The Managing Director of Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Mr.
Nsima Ekere, has been endorsed by the people of the five local government
areas making up the former Abak Division to contest the 2019 gubernatorial
election in Akwa Ibom State.

The endorsement came during a mega rally organized to honour Ekere by the
Abak 5 Redemption Movement at Government Technical College, Abak, on
Friday, which attracted an unprecedented crowd.

In a motion moved by the Member representing Ukanafun/Oruk Anam Federal
Constituency in the House of Representatives, Obongunwana Emmanuel Ukoete,
seconded by the former Member representing Abak/Etim Ekpo/Ika Federal
Constituency, Obongemem Ekperikpe Ekpo, and unanimously carried, the people
resolved to call on Ekere to throw his hat into the ring for the
governorship contest.

In his response, the NDDC boss expressed appreciation to the Abak 5 people
for what he called their show of love and confidence and promised to react
to their call at the appropriate time.

“This call by Abak 5, I have taken note of and I will consider it very
seriously at the appropriate time,” he said. “Today, I am still the
Managing Director of NDDC. I have work to do for the Niger Delta and Akwa
Ibom State. The President graciously gave us this job. We are committed to
delivering on it. When the time for election and politics comes, I will
come back and remind you of this resolution you passed today and I will ask
you whether this resolution still stands.”

Ekere, in turn, seized the opportunity to move a motion for the endorsement
of President Muhammadu Buhari for a second term, stressing that the
President had demonstrated uncommon love for Akwa Ibom State, particularly
in terms of appointments.

He commended Buhari for the enormous support to the NDDC, especially his
approval for the harmonization of outstanding remittances from the Federal
Ministry of Finance and release of outstanding funds due the commission for
the development of the Niger Delta region.

Ekere decried the disruption of NDDC projects by agents of the State
Government, reasoning that it was counter-productive because “the money
NDDC is using to develop Akwa Ibom State is our own share of money for the
development of the Niger Delta.”

The NDDC boss promised that the commission will continue to seek ways of
constructive engagement with all governments in the region “so that we can
bring development to all nooks and crannies of the Niger Delta.”

He urged the people of Akwa Ibom State to vote for the All Progressives’
Congress (APC) to end “bad governance” in the state.

The Akwa Ibom State APC Caucus Chairman, Atuekong Don Etiebet, who chaired
the occasion, said the people of Abak 5 had resolved to purchase the APC
governorship nomination form for Ekere because he had done well for them.

“He is not yet Governor but he has already intervened in the problems of
Abak 5,” he said.

The Managing Director of Oil and Gas Free Zones Authority, Mr. Umana Umana,
announced that long before the Abak 5 people, the people of Akwa Ibom
North-East Senatorial District had resolved to purchase the APC
governorship nomination form for Ekere because of his outstanding
performance at the NDDC.

“We have come here to support and show solidarity with the people of Abak 5
who have taken the right decision to honour Obong Nsima Ekere for his
outstanding performance as the Managing Director of NDDC,”‘ he said. “We
have come here to say that this honour is well-deserved. You cannot hide
performance…So this is somebody who performs. That is why we have come

He stated further: “And I know his ideas about Akwa Ibom State. His
programmes for Akwa Ibom State will not be about promises and
groundbreaking. There is nothing as traumatic as somebody will come and
break your grounds and after two years the site will be overgrown with
weeds. We are here to align with the people of Abak 5 that things cannot
continue like this in Abak 5. And we have a capable hand who will make our
party proud. Has he not made our party proud? We thank the President who
found him worthy. Our brother, you have done well and the reward for hard
work is more hard work. We are very happy with you.”

Umana dismissed newspaper reports of rift between him and Ekere, saying,
“Those who continue to write in papers that Nsima and Umana are fighting,
tell them that there is no fight. We are one. Our party is one and united.”

A former Minister of Women Affairs, Obong Rita Akpan, said she was
overwhelmed by the sheer size of the crowd: “People talk about sea of heads
but this is an ocean of heads. I have never seen this kind of crowd before.
Abak 5, you are a trail blazer.”

She canvassed for a female Deputy Governor or 50 per cent cabinet positions
for women in the incoming APC government.

A former Special Assistant to Governor Udom Emmanuel on Electoral Matters,
Barr. Chris Okorie, who chaired the event planning committee, explained
that the reception was organized to appreciate Ekere for “standing by us to
rebuild the bridge that has brought change to Abak 5 and indeed the entire

He enumerated NDDC projects facilitated by Ekere in the five local
government areas to include construction of Hospital Road, Abak, and
adjourning Obot Street, construction of Spring Road, Abak, and Mercantile
Bank Road in Ekparakwa, Oruk Anam and renovation of school buildings in 20
schools, expressing delight that all those projects were executed by
indigenous contractors.

“He epitomizes the saying that a good friend is better than a bad brother,
son or son-in-law,” Okorie said.

A former Deputy Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Mr. Uwem Udoma,
described Ekere as the real deal for Abak 5, assuring him of the support of
the people of the area.

He attributed the clement weather that characterised the day to divine

Others who delivered goodwill messages at the event were a former State
Chairman of Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP), Arc. Otu Ita-Toyo, a former
PDP State Women Leader, Lady Victoria Mel-Udoh, a former Deputy Majority
Whip of the State House of Assembly, Obonganwan Mabel Udongwo, a former
Commissioner for Commerce and Industry, Dr. Emem Wills, a representative of
the APC in Diaspora, Dr. Abasiubong Udofia, and a computer mogul, Mr.
Inibehe Otoho.

At the occasion, Ekere was presented with a symbolic sword of authority and
a native cow by the people of Abak 5.

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