Under the aegis of Akwa Ibom South Senatorial District Strategic Leadership Forum, the leaders said they would ensure Ekere replaced Emmanuel.
The Chairman, Edet Nkpubre, who addressed a news conference yesterday in Uyo, said the forum would support Ekere because of his vision for the state and in-depth knowledge of their needs.
He said: “We have considered the political, social and economic imperatives of our state; we have read and digested the blue print of Ekere, and we are thrilled by the forward-looking document that contains the five pillars of a new vision for our collective prosperity.
“We are excited about the transformational innovation for a sustainable indigenous grown industrialisation built around our people, who still possess the business acumen of the Utuks, the Inyangettes and many other successful business entrepreneurs our state created in the past.
“We are satisfied with the creative plans for a rebirth in education, including bursaries for students in higher institutions, the empowerment prescriptions that would create economic prosperity for our women, the social protection plan for the most vulnerable and poor among us, the plans for a healthy people, the actual realisation of the MRO facilities at the Victor Attah International Airport and the dreams of the Ibaka Industrial city, among other lofty plans.
“Conscious of the aforesaid and more reasons, we, the people of Akwa Ibom, joined by residents of our senatorial district, friends and admirers, have decided to pitch our tent with Obong Nsima Ekere, the APC governorship candidate, as the man we shall vote for as governor to replace Mr. Udom Emmanuel.”
Nkpubre gave reasons why the forum was dissatisfied with Emmanuel’s performance.
He added: “And whereas the mandate was to last for eight years, but four years down the line, the disappointment and disillusionment have become palpable. Where hope once existed, despair has taken over, where aspiration was rife, lethargy now wring the yearning hearts of our people.
“Our growth has been arrested and strangled by crass ineptitude and the gross political and crippling economic naivety of our current leadership. The visionary steps of our immediate past have become mired and entrapped in the debilitating cluelessness of a government lacking experience and pedigree.”
The chairman maintained that Ekere had been groomed in leadership after serving and distinguishing himself in various capacities in the state, adding that the state could not afford to have a governor who is far from the people’s realities.