UKARAKPA set to challenge Akpabio at the poll
… ready to grab senatorship from him
… Bought & submitted PDP form
We started the PDP in 2008 – Dr. Chris Ekpenyong
By Blessing Iyaak
The former Deputy Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Engr. Dr. Christopher Stephen Ekpenyong is set to challenge the immediate past senate minority leader, Chief Godswill Akpabio at the 2019 general elections.
Dr. Ekpenyong, an entrepreneur par excellence who spoke with Century Newsfront in his office in Uyo recently on his mission to take over the senatorial seat in the red chambers of the National Assembly with the aim of repositioning the senatorial district, “given the confidence the people of Akwa Ibom North West (Ikot Ekpene) Senatorial district have in me to represent them as their senator, I am determined to make sure that I reconnect the people because they were debased. Look at the destruction of lives in Ukanafun and Etim Ekpo local government areas. This is unacceptable because these are our brothers, sisters, mothers and we cannot keep quiet any more. It is true that during the reign of Chief Godswill Akpabio, the people killed each other, spoke in different tongues. I will enshrine and incline the people of the senatorial district to get integrated into the Akwa Ibom project”.
He explained that his entrance in the race was necessitated by the vacuum created as a result of the Akpabio’s defection to another political party, “as Chief Akpabio defected to APC, the people of my senatorial district and our party, the PDP found me fit to occupy the office. In 1996 under UNCP, I wanted to be a senator but when people like Chief Don Etiebet, Late Dr. Ime Umanah also vied for the office, I jettisoned the plan because these were men of renounce. I must tell you that I am not a neophyte in the business of legislation; in 1993 I contested and won election as a member of the then Cross River State House of Assembly even as a youth Corps member. Also in 1999, I contested and won as Deputy Governor in a joint ticket with Obong Victor Attah, though I resigned and since then, I have been watching the political scene, now that I am out again, I will contribute meaningfully to the best of my ability because what the people want is sound, effective and honest representation”.
In terms of empowerment, Dr. Ekpenyong noted with delight that many Akwa Ibomites have gained direct and indirect employment in his business conglomerate including farms, hotel, engineering company in Lagos among others. Reacting to the fact that Akpabio empowered many people as governor, he argued that the ex-governor Akpabio used state funds with intensed publicity to empower the people, while his is private initiative, “you cannot be fair even to yourself if you use what Chief Akpabio did as governor where he used state funds and apparatus to empower people. He did that because we gave him the mandate then. So anybody given such platform can still empower people even more. Look at the level of empowerment Governor Udom is doing even with lean resources”.
Obong Ekpenyong, popularly known as Ukarakpa, a great Patrician and a round peg on a round hole whose leadership training started at school at different levels catapult him to who he is now. Born on September 29, 1954 in Ikot Ukana of Obot Akara local government area, Akwa Ibom attend the Federal Government Technical College, Yaba in 1975; enrolled in Federal Polytechnic, Bida iJn 1977 and obtained a Ordinary National Diploma in Electrical /Electronic Engineering. In 1980 he enrolled in The Polytechnic Calabar for a higher diploma and graduated with a Higher National Diploma in Electrical and Electronic Engineering in 1982. Not satisfied with the academic attainment, he proceeded to Kensington University, Glendale, California, United States in 1993 and obtained a degree in Master of Business Administration (Marketing) in 1995 as well as Ph.D.
The business guru cum politician who lamented his ordeals on how he was short changed noted that he co-founded the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in 1998, “I co-founded the PDP in 1998. PDP was the amalgamation of other political parties and association, people of like minds. I thank God that today, the party has grown in leaps and bounce”.
In an attempt to find out the significant and application of the name, Ukarakpa in our curiosity, Century Newsfront discovered that Ukarakpa is a metaphorical snake-like creature known for its natural strength and ability of crushing anything that stands on its way while moving. It is so mighty and powerful that it tests it strength by crossing Atlantic Ocean as an annual ritual.