By Israel Umoh
The Governor Udom Emmanuel’s Completion Agenda is on course. Unlike Surpassing Superior Performance Agenda of his first term in the office, seen to be mind-boggling, the second term’s agenda is focusing on completing development projects the administration embarked on in the first term in office.
The first term agenda was anchored on a five-point Agenda of: Wealth Creation, Economic and Political Inclusion, Poverty Alleviation, Infrastructural Consolidation and Expansion and Job Creation.
Mr. Emmanuel anchored his second term manifesto tagged, “completion agenda 2019-2023” on an eight-point agenda of Industrialisation, Aviation Development, Rural and Riverine Area Development, Agricultural, Human Capacity Development, Security, Infrastructure, Small and Medium Scale Enterprises.
During his inauguration for a second term in office, Emmanuel declared “I have learnt greater lessons in the last three and half years. Consequently, I fully understand the task of leading our great State. By the grace of God and with your support and vote, I will improve upon our previous gains. Together, we will overcome all challenges and secure a greater future for our state by surpassing our superior performance. Our hope for the completion agenda is on God alone for it can be only God.”
Despite the ecclesiastical posturing, the completion agenda will be suffused with intrigues and subterfuge to enable the governor to have a latitude in producing his successor.
To show his deftness in the game, the governor produced a speaker in addition to other principal officers in Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly to the surprise of a few cynics. He jolted many lobbyists by re-appointment and swearing in of commissioners and special advisers. This, some people reason, might have been a compensation for their support during the governorship election and a ploy by the governor to checkmate any leakage of information by any aggrieved person or to stop any form of betrayal in the pending case at the Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal. It is assumed that the appointees may not stay too long but if the tribunal rules on time in favour of the governor, then Emmanuel may pull back the hand of the clock in changing the team and rejigging the State Executive Council team that will stay till the end of the completion agenda.
The Onna-born Governor hails from Akwa Ibom South Senatorial District. An insider in the government told Straightnews “These key but juicy ministries are domiciled in his senatorial district. For example, Rt. Hon. Okpolupm Ikpong Etteh in-charge of Ministry of Special Duties; Akparawa Ephraim Inyangeyen, Works; Barr. Ekong Sampson, Environment and Petroleum Resources; Rt. Hon. Uno Etim Uno, Transport and Solid Minerals and Dr. Dominic Ukpong, Health are from the district.”
A financial expert remarked “The governor will pump money into key projects of these ministries to mop up enough to bankroll the person he wants to succeed him in 2023. As a result of this, other ministries may be starved of funds. With funds and strong political will, the governor can muscle his opponent wanting to truncate his mission.”
Before now, Mr. Akan Okon was in-charge of Special Duties Ministry, where projects are said to be midwifed. An anonymous official narrated “But today, he has been deployed to the newly created Ministry of Economic Development and Ibom Deep Seaport, a fanciful one to keep him busier until the game is up. This is a subtle way of easing him out the 2023 governorship race and to ensure that much money does not enter his hands to deny him the opportunity of flying the governorship flag. If he declares his ambition, he may not garner the support of his principal- the governor to set sail.”
A political pundit observed “The idea that the governor Emmanuel may not produce a successor may be a huge joke. In politics, every thing even game is fair. In 2019, most political pundits did not give him a chance to to be re-elected, yet he massed his arsenals and trounced his opponents in the opposition party in the state.
“He formed various groups, consulted widely, mounted formidable front with the emergence of unit commanders, vote canvassers, and vote defenders in all electoral units and wards and local government areas of the state.”
Another analyst summed up “In a move that seems like a build-up to the governorship battle for 2023, the governor is upping the ante of his game plan and altering the political dynamics to produce a successor.”
With the political masterstroke, can he cause upset in the 2023 governorship race in Akwa Ibom? Can the governor upturn the political apple cart again by wrestling his opponents to the ground leaving them gasping for oxygen?