* Etuk & Senator Udoedehe
The contest for the Uyo senatorial seat in 2019 is zeroing down in the All Progressives Congress (APC) with the endorsements of Obong Kufreabasi Etuk, by major stakeholders and youth groups of the party.
Etuk, who is the immediate past member who represented Uruan in state House of Assembly was endorsed for the Uyo senatorial race by Senator John AkpanUdoedehe last weekend.
“Kufre Etuk, you are the next senator for Uyo senatorial district”, Udoedehe said on Sunday when Etuk led his supporters on a visit to Udoedehe to intimate him that he has procured his expression of interest and nominations forms.
Udoedehe who is known as the champion of the opposition movement in the state said other aspirants to the office had come to him but it is only Etuk who possesses the qualities needed for the job.
“People are dropping my name that I’m supporting them. I only have one person for the senate, and that is Kufre Etuk. I have told all my supporters in Uyo senatorial district that Kufre is the man for the job.”
“Kufre is open-minded. He is fearless. He has shown that he has the interest of his people at heart. I know he will look after the people of Uyo senatorial district”, he added.
Himself a former senator, Udoedehe said the senate needs someone who can defend his people when it matters most, noting that Kufreabasi Etuk had demonstrated during his stint in the House of Assembly and in his private life that he can defend his people at all times.
Meanwhile, different youth groups in Uyo senatorial have declared support for the ambition of Mr Etuk since the former assemblyman indicated interest in the senate race early this year.
In the latest of such support last weekend, four groups, Itu/Ibiono progressives youth assembly, Uruan youth volunteers, Nka Mkparawa Uyo federal constituency, and the national executive of Ibibio Youth Volunteers, paid solidarity visits to Mr Etuk.
During the visit, the national president of Ibibio Youth Volunteers, Mr. Ifiok Una, applauded Etuk for the courage he has shown by seeking to represent the senatorial district in the senate, saying that the youth have arisen to work for him because of his love for his people, forthrightness and doggedness in defending his fatherland.
Una said it was necessary to send Etuk who has the reputation to defend his people to the senate, appealing to the APC to nominate Obong Kufreabasi Etuk as their candidate for the race.
He said Etuk is marketable and loved by voters across party lines in the senatorial, hence it will be easier for the APC to win the senatorial seat with him as candidate.
On their part, a cross section of members of the APC in Ibesikpo Asutan pledged unalloyed support for Etuk on Wednesday.
At a strategic meeting of the party held at Ikot Akpaedung, hometown of Linus Nkan, the state’s commissioner for finance, members of the APC including women chanted “change OBA”, “change OBA (incumbent Senator Bassey Albert)”, “change OBA”, as though that is the new slogan of the party.
An elder of the party from the area, Chief Edet Etim, said the chant was a sign that the people of Ibesikpo Asutan has had enough awareness that change must be done in Uyo senatorial district.
He said beyond the awareness, members of the APC and indeed the people of Ibesikpo Asutan are in high spirit to vote Mr Etuk to the senate in 2019.
Etim, who holds the title of Obonguwana Ikot Nkim said they decided to invite Etuk and endorse him for the senate race because they believe in his capacity to speak, defend and cater for his people.
Speaking, Mr Etuk thanked the different groups who have volunteered support for his aspiration, saying that the support he has received from the people of Uyo senatorial district across party lines was overwhelming and a serious encouragement that the people of Uyo senatorial district want him to represent them in the senate.
“Left to me alone I would stay in my house. But I have heard the great yearnings of the people of Uyo senatorial district particularly the youth to have me represent them in the senate.”
He said he will work relentlessly in the senate for the good of his people, urging the youth groups to persevere in mobilisation of support for him.