Youths in Akwa Ibom State under the aegis of Akwa Ibom Youths Mandate has adopted the member representing Nsit Ubium/Nsit Ibom and Etinan Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives, Hon. Onofiok Akpan Luke rather than the state Commissioner for Lands and Water Resources, Pastor Uno Eno, anointed by Governor Udom Emmanuel as the next governor of the state. Arising from a special stakeholders meeting in Uyo, the youths stated that they have witnessed political occurrences in the state that has left them in shock, particularly, over how a few individuals will take decision on who becomes the next governor of the state without consulting the people.
A communiqué by the group signed by Comrade Victor Sage Thompson, read in part: “Stakeholders of Akwa Ibom State have come together to choose a successor for six million people of Akwa Ibom State and we wondered why that was so? We have witnessed everything that has gone on in this state for the past few years, and first of all, we would like to thank the leadership of Governor Udom Emmanuel, for consolidating on the gains of the infrastructure renaissance that was brought about by the leadership of Senator Godswill Akpabio and developing on that, coming up with the the industrialisation agenda and pushing out Akwa Ibom State at the forefront of industrialisation in Nigeria.
“We also thank him for having Akwa Ibom State in mind such that he has to painstakingly and patiently take time to choose someone he feels is a worthy successor for the 2023 gubernatorial election in Akwa Ibom State. But we have looked around, we have searched the nooks and crannies of the state and we have come to a decision that at this point, we are not going to throw away our elders, we are not going to fight our elders and we are not going to kick out our elders but we are only going to tell our elders to give us a chance to grow as a young people.
We are only going to tell them, please do not impose a person we do not want on us, because the essence of democracy is allowing the people to choose who will lead them. “We have taken a stand and we believe this resonates with the majority of young people in Akwa Ibom State. We have assessed and examined the process of leadership recruitment in Akwa Ibom State, we have examined and assessed every aspirant seeking to occupy the office of the governor of Akwa Ibom State and we have come to a conclusion that it is only one person that meets our criteria. We have come to a conclusion that it is only one person we all yearn for who will be the governor of the people by the people and for the people and that is in the person of Hon. Onofiok Akpan Luke.
“We believe that a majority of Akwa Ibom youths agree that with Onofiok Luke in the seat of the governor, we are going to breathe fresh air, we are going to experience a turnaround in the politics, governance and development of Akwa Ibom State. Onofiok Akpan Luke is the only aspirant in Akwa Ibom State, who has clearly demonstrated capacity, experience and ability to execute the demands of the office of the governor. He is the only aspirant, who has shown and demonstrated capacity to execute the content of his blueprint and we are pulling our full weight behind him.”
The youth group urged every young person in Akwa Ibom State to look beyond immediate gains as whatever decision they take now will stay with them for the next eight years and it is going to affect generations yet unborn. “This is not a gathering of senseless people rather it is a gathering of forward thinking upwardly Akwa Ibom youths and we are here to make history.
So, let us rise up and stand together as young people of Akwa Ibom State to choose a man after our heart, let us rise up and stand together to reject imposition of a foreign candidate against the will of the people, let us rise up and stand against the will of a few who are after their personal interest,” the group said. The youths, who maintained that they should have a say on who should be their next governor, further stated: “The stakeholders have given us direction and have told us that it is possible to anoint and adopt a candidate. As young people, we feel it is also possible to anoint and adopt our own candidate.”
The youths spelt out the basis on which they preferred Luke over Governor Emmanuel’s choice and other aspirants, saying: “We need someone with a proven track record of selfless services, someone with a proven track of dedication and commitment, someone with a proven track of selflessness in Akwa Ibom State. “We need someone who has grown through the ranks, someone who has shared our passion, someone who knows what it means and what it feels to be a young person in Nigeria to struggle and go through the ranks to become somebody.
We need someone who will give the young people of Akwa Ibom State a level playing field because our goal is to have Akwa Ibom State where the son of a nobody will become somebody without knowing anyone. “We need someone with experience, not just experience in governance but experience in public service. We need someone with experience that reaches out to the daily experience of the young people on the streets of Akwa Ibom State, experience that can resonate with what we are facing on a daily basis. We need someone we can call our own; we need someone we can identify with. We are tired of elitist form of governance.”