House of Representatives Judiciary Committee Chairman Onofiok Luke has formally declared his intention to vie for the position of the Governor of Akwa Ibom State in 2023.
Luke, a Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) chieftain, unveiled his aspiration on March 16 in Uyo on the occasion of his 44th birthday.
The former speaker of the state’s House of Assembly and ex-University of Uyo Students’ Union President rested his campaign policy direction on nine pillars.
They are food sufficiency and agricultural development, education, healthcare, technology development, entrepreneurial and Industrial development, tourism, sports and entertainment, youth, women and social inclusion, security, environment and infrastructure and good governance and administration.
Luke’s declaration sets him on a collision course with Governor Udom Emmanuel, who has endorsed Umo Eno as his preferred successor.
Emmanuel and other Akwa Ibom State officials were absent at the Ibom Hall venue as Luke unveiled his manifesto before thousands of his supporters.
But, the lawmaker declared his intention to rely on the support of God, his fellow Akwa Ibomites, residents, friends and well-wishers to not only pick the party’s ticket, but also to win the election, adding that this followed the positive feedback he received after sustained consultations with political stakeholders, women and youth groups, community leaders within and outside the state.
“I invited you to this sacred ground to formally and officially inform you that I will be participating in the 2023 general election vying for the position of the Governor of our beloved State, and I hope to win with your support through the Amazing Grace of God,” Luke said.
He added: “I represent the bridge between the past, the present and future, I represent the young and the old, the analogue and the digital generation, the rich and the poor, the haves and the have-nots. This gives me a unique perspective on issues that cut across the various strata of our society.
The lawyer pledged to reposition Akwa Ibom as an economic powerhouse.
Luke said: “I intend to use my wealth of experience as a public sector administrator, a lawyer, and an advocate of good governance to serve this state by bringing government closer to the people for socio-economic development, and to reposition Akwa Ibom State for greater prosperity under the theme of Building Together, Growing Together.
“My objective is to rally the abundant human resources towards building a vibrant and diverse economy in Akwa Ibom State, while leveraging our infrastructural development and active youthful population to create jobs and provide visionary and selfless leadership to consolidate on the gains of past and present administrations.”
He further pledged to also continue building upon the achievements of previous and present administrations, “add our own initiatives, all aimed at positioning us for a broad-based prosperity.”
Luke is from the same Local Government Area with Eno as well as Senator Effiong Bob and Mr Udom Inoyo, who had earlier indicated an interest in the office. While Bob publicly withdrew from the race and was crowned the political leader of Uyo Senatorial District, Mr Inoyo, the immediate past Executive Vice President of ExxonMobil, quietly pulled back.
Aspirants are yet to emerge from the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC).
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