These are just 10 of the numerous powerful politicians in Akwa Ibom State:
Akwa Ibom is blessed, not only for her natural resources but also with human and capacity development. Among its multifaceted resources are political gladiators who have turned the state into political battle field and theatre. We bring you just 10 of them based on the power they wield currently.
Senator Godswil Obot Akpabio is the Minister for Niger Delta Affairs, former two-time Governor of Akwa Ibom State and former Senate Minority Leader. Senator Akpabio has maintained a steady rise in his political career in the past 18 years. As a politician, he has paid his dues. He is a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Barely, five years after he left office as governor, Senator Akpabio remains one of the most influential, famous, popular, admired and powerful politicians in Akwa Ibom State, the South South/Niger Delta region and Nigeria in general. He is a five-star politician whose legacies in office as a governor continue to speak volumes everywhere, he goes.
Today, Senator Akpabio is arguably the most talked-about politician in Nigeria. He has been touted as an emerging lion of the Niger Delta for remaining firm and resolute in his quest to sanitise the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), a commission engulfed in series allegations of corruption. He has withstood fire and brimstone and should he succeeds in repositioning the NDDC, the former Senate Minority would write his name in gold in the history of the region.
Like the Jagaban of Lagos, Senator Akpabio has earned himself the accolade of a GREAT TEACHER for grooming several young politicians and bringing them to political limelight, with many of them excelling in their political career. Though the former governor is now in the opposition party (APC) at the state level, he still has one of the largest political structures and loyalty bases across the state, making him one of the powerful politicians in Akwa Ibom State.
Senator Akpabio is said to a charismatic leader and a man after the people’s heart. Many say Akpabio drew his strength not only from his benevolence and philanthropic gestures but also from his life-touching programmes and policies while in office as governor and senator of the federal republic of Nigeria.
Some of Akpabio’s legacies’ and signature projects include but not limited to the first class governor’s Lodge Complex/Government House Banquet Hall, world class 30,000 capacity Godswill Akpabio International Stadium, Ultra-Modern Ibom E-Library, remodeled Ikot Ekpene City Centre,Ultra-Modern Ibom Specialist Hospital, concentric flyovers, 12-storey four points by Sheraton Hotel, interim terminal at Victor Attah International Air Port, Ibom Tropicana Complex, introduction of free and compulsory education, Akwa Ibom Christmas Carol, Federal Correctional Facility and many roads (Federal and State) constructions across the state.
Nicknamed the Uncommon Transformer, Akpabio also empowered a lot of young people and brought them to political limelight. Today, most of them are in high positions of leadership in the country.
As a Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Akpabio still remains undaunted and undeterred even as he is currently facing serious challenges, accusations and counter-accusation while carrying out President Buhari’s directives to sanitize the Niger Delta Development Commission through the Forensic Audit ordered on the operations of the interventionist agency and also reposition the commission to deliver on its mandate for the benefit of the people of the Region.
Senator Akpabio’s resolute amid the crisis rocking both the forensic audit and the National Assembly Probe of the NDDC and enormous courage and strength he demonstrated in fighting for the people of Niger Delta, according to commentators, has earned him high rating as one of the powerful politicians in Akwa Ibom State and beyond.
2. Obong (Arc) Victor Bassey Attah
Architect Obong Victor Attah was the Governor of Akwa Ibom State from 1999 to 2007.ObongAttah may not occupy any political office now in the state or federal levels but he remains a force to reckon with as far as politics and the development of Akwa Ibom State and Niger Delta is concern.
The IbesikpoA born politician is known as the “champion of resource control” because of his role in championing true federalism where the unit government (state) is allowed to control their natural resources. He was at the forefront of the struggle for the Niger Delta region to, at least, have a fair share of what is being produced.
