of our support as ever and urge him once again to step forward and contest the 2015 election. For the PDP in Akwa Ibom State, we say to Mr. President you are our candidate. For our dear Governor, the man of history, we reaffirm the vote of confidence on His Excellency, the Governor.

I also use this opportunity to congratulate our bridge builder, Alhaji Adamu Mauzu on his emergence as the National Chairman of our great Party, the PDP. I would not also fail to use this platform to condemn in totality the spurious, malicious and unfounded petitions by the so-called “PDP Elders Forum”.

Going down memory lane, on March 18th 2012 my colleagues and I were elected at a very peaceful and well conducted state congress of our Party in Uyo township stadium. On that occasion, I made a pledge that we will move the Party forward by injecting new ideas and the creativity required to drive a new order.

I also committed to working with the Leader of the Party in the State and all of you to ensure that all stakeholders and indeed all parts of the State are carried along in the affairs of the Party. That commitment has been unwavering and we shall continue to work together to smoothen the bond of unity and brotherhood that binds us together as a people.

It is my pleasure and joy, therefore, to report to this distinguished gathering of members of  the State Executive Committee of our great Party that we spent the last two years of our Exco doing our very best to move our Party forward.  Shortly after our election, we embarked on a sensitization tour across the 31 Local Government Areas of the State. This was followed by the peaceful conduct of Local Government elections in which our Party recorded landslide victories in the 31 Local Government Areas of the State. We further participated in the zonal congress and national convention of our dear Party. We have renewed our resolve in our support and loyalty to the leadership of the Party at the national and state levels. We shall continue in this stead until our great Party, the PDP, wins elections at all levels in 2015.

May I at this juncture report to you that during the course of our administration, we had reasons to upgrade facilities and improve our infrastructure to ensure a more conducive working environment for Party officials. To this end, we made a decision to relocate the Party’s secretariat from 149 Ikot Ekpene Road to 113 Edet Akpan Avenue. This was informed by the need to take advantage of the ambiance and more accessible nature of the new area, as opposed to the dilapidated, overcrowded and congested nature of the former office. Contrary to insinuations making the rounds, the Party rented a new office space from one Engineer Joseph Okon Bassey, who hails from Idu Uruan in Akwa Ibom State. I have taken time to explain this to put paid to the false rumors from disgruntled elements that the new office belongs to the Secretary of the Party.

To further strengthen the workings of the Party as well as lay the requisite foundation for sound financial health, we inaugurated the Finance Committee to raise the required funds for the running of the Party, and a Building Committee, to undertake the building of a befitting Party Secretariat within one year. We believe this action will help the Party move to a permanent headquarter building.

Similarly, we have put in place machinery for the appointment of deserving members of the Party into the PDP Elders Committee, amongst other committees, soon to be inaugurated. Details of the committees will be made public in due course.

When in His infinite mercies, God gave us a state, we, in a marked show of gratitude named the state after God and christened it “The Land of Promise.” About seven years ago, the principles upon which our state was founded were put to the test, and the central question in that election year was whether the will of God can be done in God’s own state. The Peoples Democratic Party rose up to the moral challenge and as drum majors led our people to the great and thrilling experience in governance which has become the bellwether of administrative excellence in our country, that has today metamorphosed into uncommon transformation.

Today we stand at the bridgehead of opportunity once more and we must remember the immortal words of William Shakespeare,

There is a tide in the affairs of men.
Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune;
Omitted, all the voyage of their life
Is bound in shallows and in miseries.
On such a full sea are we now afloat,
And we must take the current when it serves,
Or lose our ventures.

We have always taken the tide at the flood in Akwa Ibom State. Recently, our Government embarked on the Town Hall meetings to seek the tide of public opinion on the future of the State.

We highly commend His Excellency, the Executive Governor, for the initiative of and the wisdom for the Town Hall meetings. Dynamic leaders create compelling visions, which connect today with tomorrow. The Town Hall meetings were not only a bridge between today and tomorrow; they were a true demonstration of the democratic truism adopted by our great Party that power belongs to the people.

