Prince Uwem Ita Etuk.

By Abasifreke Effiong

Prince Uwem Ita Etuk, a former State Chairman of the People’s Democratic Party, is seeking to represent the people of Akwa Ibom North- East Senatorial District otherwise known as Uyo Senatorial District, in 2023.

Etuk is the immediate past Board Chairman, Akwa Ibom Water Company Limited. He has served as Commissioner in the Ministries of Lands and Town Planning, Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs. He was Special Adviser on Agriculture and Food Sufficiency to Governor Godswill Akpabio; Head of Council, Ibesikpo Asutan Local Government Area, as well as Chapter Chairman of the PDP in Ibesikpo Asutan.

Fondly called “PDP dagger”, a tease name he earned for his resoluteness and unweary defense of the PDP when he served as State Chairman. Etuk’s single tenure was renowned for its inclusiveness. He promoted and practiced zoning, ensured wide consultation, internal democracy, worked for the welfare of party officers and ensured visibility of the party in all the 329 wards in the State. He ensured that all layers of the party practiced zoning stricto sensu.

Etuk is a sociologist and an advocate of social inclusion. He holds the liberal opinion that the party should not be a sort of elite group; the party should be like a church where every class of persons and minority groups should be given opportunity, not only to belong to the party as members, but should be given opportunity to serve and lead.

As chairman, Etuk promoted internal democracy within the different layers of the party. He was intentional about giving every structure within the party opportunity to make contributions; that style of leadership gave majority and minority groups within all political units a sense of belonging, representation, renewed and stronger hope through the PDP. The party gave a spot including elective offices and appointments to Persons With Disabilities, PWDs. PWDs are human beings, they have rights that political parties must help to promote and protect. His style of inclusive leadership strengthened organs of the party, made more people to see opportunity in the party and encouraged healthy competition.

Beyond his tenure as State Chairman of the PDP, Etuk has continued to immerse himself in strengthening the party and ensuring its continued success.
In the build-up to the 2015, when powerful forces within the State worked ferociously to scuttle the zoning of the governorship to Eket Senatorial District, he stood firm and defended zoning, the very ideal that makes the party strong and unifying. It should not be lost in history the courageous role Etuk played when men who had the ears and heart of Chief Godswill Akpabio, played an ethnic card in a frantic attempts to install a governor from Uyo Senatorial District barely eight years after Obong Victor Attah, who is from the senatorial district finished as Governor.

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The impact of that disharmonious and un-unifying action could have cost the party enormous following and goodwill. The party knew this. However, there was a strong spiral of silence, leaders who should have spoken to leadership kept quiet and curled in. Prince Uwem Ita Etuk broke the ice. He took on a strong public campaign for the zoning of the governorship to Eket senatorial. Though, Uwem Ita Etuk is from Uyo Senatorial District, he insisted that the party must remain strong and united and the governorship must be zoned to Eket Senatorial District for fairness, justice and equity. That campaign prevailed and Etuk’s selflessness earned him a fond name: “the conscience of the party”.

In the senate race, Etuk will represent the party and the people. He is an invaluable asset for the party. He has a large volunteer following and a massive grassroots’ support base that can give the party a hassle -free victory in the general election. He has a strong, positive perception rating across the state. A lot of people see him as the conscience of the PDP. He is fair in his political judgment and a stickler to justice, equity, fairness and reward.

In Ibesikpo Asutan Local Government where he hails from, Etuk has kept people’s hope aflame in the party through his annual end-of-year political convocation. The Ibesikpo Asutan PDP convention held on the 26th of December every year has become the longest surviving, best organised and largest annual political meet of the party in the State. The convocation did its 16th year in December 2021 and has kept an attendance of more than 10,000 in the last six years. The annual increase in attendance at the Ibesikpo Asutan PDP convention every December is a loud testimony and approval of the leadership offered by Prince Uwem Ita Etuk. Former Governor Godswill Akpabio, Governor Udom Emmanuel, Senator Bassey Albert, and a host of other bigwigs of the party have attended the convocation once or twice. The convention is usually attended by members and supporters of the PDP. Over the years, it has provided a ground for the empowerment of scores of person and ‘softening’ the ground for the party’s continued dominance in the LGA.

Prince Uwem Ita Etuk understands the ideals of PDP. He has demonstrated his unwavering love for the party. He is a man the party can trust with her ticket for the Uyo senatorial district race. He is the best man of the people for Uyo senatorial district.