The former governor has earned the reputation in the South South region as an ardent crusader of the resources control project, he has displayed about the most radical of attitudes on the issue among the South South governors then on this very controversial matter.The Architect turned politician has traversed the political terrain for selfless reason going beyond the welfare of the citizens of Akwa Ibom as a governor to that of the South South people especially with regard to the resources control issue. This has made him one of the powerful politicians in Akwa Ibom State and Nigeria in general.
Apart from being the advocate of resource control, ObongAttah is the most respected, detribalised, sincere politician and an icon of unity in the Akwa Ibom State. He won the hearts of the people when he ensured that power revolves round the three senatorial districts of the state. As an Ibibio man in Uyo Senatorial District, he stood his grounds despite pressure and political sentiments to ensure that the power rotates to Annang Nation in Ikot Ekpene Senatorial District which is the second largest political bloc in the state. This singular act has made him one of the powerful politicians in Akwa Ibom State.
Attah’s administration has achieved a whole lot such as construction of major roads in the state, construction of medium earners housing units across the 31 local government areas. He also laid foundation for Ibom International Airport now Victor Attah International Airport, Le Merridien Ibom Hotel and Gulf Resort now Ibom Hotels Limited, Ibom Power Plant at IkotAbasi, among others laudable infrastructures. ObongAttah’s administration turned the ancient village of Uyo to a city to behold. He is the architect behind the Uyo Capital City Masterplan. With this, he remains one of the powerful politicians in Akwa Ibom State.
He is highly trusted as far as Akwa Ibom State is concerned, the people do not only respect Attah for his past achievements, they have strong belief and trust in his capability and competence to handle and defend their interests whenever the need arises at any level of governance. It was his competence and intellectual capabilities that led to the people’s decision to choose him as one of the delegates to the last National Conference.
He was also made the leader of that delegation and also led the former Nigeria Governor’s Forum to the same conference. These and many made Attah the most admired leader and one of the powerful politicians in Akwa Ibom State. Because of his capacity to perform he was also selected as the Chairman of the Committee on Devolution of Powers. Attah is not only a voice in Akwa Inom and Niger Delta Region but a powerful voice in Nigeria.
3 Senator J.J. AkpanUdoedeghe:
Senator John James Akpan Udoedeghe is another illustrious son one of the powerful politicians in Akwa Ibom State. As far as politics is concern, Senator J.J. A. Udoedeghe popularly known as Senator Udoedeghe has paid his dues. He is presently the National Secretary of the All Progressive Congress (APC) Caretaker Committee. He is a powerful opposition leader in the state.
Love or hate him, Udoedeghe is a strong politician with a lion’s heart. He is one of the movers and shakers of politics of Akwa Ibom State and Nigeria in general. He is a grassroot politician. He a good grasps of the political intricacies in the state. He prides himself as a “home based” or “home grown” politician. His supporters say if there is any politician that understands the people of Akwa Ibom well, it is Senator Udoedeghe.
The name Senator Udo-edeghe is a household name in Akwa Ibom State and beyond. He is the new Sherriff in town now since his appointment as the APC national secretary in the caretaker committee. J.J Udoedeghe is a great politician and a man of the people any time any day. He is not a push over in Nigerian politics and this earned him the accolade of one of the powerful politicians in Akwa Ibom State.
Senator Udoedeghe came into politics at a very youthful age and has remained consistent and relevant politics. Arguably, he has contributed immensely to the socio-economic and political development of the state. He was elected the Chairman of Uyo Local Government Area during the military era. He contested and won election into Nigerian Senate in 1997 during the attempted returned to democratic government under General Sani Abacha.
When Nigeria returned to democracy, Senator Udoedeghe contested for Uyo Senatorial District’s seat at the National Assembly again and won the election in 1999. He was appointed the Chairman, Senate Committee on Privatization and Government’s Affairs and member of various committees in the Red Chambers of the National Assembly such as committee on Industries, Finance and Appropriation, Internal Affairs.
