Members of the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly have reaffirmed their “support and solidarity” with Udom Emmanuel, Governor of the state.
With Godwill Akpabio, Udon’s predecessor, widely expected to seal a move from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the All Progressives Congress (APC) on Wednesday, there have been permutations on both sides on how the defection would alter the power balance in the state.
However, the state legislators have resolved to stay with “leader” Emmanuel and the PDP, insisting that their support for him is “based on the superlative performance that has characterized his leadership in the state”.
Onofiok Luke, Speaker of the Assembly, said this on Monday when he led his colleagues on a visit to the Governor at the Government House, Uyo.
Luke expressed regrets that two of his colleagues were absent but said it was only due to official engagements outside the country.
“We came with the understanding that we were elected by Akwa Ibom people on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party and that the leader of that party, His Excellency, the Governor in the state, has performed well and we on that platform of Peoples Democratic Party have come to show solidarity because of the performance that he has been able to put on ground,” he said.
Luke reiterated their faith in “God’s strength and in the leadership of Governor Emmanuel”, maintaining that they visited to show their total support to him “so that at a time like this, he is not distracted, and can continue to deliver the dividends of Democracy for Akwa Ibom people”.
“As members of the state legislature, we were not elected as Governors or members of the House of Assembly to be able to think about our personal interest. We were elected to carter for the well-being of Akwa Ibom people,” he said.
“The easiest bet to fulfilling the wishes of the people is our unwavering support to the Governor who is the vision bearer that he will have the enabling environment to be able to deliver unto Akwa Ibom people.
“We came here to show solidarity and to show that he is our candidate for 2019, not only our candidate, that we will do all within our powers and all within the law to ensure that he returns to this Hiltop Mansion to complete his tenure as Governor just like every other person did in Akwa Ibom State in 2023.
“Your Excellency, the House of Assembly is with you and we want Nigeria to know that the House is totally with you because God is with you and because God is with us.”
Responding, Emmanuel praised the loyalty of the lawmakers, saying: “As a state, we are not distracted; we are highly focused. Our party chairman is here, all of us here were elected on the platform of PDP.
“We are known to be very loyal people, the Niger Delta people are very loyal — very loyal and highly principled people. We don't just move like that.”
He said it was not possible to see a Niger Delta man who is on a canoe in the high sea jump inside the Atlantic Ocean on the basis of a storm.
“So we just want the world to know that we are at peace with ourselves. All is well with us as far as this union, this body is concerned and we leave the rest into God's hands and then we will see what God wants to do,” he added.
“This is God's own state; we restate and reaffirm our faith in God and God alone. Let the whole world know that we are PDP and PDP shall we be.”