Joining the clamour for the next Governor of Akwa Ibom State to emerge from Itu/ Ibiono Ibom Federal Constituency in Uyo Senatorial District of Akwa Ibom State is an experienced political chieftain and legal luminary, Obong Barr. Bassey Archibong Ekerete.
The chieftain of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), who served the state chapter of the party from 2000 to 2002 as secretary, reasoned that his party and Akwa Ibom people should support the Itu/ Ibiono Ibom Federal Constituency governorship advocacy for the sake of equity, justice, stability and consolidation of the gains of democracy enjoyed since 1999.
Barr. Ekerete in an interview urged the Uyo Senatorial District and generality of Akwa Ibom State to micro zone the governorship to Itu/Ibiono Ibom Federal Constituency, and stressed that the 2023 governorship race is not open to aspirants from all parts of the state.
“It can’t be an open race. It has to rotate. We have done the macro zoning within the three senatorial districts and must not leave it at that. There must be other considerations like marginalization, contributions, voting strength and development. It is not enough to do macro zoning but must move a little further to do micro zoning to a federal constituency. Therefore, we must talk about the federal constituency that is yet to have a taste of the Hilltop Mansion (Akwa Ibom State Government House), which is Itu/Ibiono Ibom Federal Constituency,” the legal luminary added.
According to him, a governorship ticket of the PDP for the constituency would result in the party getting block votes from the constituency as the vote basket of Uyo Senatorial District.
He, however, decried that despite being a vote basket and stronghold of the PDP, marginalization has been the fate of the constituency: “It is a sad story. We thought when much is given; much is given back in return. But we have a situation where we are so marginalized that we are actually out of the picture. The federal constituency has nothing to show for its contributions.
“That federal constituency has just two local government areas which ordinarily we should have gotten more. It is more or less a riverine area. Ibiono Ibom has no good road for 24 years of PDP in Akwa Ibom State, no bank, no hospital, no federal presence and no industry. We know that the development of an area is a direct function of the number of people you have in government from that area, particularly the number one citizen of the state. Onna Local Government Area and Ukana in Essien Udim Local Government Areas are good examples.”
Barr. Ekerette appealed to Governor Udom Emmanuel, whom he described as a product and beneficiary of zoning, to show direction.
“Etinan Federal Constituency had Obong Akpan Isemin as governor. Idongesit Nkanga was also from there even though he wore a military uniform and in politics we cannot leave him out. So Etinan Federal Constituency has had two turns. Uyo Federal Constituency had had Obong Victor Attah as governor. But Itu/Ibiono Ibom Federal Constituency has not gotten a fair deal as far as the stuff is concerned,” he added