Udoedeghe played significance role in the emergency of Obong Victor Attah as Governor of Akwa Ibom State. He also served as the Chairman, Godswil Akpabio Campaign Committee for Akwa Ibom Governorship election 2006/2007 which saw to the emergence of Chief Godswil Akpabio as governor of the state. Senator Udoedeghe was appointed Minister of State for the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) by President Umaru Yar’Adua in 2007. He has contested for the number seat in the state for three consecutive times since 2011.
4. Udom Gabriel Emmanuel
Another industrious son of the state that makes it to the rating as one of the powerful politicians in Akwa Ibom State is Udom Emmanuel, the incumbent government of Akwa Ibom State. Governor Emmanuel is a relatively quiet, unassuming and so unpredictable gentleman. He came from the corporate world into politics as a professional in politics and has understood the game of politics faster than expected. Udom Emmanuel is a very smart politician, tactical, skillful and calculative in actions.
He is seen as many as “the giant slayer” and the emerging king of the jungle after winning almost all the elections for his party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) through the ballot and the courts. He is a highly connected politician with his tentacles spread across all states and political divides in the country. Governor Emmanuel has been a member of the national economic committee.
The banker-turned politician has brought a new dimension into politics and governance in the state through his “Dakkada” philosophy. He came with the mantra of industrialisation and has used his office as a governor and a former bank director to attract some investors to invest in the state. Like his predecessors who were known for one thing or the other while in office, Udom Emmanuel is known as Mr. Industrialisation for championing entrepreneurial renaissance in the state, a feat that throws him up as one of the powerful politicians in Akwa Ibom State.
The governor has achieved a whole lot in the state such as the construction of 21-storey building smart building, world class isolation centre and many road projects. He has also laid foundation for more industries and life-touching projects in his completion agenda.
Whoever is undermining Governor Emmanuel’s political prowess does so at his own peril, for he remains one of the powerful politicians in Akwa Ibom State
5. Senator Bassey Albert Akpan (OBA)
Senator Bassey Albert Akpan is the senator representing Akwa Ibom North-East Senatorial District and leader of Akwa Ibom National Assembly Caucus. He is the Senate Committee Chairman on Petroleum Down-stream. Oba, as he is popullarlly called by supporters and admirers, Senator Albert is a great politician and a grassroot mobiliser. He is a bigwig of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and a very loyal party man.
He has served the state as Commissioner for Finance before he resigned to seek for the number one seat in the state in 2014. As a loyal party man, Senator Akpan listened to the party and decided to drop his governorship ambition and collapsed his political structure for the incumbent governor, Mr. Udom Gabriel Emmanuel. He took up senatorial nomination form to contest for the Uyo senatorial seat at the red chambers. Since then, OBA has remained one of the influential and powerful politicians in Akwa Ibom State.
Another banker-turned politician, OBA is currently doing his second term as a Senator Representing Uyo Senatorial District. As a commissioner, he was the engine room of that administration. With his wealth of experience in the banking sector and background as an Economist, OBA was able to grow the State’s Internally Generated Revenue (IGR), to N15.6 billion as at the last quarter of 2013.
He was also the Chairman of the Inter-ministerial Direct Labour Coordinating Committee whose job was to ensure that government projects were completed using direct labour to save funds for the state. He saw through successful completion of over 6000 life-touching projects in the health and education sectors, as well as areas of rural and human capital development, a feat that makes him one of the powerful politicians in Akwa Ibom State.
Today, this distinguished son of Akwa Ibom State is one of the powerful lawmakers in Nigeria and a voice not only for Uyo Senatorial District but Akwa Ibom State and Nigeria in general. He has performed creditably well as the people’s representative with the sponsorship of several bills, motions, petitions and Senate career other matters of strategic relevance. He is a five-star lawmaker OBA will remain an influential and one of the powerful politicians in Akwa Ibom State.
