AKHA 2023: WHO IS COMING?
The number of aspirants vying for the 26 seats in the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly keep increasing by the day as preparations are on top gear for 2023 elections.
The many faces running for these 26 seats across the 31 Local Government Areas of the State will either have to battle with incumbent Lawmakers of these areas who are vying for a second term or more; or outsmart other contestants in the race to emerge in areas without a sitting member seeking for another term.
Currently, about 14 Lawmakers have done their two terms in the State Assembly and may not indicate further interest to contest for State Assembly due to certain political arrangements in their respective localities. These include; Uruan, Ibesikpo, Etinan, Nsit Atai, Ikot Abasi/Eastern Obolo, Okobo, Oron/Udunguko, Orukanam, Ibeno/Esit Eket, Eket, Uruefong/Oruko, Ini, ONNA, and Ikot Ekpene/Obot Akara.
But there is a speculation that the current Ibeno Esit Eket Lawmaker, Rt. Hon. Usoro Akpanusoh is seeking for a third term in the 8th Assembly.
Current Lawmakers who have done their first term and may be seeking for a second term include; Hon. Godwin Ekpo (Ibiono); Hon Asuquo Nana (Ikono); Hon Otobong Bob (Nsit Ubium); Hon Ifiok Udoh (Nsit Ibom); Hon Charity Ido (Ukanafun); Hon Victor Ekwere (Mkpat Enin); Hon Effiong Johnson (Mbo); Hon Mfon Idung (Etim Ekpo/Ika); Hon Esse Umoh (Essien Udim); Hon. Udeme Otong (Abak); and Hon Kufreabasi Edidem (Itu).
The current Lawmaker for Uyo, Hon Anietie Eka is said not to be interested in a second term.
In 2023 for UYO STATE CONSTITUENCY, the likes of Elder Ndanti Ekuh from Ikono clan in Uyo LGA, a media practitioner and current SA to the Governor for Research and Documentation said he is in the race to give the people of Uyo a robust and effective representation befitting of a State Capital. Others contesting from the area too are; Ubong Ubong Benjamin, Etiene Ukpong, Idongesit Imo and Aniedi Isong. Sources from the area said zoning favours Elder Ndanti Ekuh and Ubong Ubong Benjamin who are from Ikono clan in Uyo LGA.
In NSIT ATAI STATE CONSTITUENCY, three aspirants are prominent including the sitting Chairperson of the LG, Hon. Emem Ibanga. But micro zoning in the area seem to favour two aspirants, Prince Aniefiok Attah and Mr. Ndu Davis who are from Ibedu group of villages leaving the incumbent Chairperson who is from Ndisiak in Afaha clan. But other political calculators in the area said that Akwa Ibom Law 2000 validates zoning to favour Ndisiak as one of the two additional clans created in Nsit Atai LGA making five clans.
This political faction argues that out of the five clans created in the State Law 2000, only Ndisiak clan has not tested the State Assembly seat. Essien Itiaba Clan had their share through Rt. Hon Emmanuel Ekpenyong; Ibedu Clan had thiers through Obong Asuquo Darby; Afaha Clan had their own through the representation of Hon. Sarah Elijah while Ibiaikot Clan has theirs through the incumbent who is concluding the second term ever in the area, Rt. Hon Mark Esset.
In another view, Nsit Atai politicians say that there are only three recognisable group of villages in the area which are; Afaha, Ibiaikot and Ibedu, which political seats rotates. They said it is the turn of Ibedu because Ndisiak which is under Afaha Clan had their turn through Hon. Sarah Elijah. They added that after Ibiaikot Clan which is currently taking their turn in the State Assembly, it will be Ibedu Clan before Afaha and it continues so.
ABAK has it State Assembly seat zoned to Abak Urban bloc which the incumbent Lawmaker, Hon. Udeme Otong is from and is seeking a second term. Another aspirant from Abak Urban bloc is Mma Ekemini Umoh while Mr. Monday Dan from Eastern Annang bloc is unfavoured by micro-zoning in the area. Eastern Annang bloc had their fair share through the two term representation of Rt. Hon. Friday Iwok which is why political gladiators in the area stand for fairness and encouraged Abak Urban aspirants in the 2023 race.
URUAN in 2023 will have a representative in the likes of any of the following; Hon Desmond Etim, Dr. Itorobong Francis Etim, Mr. Emmanuel Nicholas alias Whyte Bom Bom and Jude Effiong. However, the State Assembly seat is zoned to Central Uruan and any of these aspirants who are from the area will emerge the voice for Uruan people.
In IBIONO IBOM, the incumbent lawmaker, Hon. Godwin Ekpo who is from Ward 10, Ibiono Ibom Central is interested for a second term. Also, SA to Governor on Project Monitoring, Mr. Moses Essien from Ward 9, still in Ibiono Ibom Central is vying for the same State House of Assembly seat. Political stakeholders in the area opined that Lawmakers are often given the leverage of two-terms to solidify democratic gains initiated by each representative per time in the area. So, they support the second term quest of the incumbent.
The ORUKANAM seat is zoned to Ibesit-Akparakwa for the political reason that since the creation of the Local Government nearly 30 years, the zone has never tasted leadership in the State Assembly. Ndot-Ikot Okoro zone is said to have produced representatives in the persons of Sunday Okoko and Iboro Udom and can’t afford to aspire for the office in 2023. Meanwhile, Mr. Sampson Idiong who is Governor’s in-law from Ndot-Ikot Okoro is vying for the State Assembly seat. Others vying for State Assembly seat from the area are from Ibesit Ekparakwa axis and they are; Mr. Nsidibe Essien and Mr. Akpabong Udoekpo.
ITU has the incumbent member, Hon. Kufreabasi Edidem indicating interest for a second term while another aspirant from Oku-Iboko axis, Engr Bobby Ekanem also vying for the seat. Political pundits in the area say it is Oku-Iboko turn to produce House of Assembly member as West-Itam has gotten its share with a four-year term by the former Lawmaker, Hon. Idongesit Ituen plus another four years with the incumbent still from the axis, completing their two-terms.
ESSIEN UDIM which is divided into two blocs; Udim and Essien blocs, has the incumbent Lawmaker, Hon Esse Umoh from Udim bloc. Other aspirants from the area include; Prince Ukpong Akapbio still from Udim bloc and Barr Imowo Okpokpo who is from Essien Annang bloc. Another aspirant from the area is Unwana Ibekwe. Political calculation in the area shows that zoning favours Essien Annang bloc.
For ETINAN, there are; Barr Paul Judge, Mr. Udo Jonathan Ekwere, Mr Pius Emmanuel John, Idongesit Arthur, Ebong Essien and others who are all from Southern Iman which zoning favours. No aspirant is from Northern Iman as the current representative of the area is from Northern Iman.
In ONNA, zoning is said to favour Nung Ndem Clan as the incumbent is from Awa Clan. Meanwhile, Barr Akwaowo Ikot, Sammy Umofia, Udo Ituen are said to be from Nung Ndem Clan. Others who are from Awa axis (according to political stakeholders in the area) have linkages to the Governor and intentions is to scuttle the zoning arrangement in the area. They include; Aniekan William, Etini Paul and Imoh Eka.
IBESIKPO has Pastor Nnamso Lyons, Lady Andino Robson, Iniobong Ekpenyong, Itoro Umoh, Ubong Mkpong, Tony Usenekong, Idong Ukpong, and Imo Attah and are all from Asutan ward 1, where the seat is zoned to.
All the aspirants in respective State Constituencies may not be captured in the list here as the number keeps increasing by the day and the queue gets longer.