By Itoro Bassey
Some notable political leaders in Ikono local government area including the sitting council chairman, Nyakno Okoibu; his predecessor, Itoro Columba; a former National Assembly member, Senator Aloysius Etok, and the member representing Ikono in the state house of assembly, Asuquo Nana Udo, say they are in support of any “future political position” pursued by Dr. Glory Edet, Commissioner for Agriculture and Dean of the College of Commissioners in Akwa Ibom State.
They made the pledge at Ibiaku Ntok Okpo, headquarters of Ikono local government area, on Wednesday, when Dr. Edet led political leaders from Ini local government area on a condolence visit to the family of late Edidem Nyong Udo Obop, Paramount Ruler of Ikono who joined his ancestors recently.
Dr. Glory Edet, it was gathered, has been hinting at a desire to contest for the Ikono/Ini federal constituency seat in 2023, and she will be enjoying the backing of Governor Udom Emmanuel whom she has worked with since 2015 when the later became governor of Akwa Ibom State. Edet also served as Commissioner in the administration of former Governor Godswill Akpabio.
Although Dr. Edet is yet to formally declare her intention, Mr Columba especially urged her not to be deterred by “certain distractions” she would face, saying that they would mobilise Ikono people on her behalf.
The Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Mr Frank Archibong, who led top-flight traditional rulers in the state to the occasion, described Dr. Edet as a “unifying factor” as far as Ikono/Ini federal constituency was concerned.
But sensing that the occasion would turn into a political meeting of some sort, Mr Archibong immediately called on the Ikono stalwarts to put politics aside for the time being and allow the the burial obsequies of the late Edidem Obop to progress smoothly.
However, some political players from Ini local government area who accompanied Commissioner Glory Edet the the occasion said the purported political grassroots structure owned by her in Ini have been grossly overestimated.
One of them who spoke with this reporter on condition of anonymity expressed certainty that Governor Emmanuel would “give Mma the ticket”, but added that she would face stiff opposition during the primary election.
“Mma does not have the clout to pull the strings. She’s just spending her money, her grassroot support is not strong. If you ask her now, for instance, to cross one of the bridges to certain interior communities in Ini for her campaign, she won’t go. She doesn’t have that ability.
“No doubt, Governor Udom Emmanuel will give Mma the ticket. When this happens, some top political office holders in the federal constituency who are also eyeing the same seat will cause chaos during the primary and gang up against her. They’re going to support a candidate from the opposition party to frustrate her chances, as well as the governor’s plan”, he said.
Recently, Mr. Emmanuel Ukpong-Udo, the current member representing Ikono/Ini federal constituency in the National Assembly, came under fire from the people of Ini following his recent comment on social media that he would prefer his successor to emerge from the Odoro-Ikono bloc, an area which is not that of Dr. Glory Edet in Ini local government area.
But an elder statesman and key player of Ini politics, Obong Bassey Inuaeyen, reportedly warned Mr. Ukpong-Udo to stop interfering in Ini’s affairs, especially on the issue of the 2023 Ikono/Ini federal seat.
Inuaeyen had, while reacting to an inquiry from a correspondent, explained that the people of Ini local government area were capable of speaking for themselves and would not be bothered about Ukpong-Udo’s opinion.
During the condolence visit to the late Edidem Obop’s palace, the Ikono leaders, who described Dr. Glory Edet as a “good woman” praised her for “all the good things she has done for Ikono”, and for supporting them in the burial programme of their king.
Dr. Edet donated a packet full of an undisclosed amount of money, assorted drinks and one live cow to be used in the burial ceremonies of the late Edidem Obop. The deceased monarch was aged 91 years. His remains will be interred on Friday (today) at his country home in Ibiaku Ntok Okpo, Ikono.