Governor Godswill Akpabio of Akwa Ibom State has urged the people of Eket Senatorial District to shop for a credible governorship candidate to take over the reins of governance from him in 2015.
This is however, in contrast to earlier claims that the governor had anointed the Secretary to state Government, Udom Emmanuel, as his successor.
Akpabio who made the call Sunday during a thanksgiving service for Emmanuel at Qua Iboe Church, Awa-Iman in Onna Local Government Area, however, assured Akwa Ibom people that their votes would count in 2015 elections as the elections will be one-man one-vote.
“There will be no rigging in 2015. The people’s votes will count. If I were a politician and I heard the people of Akwa Ibom State unanimously declared that they are going to Eket Senatorial District, I would have known that I can’t win election where I am not popular”, he pointed out.
The governor, who used the occasion to refute alleged rift between his administration and the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) in the State, explained that he was of the same opinion with CAN President, Bishop Cletus Bassey at the State Solemn Assembly that Akwa Ibom State is one united Ibibio tribe, but the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria has divided the state into three Senatorial Districts, advocating equitable power shift among the three districts.
He congratulated Emmanuel, who is also a Deacon of the Qua Iboe Church for reverencing God for His faithfulness and for imbibing the attitude of thanksgiving.
According to the governor, “God has accepted this thanksgiving. This is what I like all Akwa Ibom Children to emulate. You have to imbibe the spirit of always coming back to thank God.
“When I came in as Governor in 2007, I came like this to thank God and the little I knew about governance, because as a neophyte, I did not know much about governance, God stood by me and gave me direction which has led to what is generally referred to as uncommon transformation.
“I started trying to do small tarred roads. I brought in companies that could work in bringing about sustainable development. So, the little I knew which was to work with first-class and five-star construction companies, God tapped me on the shoulder when I called on Him in thanksgiving and said ‘continue I am with you’ and the result in six and half years later is what we come to know as uncommon transformation”.
Earlier, the Secretary to the State Government, Deacon Emmanuel had explained that the occasion availed him the opportunity of thanking God for His faithfulness to his life, promotion, family and parents, thanking his family for their prayers and support to him and his parents for training and disciplining him to get to where he is at the moment as well as the Qua Iboe Church for teaching him the ways of God and standing on the doctrine of truth at all times.
Emmanuel averred that “I stand on this altar to say Father silver and gold have I not Lord, but just as David did- the Bible says that David went to the Lord and said who am I and what is in my house that thou has brought me this far and yet this was a small thing in thy sight.
“Today, God has been magnified, His name has been glorified. I thank God for Governor Godswill Obot Akpabio for what he is doing in my family. I thank him for listening to God and doing only God’s will. Today, I stand in awe and say God will bless him and his family”.
He described Governor Akpabio as a go-getter and advised him not to be distracted by envious criticisms, noting “We have found in you a treasure that many that are far can’t find. For today’s thanksgiving, God does not choose who qualifies but God qualifies those He chooses.
“You have played that role today. You never choose those that qualify but you qualify those that you choose. That is why I am here to give thanks to God that you qualified me as a Secretary to the State Government. You did not choose me because I qualify but you qualified me and then chose me”.
The Secretary of Qua Iboe Church, Awa-Iman, Elder Clinton Akpan, who thanked Governor Akpabio for developing the state and partnering the church, said his administration has brought peace and prosperity to the people through various Christian programmes in the state, praying God to be with him throughout his administration.