From Joe Effiong, Uyo
The former Commissioner for Economic Development and Ibom Deep Seaport, Mr Akan Okon, has said he was not shocked by Governor Udom Emmanuel’s bypassing him to appoint Mr Umo Eno, another commissioner in the cabinet, as the preferred candidate in the 2023 gubernatorial election.
Okon, who had served in more than five ministries since the days of ex-governor Godswill Akpabio, resigned last week to pursue his gubernatorial aspiration.
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Speaking in his Post-Resignation press briefing on Sunday, Okon said he was relieved that he had served the state meritoriously in the past eight years and that it was a great achievement to serve in the ministry of finance as he once did without EFCC trailing him after leaving office.
For the 2023 election, he said Akwa Ibom needs someone with experience who would understand the needs of the state.
‘My duties were a learning programme because I was like a missionary touring almost all the ministries and leaving positive marks therein.
‘So, I am contesting the 2023 governorship of Akwa Ibom State because I have the experience and I know the needs of the state. I have been trained and equipped to lead the state.
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‘There is a need for someone who has not only the experience but also the understanding of the projects and programmes going on in the state in order to be able to continue and bring them to fruition. So, I’m better equipped to continue with the projects of the present administration.’
The aspirant said the Akwa Ibom people need opportunities and environment to do their businesses and be self-sufficient and he has what it takes to provide that environment for the people to work and earn a living since he had already drawn up a 30-year development plan while serving as commissioner for economic development.
Reminded of the task of working against Governor Emmanuel’s choice, Okon said: ‘I am not swimming against the tide. God is leading me; God is with me and one with God is a majority.
‘His Excellency Gov Udom Emmanuel has been my friend for more than 40 years; so no gubernatorial aspiration can destroy a friendship that has lasted that long. I had since consulted him about my aspiration since 23rd September 2021. That date is significant in Akwa Ibom State because it is the anniversary of our state creation.’
On the zoning and micro-zoining that have caused a lot of agitation in the start since the anointing of Mr Umo Eno, Okon said though zoning is necessary to give a sense of belonging to all sections of the state, it should not the only consideration in leadership recruitment in the state, rather competence should be considered above every other condition.