By: Special Projects Editor
Akwa Ibom State, one of the two states created in Nigeria on September 23, 1987, has a nexus with God Almighty. A religious people, it is not uncommon to find various inscriptions seeking to identify with or glorify God.
On their public transport vehicles, private villas, even at where it is written “Post No Bill,” all manner of bills and banners by one church/religious group or another compete for space. The new age religion practitioners in the state: AMORC (Ancient Mystical Order of Rosie Crucie), Eckankar, Grail Message Movement, Bahai Faith, among others, are not left out. All have representatives in Akwa Ibom State populated by highly respected individuals and citizens.
Realising the psyche of the people, Udom Gabriel Emmanuel, the State Governor, declared that he would not hand over to a ‘cultist.’ Consequently, he outlawed 65 “evil associations” cult groups, some of whose members may be remotely related to his administration. The National Association of Seadogs (NAS) issued statements concerning the list as published by the administration of Udom G. Emmanuel for being lumped among cult groups.
While 2023 seems many months away, the number in years is rather few as the political timetable for transition commences in the third quarter of 2022, essentially two years from now. The thought that power is described as “a grab of ice block” and the realisation of the truth that the size of the ice block reduces every minute till it becomes water has made Governor Emmanuel to have contemplated his exit plan or strategy.
True to his philosophical bent or inclinations, he has chosen to engage some clergymen with his political permutations. Recall at his inauguration at Godswill Akpabio International Stadium, following the “Divine Mandate” mantra on May 29, 2015, he had invited Apostle (Dr.) Emmanuel Nuhu Kure, an internationally acclaimed Watchman and Founder of Throneroom Trust Ministry, Kafanchan, Kaduna State, to carry out the foundation prayers and rites for a successful tenure. So in 2019 under the guidance of Archbishop Nicholas Duncan-Williams of Action Chapel International, Accra, Ghana with the slogan “Only GOD” he was returned to the Hilltop mansion for a second term. To show gratitude to God, he showed up at the Action Chapel International on October 6, 2019, at a special programme that featured the renowned American Prophet, Apostle Chuck Pierce whom God used to change the course of American history at the exit of Bill Clinton for President George Bush, Jnr.
Since his return from Ghana, he purposed in his heart and declared “Only God” will determine his successor. But his recent activities have shown that he does not want to be passive in God’s train or vehicle to produce a successor. He is actively engaging the several denominational blocks in his religio-ecclesia quest.
To the Catholics, he fronts his long-time friend and Commissioner of Finance, Nsikan Linus Nkan, a nominal Catholic with no core relationship in the Conference of Bishops and Priests, as a possible arrowhead for mobilization. How well he understands the intellectual disposition of an average Catholic priest is questionable. The Catholic priests, unlike the majority of priests in the pentecostal/charismatic/protestant league, are well-trained educationally and psychologically and to easily discern a bait.
To the Methodists, he has chosen to utilise his long-standing relationship with Dr. Sunday Mbang, Prelate Emeritus of the Methodist Church, Nigeria to promote Mr. Okon Okon of the Board of Internal Revenue (BIR). Prelate Mbang (it was) that went with Udom and the then Governor Akpabio to solicit Chief Olusegun Obasanjo’s support when Udom’s quest to become governor was threatened in December 2014.
Okon, whose financial services background covers WEMA bank, Omega Savings and Loans, Eagle Cement Board Port Harcourt, is a native of Ituk Mbang where the government is constructing a 200-bed COVID-19 isolation centre. He marries the daughter of the late Chief Christopher Udomeshiet, the pioneer Speaker of defunct Cross River State House of Assembly (1979-1983). Mr. Okon has helped in improving the internal revenue profile since assuming the headship of the BIR.
The camp of the Pentecostals has been plagued by unhealthy rivalry. Rather than allow themselves to be like the apostles who gathered in the upper room at Pentecost for God to reconstitute what was scattered at Babel (Tower of Babel), they have elected to live in the acrimony and cacophony of voices.
Keen observers are yet to see the calming effects of Archbishop Cletus Bassey who brought the renowned American Prophet, Bishop Bill Hamon to Akwa Ibom State in 2016, whose road map prophecy to the Governor contributed in no small way to the stabilization of the administration at that time.
Senator Bassey Albert Akpan ( OBA) who would have benefited immensely from the activities of Rev. Ntia Ntia of Full Life Gospel Church, whose membership harbours the young and upwardly mobile elites, has since fallen out of favour with the Governor despite the Governor addressing him in pre-2019 election times as “my leader that I can follow to battle.” However, Albert’s political capital could become an albatross in the quest by Udom Gabriel Emmanuel to produce a successor.
The other block in the Pentecostals consists of Senator John James Akpan Udoedehe and Senator Effiong Bob of the Mountain of Fire and Miracles Ministries (MFM). It can be argued that since the arrival of MFM in Akwa Ibom State, it is only in the tenure of Governor Udom Emmanuel that the General Overseer of MFM, the indefatigable scholar and scientist, Dr. Daniel K. Olukoya found it necessary to visit the state formally. Little wonder that Udom Emmanuel was also at the prayer city of MFM during the church’s 30th anniversary to say ‘thank you.’
The prospects of other aspiring governorship gladiators like Mr. Akan Okon from Itu LGA and Mr. Udom Inoyo of Nsit Ubium have not yet received good backing of some influential clergymen of their dispositions.
In the unfolding political melodrama, there seems to be a carefully orchestrated and choreographed decimation of certain leaders of thought and elder statesmen as the incumbent seeks to become a sole king maker. The recent pre-election 2019 warm relationship with the elder statesman, Obong Victor Attah, in whose favour the state Ibom International airport was named, who as a private professional architect and planner was charged with the development of the Uyo Capital City Development masterplan at the creation of the state and had the privilege of becoming the Governor of the state at the return to civil rule in 1999, seems to have frozen into a cold war over a disagreement on the airport road expansion.
The veteran political campaign manager and former Military Administrator of the state, Air Commodore (retd) Idongesit Nkanga is not left out in this animal farm fantasy of the incumbent. Since after his second term commenced, the Governor seems to have distanced his communication with the aviation expert and former Commander of Presidential Air Fleet.
Since Proverbs 20:28 says “Mercy and truth preserve the King and his throne is upholden by mercy,” the governor is the person who holds ace for the plum job. With the political mobilization coupled with other intrigues to producing the state executive members in Peoples Democratic Party, then he becomes the master keyholder on the paved-road to governorship race. As a political leader in his party, he has mercy to give governorship seat to whom he pleases and the prerogative to tell the heir-apparent nothing but absolute truth.