Why Nsima Ekere deserves to be the next governor of Akwa Ibom State
As the nation counts down to the 2019 general elections, election campaigns across the country are growing in scope and intensity. One campaign that has proven revolutionary is the inclusive and progressive grassroots driven campaign Nsima Ekere, the APC governorship candidate has brought to the people of Akwa Ibom.
Ekere’s campaign has been closely watched because of Akwa Ibom’s long contested potential as a swing state, and the short and long term implications if the state finally choose an opposition party for its highest leadership position.
With a general dissatisfaction with the current government and a widespread nostalgia for the golden age of Akwa Ibom, this election cycle the state is one of the few where a robust political campaign and a comprehensive message can be the difference between success and failure.
Ekere’s first task as flagbearer for APC was his most tenuous. The party’s state chapter has struggled with factions and a general distrust that allowed the present governor Emmanuel Udom into power largely uncontested. Working with party officials and running a grassroots programme that aligned his interests to the party’s and their sympathies to his cause were important steps in his quest to unite the once divisive All Progressive’s Party. It took three years, but Ekere largely succeeded, positioning himself as the most qualified candidate to represent the party in this year’s elections.
Ekere’s success is even more remarkable when you consider he is a relatively new import to the party, defecting to the APC from the PDP after in-fighting within the PDP denied him the opportunity to represent that party as their governorship candidate in 2015.
Immersing himself in the ethos of the party and championing its causes, Ekere’s announcement as the APC gubernatorial candidate triggered a tidal wave of PDP defections, from government aides and members of the House of Representatives. It was such a comprehensive routing that it even convinced a PDP stalwart and Ekere’s former boss, former governor Godswill Akpabio to defect to the APC.
With the party in full support of his duty to swing the state for the APC, Ekere has spent the entirety of the campaign window personally engaging the citizens of the state. An extensive tourney of all the state’s federal constituencies and local governments has seen Ekere personally engage with disenfranchised citizens, religious and cultural leaders and informal groups and societies, listening to their problems and proffering his solutions for reforming government so that it meets the needs of all Akwa Ibom’s citizens.
The governorship candidate’s campaign tour recently focused on the Onna/Eket/Esit Eket/Ibeno constituencies. Formerly a PDP stronghold, Onna has seen a sustained neglect of the constituencies needs and problems.
Ekere was especially appalled to discover the Urua Nka Market, a popular market that supported hundreds of families and served as a point of convergence for people of the neighbouring towns was destroyed and despite complaints from residents, was yet to be rehabilitated. Even more worrisome to the gubernatorial candidate were the persons displaced by the demolition who were yet to be compensated or resettled by the present government.
In appreciation of all that the APC gubernatorial candidate’s dedication to Akwa Ibom state and the Eket constituency in particular, popular Eket Businessman Otuekong Emmanuel Assam of Emmaco donated to the APC campaign a three storey state-of-the-art office complex to be used as a campaign office for the 2019 elections. Other prominent Eket politicians like Dr. Emem Wills, once a commissioner for Commerce and Industry told the audience that had gathered to welcome Ekere that he predicts a 75% win for the aspirant in the Eket constituencies. He also dismissed concerns that the APC hadn’t done enough to convince residents to support them at the polls.
It was not a statement made without requisite proof. The Onna – Etinan Road, leading to the hometown of the present Governor Udom Emmanuel has remained in disrepair for the duration of the governor’s tenure, his impact barely felt by his own kinfolk. Ekere promised to remedy this disheartening situation once he is given the mandate to lead, and cited his own achievements including the construction of the Afaha Ubium – Edet Idim Ishiet – Ikot Akpan and the Ikot Ekong- Ntafre – Opolom – Ikot Inyang roads as the director of the Niger Delta Development Council (NDDC). His achievements in education and healthcare in the community were milestones fondly remembered by residents of the constituency.
Group captain Ewang Sam Ewang (retd.), the Chairman of the APC governorship Campaign Council and Mr. Samuel Mbosoh, the chairman of the APC Onna chapter both marvelled at the impressive turnout for Ekere and referenced this as assurance that as everywhere in the state, Ekere has the ear and the votes of Onna.
It is impossible to determine the outcome of the governorship elections this February, but every single voter in Akwa Ibom can agree that the APC candidate, Nsima Ekere deserves to be our governor in 2019.