6. Rt Hon. Onofiok Luke
Rt Hon. Onofiok Luke is the member representing Etinan Federal Constituency at the lower chambers of the national Assembly. He has been the Speaker of the State House of Assembly.
Luke is one of the most influential and powerful politicians in Akwa Ibom State. He started as an activist during his days as the Student Union President of the University of Uyo. His activism gained national prominence when he led a mass student protest against the obnoxious increment in school fees and other sundry charges for students of the institution by the university authorities without justification.
Onofiok believed that being a government funded institution, the arbitrary increase in fees by the University of Uyo was callous and uncalled for. Other displeased students from across Nigeria who were in solidarity with him and the University of Uyo students joined in the protest. This singular action though was not taken kindly by the university management really brought Mr Luke into limelight as a human rights activist and a young man with strong passion for selfless service to humanity.
His bravery, boldness and courage have earned him the respect and admiration of many Nigerian youths. No wonder he was nominated to the Nigerian Youth
Parliament where he was later elected as the pioneer Speaker of the 109-member Parliament after serving as Special Assistant to the Governor Godswill Akpabio’s administration for three years.
As a lawmaker, Barr. Luke brought his activism and boldness to bear in speaking for the good people of Etinan State Constituency and law-making for a better Akwa Ibom to bear in the Sixth and Seventh Assemblies. Onofiok was not a pushover lawmaker. Even before he was nominated as the speaker of the Seventh Assembly, Luke was very out-spoken as a member of the state parliament. Onofiok’s human right activism is evident in some of the motions he moved on the floor of the Akwa Ibom State House Assembly and the bills he sponsored.
At the National Assembly, the lawyer-turned politician has proven himself as a thorough-bred and well-read politician. He is one of the shining stars of the 9th National Assembly. Luke is a politician that can survive in any terrain at any time because of his goodwill with people and his readiness to fight for human rights. He has one of the largest political structures in the state. As the 2023 elections gather momentum every day, all eyes are on Onofiok Luke to aspire for higher political as one of the powerful politicians in Akwa Ibom State.
- Barr. Ini Ememobong:
Barr. Ini Ememobong is the new Commissioner for Information and immediate the past Publicity Secretary of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) in Akwa Ibom. As the image maker of the party, he had introduced various innovations into the party, making the party more of a social welfare organization than just a mere political party. His nomination and subsequent appointment by as Commissioner Akwa Ibom State Executive Council attracted commendations and goodwill, setting him up as one of the powerful politicians in Akwa Ibom State. He is a visionary and loyal party man.
The Ibiono Ibom-born politician has very strong political structures across the 31 local government areas of the state. He has empowered a lot of young people and also touched the lives of many adults and organisations through his pet-project, Ini-Ememobong Foundation. This young politician is seen by many as a gift to Akwa Ibom State and humanity because of his social disposition and passion for a better society.
Apart from his foundation, he has also empowered numerous young entrepreneurs in the state through a popular Live Radio Programme, the UMBRELLA BUSINESS QUEST sponsored by his former office, the PDP Publicity Secretary. His political strength is not from the office he occupies or his attainment in politics but his philanthropic and humanitarian gestures. His interest for human capital development and improved welfare of the people have also earned him the admiration of the people. He is the man of the people, the beacon of hope for the less privileged, a friend of the youths and a child of consolation to Akwa Ibom people in general.
Ini Ememobong is a great Orator. He has served as a member of national working group NEPAD/APRM; President, National Association of Nigerian Students, 2009–2011; Technical Assistant, Millennium Development Goals – Presidency and had served Senator Godswill Akpabio as Special Assistant in different capacities before he emerged the spokesman of the ruling party in the state, the position that contributes to his status as one of the powerful politicians in Akwa Ibom State.
This public relations executive and fellow of the Institute of Chartered Mediator and Conciliators has given so much to the state as a young man and still has a lot to offer his people who are yearning for him to step forward and aspire for higher position in the forthcoming polls in 2023.
–to be continued.