Udo Kierian Akpan: The Political Juggernaut of Oruk Anam
…too relevant to be ignored
By Emma Akpabio
The incumbent Leader of Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly and member representing Oruk Anam State Constituency – Rt Hon (Sir) Udo Kierian Akpan (UKA), is a political enigma of sort that cannot be shoved aside in any political setting he finds himself. UKA came into political limelight, riding on the wings of his mentor, a one time Council Boss of Oruk Anam LGA – Sir Vitalis Unang (of blessed memory).
Without doubts, the Ex- Labour leader is one of the most favoured, in the political History of Akwa Ibom and Oruk Anam in particular.
Apart from being the longest State Legislator of Oruk Anam origin, UKA still enjoins tremendous level of Goodwill and respectability from the political class, devoid of party affiliation in Nigeria. In and out of office, any day any time, Sir Akpan knows when to pull the string. He is a man that knows his onions.
From the days he ruled as the Akwa Ibom State Chairman of Nigerian Labour Congress to his appointment by former Governor Akpabio as his Aide on Labour and productivity, UKA has always been known to be a man who rules with iron fist. Despite all the criticism against him then, Akpan had no cause to look back. Even as a democratically elected representative, he does not hide his aversion to undue criticism.
Conventionally, Oruk Anam State constituency seat rotates between the two blocks of Oruk and Anam. After Hon Iboro Udom who had the turn of Oruk in the 4th assembly finished his tenure, UKA, in 2011, aspired under the platform of Peoples Democratic Party – PDP and won. Defeating Hon Prince Ikim, the highest political opposition that has ever featured in Oruk Anam. Sir Akpan finished his first term in 2015.
Judging from history and the size of Oruk Anam as the largest LGA in Akwa Ibom State, no one would ever imagine, not to talk of conceiving the idea of aspiring for a second term in any elected position. But Udo Kierian Akpan showed that his political teeth had become sharp enough, when in 2015, he broke the jinx and was reelected to represent his people for a second term.
Over the years, Sir Akpan has justified the quote that “where there is a will, there is a way”. In terms of political Strategy, Akpan is unpredictable. He towers above his peers. This he demonstrated recently, when he reaffirmed his membership with the PDP, against all speculations that as the international President of Ati Annang, that he will defect with Senator Godswill Akpabio to the All Progressive Congress APC. He stayed back in the PDP. With his prodigious capacity to understand the psyche of the Electorates, read events, and peep into the future, Akpan remains the first man from Oruk Anam, to pick the PDP ticket to return for a third term in the house of Assembly. Things that were previously seen, only in the Eastern and Northern Nigeria.
That UKA is the PDP Standard flag bearer for Oruk Anam State Constituency for a third time is still incomprehensible and mystery to many, including me. But this is a reality and a demonstration of capacity that must be accepted.
Having gone for a second term, and considering the conventional rotation of the Assembly seat, sir Akpan while aspiring for a third term PDP ticket, met brick wall, but he emerged victorious. This amongst others, makes him a politician too relevant to be sidelined or ignored.
By the twilights of his second term tenure, many leaders, youths and Elders within and outside his constituency had become so uncomfortable. Feeling that the man they had made was becoming so difficult for them to control. They, therefore felt the need to curtail his power. How UKA clinched the third term PDP ticket, remains a confirmation that he is indeed a politician too grounded to be ignored.
No man ever imagined the reality that a man who hails from the minority zone of a large LGA, can return for a second term not to talk of third term. But the reality on ground has reaffirmed the quote that “a divided majority cannot beat a united minority”.
The rumors making the whilst that Oruk Anam will massively vote for APC in the State House of Assembly remain rumours. Truth be told, majority in the Oruk Zone, are for UKA in addition to the block vote prepared for him by his people in Anam. This makes the ideology of the opposition party choosing a candidate from the Oruk Zone an exercise in futility.
Udo Kierian Akpan understands all the political terrain in Oruk Anam. He is one man that reads and understands the psyche of the electorates. He knows when to pull the trigger. All these features, make him too relevant to be ignored in the political decision of the area.
In performance, Rt Hon Akpan has not been found wanting. In legislative business, the House leader has sponsored 9bills, 6 assented, while 3 are awaiting assent. In Human Empowerment, he has delivered 100% with Free Health care services always organised for constituents at intervals. In educational empowerment and infrastructural development, Sir Udo Kierian Akpan has constructed over 30class room blocks, rehabilitated over 10 classroom blocks with Assembly halls, offices and Stores with solar powered water projects and boreholes.
That Sir Udo Kierian Akpan balances effective representation/ governance with politics, makes him the political Juggernaut of Oruk Anam LGA.
With Sir Udo Kierian Akpan on the steering of the PDP of Oruk Anam, not even the appointment of a gubernatorial running mate from the area by the APC, can shaken the loyalty of the people for the PDP.
Come 2019, Oruk shall deliver Governor Udom Emmanuel, for he has done for Oruk Anam in just 3 years, what his predecessors didn’t do in more than 15years.