By Etok Okon
The flag bearer of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Akwa Ibom North West (Ikot Ekpene) Senatorial District for the forth-coming 2019 general elections, Obong Engr. Christopher Ekpenyong, has called on his teeming supporters in the State and beyond, to disregard any information that contradicts his determined response to calls by his people to contest for the senatorial seat in the upper chamber of the National Assembly under the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Obong Ekpenyong, who is a former and longest serving Deputy Governor of Akwa Ibom State, made the call in Etim Ekpo Local Government Area, recently, during a brief interview with our reporter before his endorsement by the Chambers of Family Heads in Etim Ekpo. The former Deputy Governor, however, acknowledged that some political jobbers peddled unfounded political rumours to poison the minds of his growing supporters with fears and doubts, He reaffirmed that he is all out to contest for the Senate Seat. He queried, “what indices do you want to sign post that I am ready for the election, after I have gone through all the necessary and formal procedures of the PDP, and the INEC as a candidate for the election in 2019, in response to calls by my people?” Speaking on his chances of winning the senatorial seat, the former Deputy Governor said that despite the short period of his emergence as the PDP candidate in the area, he is not new in the political landscape of Akwa Ibom State and Ikot Ekpene Senatorial District in particular, having served as a Deputy Governor of the State for more than six years, and also, being one of the founding members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the State since 1998. He further maintained that his popularity, capacity, character, credibility as a candidate for the Senate seat are enough reasons for his success at the poll in the forth-coming senatorial elections in 2019 under the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party. He added that the citizens of Akwa Ibom North West dominate the Peoples Democratic Party. He urged his supporters to vote for Governor Udom Emmanuel’s reelection as Governor of Akwa Ibom State and the former vice President, Atiku Abubakar, as President in 2019.
Baring his plans for the senatorial district if elected as senator in 2019, the PDP candidate stressed that Ikot Ekpene Senatorial District race goes beyond Annang nation and promised that his emergence as Senator in 2019 will ensure proper integration and adequate inclusion of the Ikono and Ini people, who, according to the senate hopeful, are brothers and sisters of the Annangs in the senatorial district. He further barred his mind that he will harness his resources as an industrialist with electrical engineering background to attract industries to the senatorial district, through his rapport with the State Governor and the Federal Government, in addition to sponsoring the enactment of laws that will bring positive development to Akwa Ibom North West, Akwa Ibom State and Nigeria in general.
While reacting to question on the touted use of “federal might” to rig the general election in the state, the former Deputy Governor and statesman described the electorate in Akwa Ibom State as “civilized” and noted that some people use examples of what happened in Ekiti and Osun States, recently, to predict the outcome of the 2019 general elections. He argued that the ruling political party at the centre and the Federal Government are preaching free and fair, one-man-one vote electoral process in the 2019 general elections, saying that the democratic dispensation will give PDP more advantage, viewing that the Party controls the greatest number of electorate in the state. He noted that during the last general elections in 2015, which brought APC to power at the centre, Akwa Ibom State still remains a PDP stronghold. He argued that those in the opposition Party today, in the state, were beneficiaries of the PDP led government, which ensured human capacity and infrastructural development for the advancement of Nigeria and Akwa Ibom State. He commended the leadership of the Family Heads Association in Etim Ekpo for adopting and endorsing him for the senate seat of Akwa Ibom North West in 2019.
He promised that he will reinvent the lost glories of the senatorial district as one of the earliest provinces in Nigeria, and create a national identity for the senatorial district, if elected in 2019. He, however, used the privilege to urge the Family Heads to advise their subjects to resist being used as militants and thugs by some evil-minded politicians during the 2019 general elections; support PDP to ward off insecurity, poverty, unemployment and economic redundancy in Nigeria, and to bring to Akwa Ibom State durable, sustainable development.