By Olajide Meseko
Governor Udom Emmanuel has disclosed the person he wants to succeed him as Akwa Ibom governor in 2023.
He is Umo Eno, a cleric and the current Commissioner for Lands and Water Resources in the state. Emmanuel was said to have presented Eno to a select group of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) chieftains, Sunday evening, at the Government House, Uyo.
Among those who were present in the meeting was a House of Representatives member who has over the years indicated his interest to run for the 2023 governorship election in the state.
Governor Emmanuel did not allow the lawmaker to speak at the meeting, a source said.
“Before he left the meeting, he made it clear to them that he would rather contest and fail at the party (PDP) primary than abandon his ambition and step down for anyone,” the source said.
Spokesperson to Governor Emmanuel, Ekerete Udoh, confirmed the development to PREMIUM TIMES.
“Yes, completely truthfully, correct. Governor Udom Emmanuel this evening at the PDP stakeholders meeting that took place at the lodge, Government House, presented Umo Eno, a pastor, as his preferred candidate to succeed him.
“He was thereafter presented to the PDP stakeholders that were present led by former governor, Victor Attah, and it was widely received.
“So, I want to confirm that that is true,” Udoh said, Sunday evening.
The aspirant, Eno, who is relatively unknown in Akwa Ibom politics, was appointed commissioner in January 2021. Before then, he was preoccupied with his hospitality business – running a hotel in Eket and doing food supplies to Mobil Producing Nigeria Unlimited.
Eno was in the spotlight a few days ago when Vanguard newspaper ran a story about him boasting that Emmanuel would soon declare him as his preferred choice.
Eno’s ambition is bound to encounter some stiff resistance within Governor Emmanuel’s cabinet and the PDP in Akwa Ibom, going by the quiet comments and moves within the party and government circles.