We noted with delight the massive turnout and active participation by Akwa Ibom people at the Town Hall meetings in the 10 Federal Constituencies of the State. The interest shown and the freedom with which people expressed their opinions in a spirit of understanding, gives credence to the fact that all our people, despite their glaring diversities in culture and tradition, are a cohesive family.

I must confess that the exercise was and is still adjudged the highest point in our democratic experience. It was indeed a great lesson in participatory governance and has great hope for the future.

It is pertinent for me to throw more light on a matter of great interest to all Akwa Ibom people arising from the Town Hall meetings. In doing this, I will solely rely on the Constitution of the Peoples Democratic Party and indeed the Holy Scriptures which provide sufficient guides. Section 24, sub (2) of our Party’s Constitution (2012) as amended empowers the State Executive Committee of the Party to “identify and resolve political, social and economic issues of concern to the State.”

In line with the above, and in response to the agitations and yearnings regarding the zoning of governorship position in the State amongst the three senatorial districts, the Party decided to participate in the Town Hall meetings organized across the 10 Federal Constituencies to listen to the views of the people.

Again, Section 7.2(g) of the Party’s Constitution (2012) as amended, under Aims and Objectives, states that the Party shall “promote an egalitarian society founded on freedom, equality and justice.” And Section 7.3(c) specifically states further that the Party shall pursue its aims and objectives by “adhering to the Policy of the rotation and zoning of Party and Public elective offices in pursuance of the principle of equity, justice and fairness.” This perfectly agrees with the Scriptures in 2nd Samuel 23:3 which says that “He who rules over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God”; and1st Peter 3:13 in which God asks a very important question thus: “And who is he that will harm you, if ye be followers of that which is good?” I am sure we all know the right answer to that question.

Distinguished State Executive members of the Peoples Democratic Party, throughout the course of the Town Hall meetings, we took notice of the various sentiments expressed by the good people of Akwa Ibom State. I must confess that Akwa Ibom people made us proud by standing on the side of justice, fairness and equity. We did not expect anything less from a people of faith who subscribe to the righteous laws of the Almighty God.

As a Party, whose motto is “power to the people” we identify with the sentiments and principles embedded in the various conclusions and resolutions of the 10 Federal Constituencies. They were sentiments and principles, which are consistent with democratic principles. It should be mentioned that these sentiments and principles, particularly as it relates to zoning, are upheld in our Party’s Constitution, which we have earlier cited. We are, therefore, obliged to uphold them.

Consequently, at various meetings, the Chapter Chairmen, the State Working Committee, and the State Exco of our the Party, believing in the rightness of our cause, entrusting same to the almighty hands of our great God and defending the interest and unity of our State, made the following resolutions, which we here present to this distinguished State Executive Committee of our dear Party for consideration and ratification:

(1) That the zoning principle be applied and the governorship position be zoned to Eket Senatorial District come 2015. This is in line with extant agreements, which led to zoning the position to Ikot Ekpene in 2006, with the proviso that it should go to Eket Senatorial District in 2015 and rotate to Uyo thereafter.  This position is sacrosanct, but would not debar anyone from any other senatorial district from the exercise of his right to vie for the office.
(2) That after Eket Senatorial District, it would be the turn of Uyo Senatorial District to produce the Governor.
(3) That this principle of zoning, which is guaranteed in the PDP constitution, be extended to other offices in the State, except where a candidate is selected on the basis of expressed consensus due to outstanding performance.
(4) That the Party’s decision is based on the principles of equity, fairness and justice, which are the solid grounds for peace, unity and progress in any democratic dispensation.

The PDP in the State, therefore, appeals to Party Elders and all stakeholders to abide by this decision and join hands to ensure victory, in the interest of continuous peace and multiplied progress of Akwa Ibom State.

Distinguished members of the State Executive Committee, in the Bible we are told about the men of Issachar, who had an understanding of the times and knew what Israel ought to do. Therefore, our Party, having drawn from the preponderance of the opinions of the good people of Akwa Ibom through the Town Hall meetings held in the 10 Federal Constituencies of our dear State, has a proper understanding of the times that we are in, and accordingly knows the road we ought to walk. May God walk that road with us and may His will be done as usual in Akwa Ibom State come 2015.

Thank you and God bless you all.


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