Iniobong Ekponta, Uyo
After eight years of reign, the mantle of leadership changed hands yesterday in Akwa Ibom State, as the out gone Governor, Chief Godswill Akpabio bade goodbye to the State he had ruled as the third democratically elected Governor since 2007.
His emotion-laden speech evoked memories of his achievements which he implored his successor, Udom Gabriel Emmanuel, to consolidate for the State sustain the uncommon legacies of his era.
Akpabio said he was leaving the State with the right framework for Udom, to take it to loftier heights and urged the people rally round him in the task of sustainable development of Akwa Ibom.
Besides, Akpabio solicited the cooperation of the opposition to sheathe their swords and work with his successor, saying wrong advise would only mislead the train of government that Udom is piloting.
Also, he admonished the opposition not to gag his successor, warning that such confrontational postures would only force Udom to also step on their toes as was the case during his era.
Udom and his Deputy, Obong Moses Ekpo, who were separately sworn-in by the acting Chief Judge of the State, Justice Stephen Okon, was quick to extend his hands of fellowship to the opposition, saying, “come, let us work together”.
While pledging to religiously implement his pre-elections promises including fixing the economy, industrialization, job creation, human capital development, education and healthcare services, the former Secretary to the State Government (SSG), noted that such programmes could only be attained when unity, peace and harmony prevail.
‘No rival can overtake us if we work in unity”, Udom noted, stressing that he was on a mission with a large heart and space to accommodate everyone with complimentary ideas to further develop the State.
He thanked Akpabio for laying the framework for the development of the State and his supporters for standing by him through the thick and thin to weather the storm during the elections periods.
During his time, more federal projects would be attracted to the State as he plans to work harmoniously with the All Progressives Congress (APC) – led government at the centre.