The leaders of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Akwa Ibom State have urged Nsima Ekere, the Managing Director, Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), to contest for the 2019 governorship election in the state.
The APC leaders, led by Don Etiebet, a former minister of petroleum, during a rally on Tuesday in Eket presented Ekere with the party governorship form which he said was bought by him (Etiebet) and other leaders of the party in the state.
The rally was organised by the APC in Eket senatorial district to show solidarity with President Muhammadu Buhari’s ambition to run for a second term in office. It was also to officially receive Ekere by the party in the district.
The party leaders who witnessed the presentation of the form to Ekere were Godswill Akpabio, a senator; Umana Umana, the Managing Director, Oil and Gas Free Zones Authority; and Nelson Effiong, a senator.
“All of us from the three senatorial districts in Akwa Ibom state bought the form for Nsima Ekere, and we are asking him to run for governor in 2019,” said Etiebet who is the chairman of the APC caucus in the state.
Akpabio, a former governor of the state, said his senatorial district, Akwa Ibom North West, has already endorsed Ekere for governor.
Ekere, while receiving the form, said he was surprised by the decision of the party leaders.
“I was told that this was going to be a reception, I am surprised that the elders of the party ambushed me,” he said.
He thanked the party leaders and the people of the Eket Senatorial District for the “love” they have shown him.
The NDDC chief attacked Governor Udom Emmanuel, who is running for a second term in office under the platform of his party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
He told the crowd at the rally, “When they want to run, get them to run on the basis of performance. We are here in this primary school because the (Eket) stadium has been under renovation. Do you need three years to renovate a stadium?”
The Akwa Ibom state government is currently renovating the mini-stadium in Eket.
“Here in Eket, there is no road, except the NDDC roads. This governor must stop deceiving Akwa Ibom people.
“Weep no more. Go and get your PVC. That’s your power, that’s your strength,” Ekere said.
Ekere said he would stay for only one term in office as governor if elected.
Eme Ekaette, a former senator and wife of a former secretary to the Government of the Federation, Ufot Ekaette, spoke at the rally.
Ekaette, who is from Onna, where Governor Emmanuel comes from, formally announced her defection from the PDP to the APC.
The former deputy governor of the state, Valerie Ebe, also formally announced her defection from the PDP to the APC.