Deacon Udom Emmanuel: Equipped for Higher Responsibilities by Kingsley Edoh

Deacon Udom Emmanuel: Equipped for Higher Responsibilities by Kingsley Edoh

Editor's note: Public affairs commentator, Kingsley Udoh, in this piece, advocates for the nomination of Governor Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom state as the running mate of PDP presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, ahead of the 2023 presidential election.

It is barely one year before the eight-year tenure of Governor Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom state comes to an end. Like his counterparts in other states and, indeed, the president of the country who assumed office on May 29, 2015, the governor will be expected to hand the mantle of leadership to a successor on May 29, 2023.

Atiku and Udom Emmanuel
Kingsley Edoh stated that Deacon Udom Emmanuel should be the right choice for the running mate of Atiku Abubakar. Photo credit: Akwa Ibom state government
Source: Facebook

In the last seven years, the former banker has acquitted himself so creditably that he has left no one in doubt of the fact that he came fully equipped and prepared for the task of harnessing the enormous human and material resources Akwa Ibom is endowed with to build a state that can guarantee sustainable development for its people, including generations yet unborn. The thinking in many quarters is that having proven his mettle as a state governor with strings of landmark achievements to show, he has garnered the requisite experience and is equipped for whatever higher calling that may beckon him.

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Udom assumed office not as one of those that are generally regarded as professional politicians, or as a public officer stuck with a civil service mentality and is therefore comfortable with the status quo, but as a sterling private sector player who understands that a thriving economy is a bedrock for development. A private sector player of several decades, who brought fresh air, a new way of thinking, and a new mindset of a driven economy in governance. He came determined to change the narrative of Akwa Ibom from a backward, civil service state that existed only at the mercy of the federal government through the monthly allocation handouts by Abuja, despite its enviable position as the largest oil-bearing state and highest contributor to the national purse.

Udom outlined his vision for a state that would be an industrial hub not just in Nigeria, but in the West African sub-region as well. In full recognition of the fact that investments cannot thrive in an insecure environment, the governor went about the task of restoring peace in Akwa Ibom through a stick and carrot approach. He outlawed all forms of criminality by getting the state house of assembly to enact laws that recommend stiff penalties for offenders and granted amnesty to cultists and criminals who laid down their arms. The result was a level of peace the state had not witnessed in a long time.

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The governor put in place attractive policies that combined with the newfound peace to create a conducive environment for investments to thrive. And to prove that the friendly investment climate his administration had created was not a fluke, he established more than 14 functional industries within the first three years of his administration – an unequaled record in the country.

There is a school of thought that believes Governor Emmanuel still has a lot to offer, especially at the national level, having served to the best of his ability at the state level where he is leaving his footprints in the sands of time. This apparently informed the governor’s decision to throw his hat into the ring to take an aim at the presidential ticket of the Peoples Democratic Party of which he is a member. Many believe his entry into the presidential race was based on his conviction that he has what it takes to run the country.

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His efforts at turning Akwa Ibom into an investment destination, which has yielded fruits in the number of industries that are currently operating in the state, have established him as an investment driver. That would probably be his area of priority if he had the opportunity to support running the country. The governor said this much during his consultations before the primary election, during which he was able to showcase his achievements in Akwa Ibom. However, failing in the bid to become the country’s president has not foreclosed his chances of being fully involved in the country’s economic development process. Many believe he can be useful in that area if offered the opportunity to serve as the country’s vice president, a position that requires someone with a good grasp of the economy. This is because the occupier of that office is expected to perform oversight functions on the government’s economic policies.

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Jide Adesida, an economist and investment analyst said:

“Governor Udom has demonstrated his deep knowledge, understanding, and preference for a private sector-driven economy, which is the direction Nigeria should be moving now as we go forward if we are to come out of the economic quagmire we have remained in for a long time now.
“The present government has failed in all indices, most especially on the issues that directly touch the lives of Nigerians, like job creation, high cost of living, a near situation of food crisis induced by the fact that farmlands have become unsafe for farmers because of the high incidence of kidnappings and killings.”

Observers believe that the choice of a running mate to the PDP presidential candidates will help in determining the party’s chances in the 2023 presidential election.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of

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