As the debate on who occupies the Hilltop Mansion in 2023 continues to gain momentum, the Chairman of Ibom Airport Development Company Limited, Dr. Iniobong Essien, has opened up on the aspirations for the governorship race.
Dr. Essien, who is a former Commissioner for Science and Technology in Akwa Ibom State, in an interaction with the Conference of Online Publishers in Akwa Ibom State (COOPA) on Friday, hinted that although he has not informed any group or individual of any aspiration, he would not decline if God reveals him to Governor Udom Emmanuel as his potential Successor.
This follows insinuation across the State that he (Iniobong Essien) will run for the 2023 Governorship election.
“So far, he (Gov. Emmanuel) has not named anybody (as a successor). So if the Governor were to hear my name from God and then says, ‘this is the person that God wants, then I’ll certainly get back to my people, think about it and of course, give it a trial.
“It will be a call to service. I was called to be an Elder in the Apostolic Church, not because I chose to be. At some point, I was hesitant but when I looked at it from the point of service, I went on to take that up. I enjoy service. To me, a call to service at that level is a call that one will certainly pray about and possibly give a trial. People have come to me to say why don’t you do this, but I have never spoken with anybody to date, I have not. If there is anybody who says that I have said that I want to contest for Governorship of Akwa Ibom State, I’d like the person to come out and say it publicly”, he said.
He noted that Governor Emmanuel needed divine guidance in his choice of a successor, saying rather than pressurize the Governor, Akwa Ibom people should also seek God’s face on who takes over the baton of leadership in 2023.
“If you’re talking about the succession plan, Governor Udom Emmanuel has spoken severally that, he is waiting on God and the stakeholders. So we will patiently wait for His Excellency. I’m sure he’s talking with the stakeholders and they are giving their inputs.
“God is not a God of confusion. I want to appeal that we allow Governor Udom Emmanuel to hear from God. I would also advise us (Akwa Ibom people) to pray to God to guide him so that he hears very clearly (from God)”, he said.
Dr. Essien carpeted widespread insinuations that the Governor was making moves to frustrate the ambitions of some Governorship Aspirants in the state, but made a case for Itu/Ibiono Ibom Federal Constituency in the forthcoming election.
“Governor Udom Emmanuel has never given any instruction that there is anyone that needs to be politically ‘demystified’. What I desire is that based on the zoning that we have, Itu/Ibiono should be given a shot. It is left to the stakeholders in conjunction with the Governor to take a decision on what it should be”, he added.
The erstwhile Commissioner also spoke on ongoing works at the Maintenance, Repairs, and Overhaul (MRO), second Runaway, and Terminal Building at the Ibom International Airport.
“Close to 70 percent of work has been done at the MRO of Ibom International Airport. An official operator is in the pipeline and that will be unfolded very soon. The MRO is almost ready for use.”
“The terminal building, from my interactions with the engineers, should be ready by the middle of next year. Same thing with the second Runway. Asphalting has started. I’ll put the level of completion at 60 to 70 percent.”
He expressed optimism that the current administration would complete ongoing projects in the state before 2023, exception of the Ibom Deep Seaport which he noted cannot be completed under Governor Emmanuel’s tenure.
“I can tell you that with the way he is going, Governor Udom Emmanuel will land well. He will land well in terms of completing his projects and in his succession plan. There is no way Governor Udom Emmanuel can complete the Ibom Deep Seaport in his administration. But what he has done so far, especially, getting the approval from the Federal Government, is commendable.”
Conference of Online Publishers in Akwa Ibom (COOPA)