Umana, Wednesday, secured victory at the tribunal when the judges ordered a re-run in 18 out of the 31 local government areas of the state. Residents of the state, who spoke to newsmen, expressed happiness over the ruling, adding that they were sure of victory if free and fair polls are held. A resident, Okon Dominic, however wondered why the elections were not cancelled in all the council areas. He alleged that many people were disenfranchised during the last election due to what he called wide spread violence. “We really want Umana to govern this state because we also want change. Udom is just an extension of Akpabio. We want something different”, he said. Also on hand to welcome Umana, was the state chairman of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Dr. Amadu Atai, former commissioner for health, Dr. Udoma Bob Ekarika and other State APC dignitaries. Addressing the crowd, Umana, who was with his wife, Mrs. Florence Okon Umana, running mate, Engr. Benedict Ukpong and spouse, former deputy governor of Akwa Ibom State, Obong Nsima Ekere, Special Adviser to the President on Legislative Matters (Senate), Senator Ita Enang, APC legal team and other stalwarts, said he was overwhelmed by the support and promised not to let them down. But before addressing the people at the Nsima Ekere Campaign Organization complex, Umana asked that a minute silence be observed in honour of victims of election violence in the state. Umana added that his party decided to appeal the recent judgment by the governorship tribunal in honour of those slain at polling units across the state in the course of exercising their civic responsibility. “Also, we are appealing because we are hopeful. We trust in God and know that the judiciary will give the people of Akwa Ibom justice. I believe that at the Appeal Court we will succeed so that we can have 31 over 31. I thank God because change is coming and I want to thank you for your resilience. You have gone through pain, you have sacrificed so much. It has not easy”, he said. The APC guber candidate added, “I thank you for your resilience; I couldn’t have done it without the people of Akwa Ibom behind me. I assure you that very soon, God will liberate Akwa Ibom from impunity, oppression and imposition. A state that has been so blessed by God, why should our people suffer so much? You must have your own governor.” Earlier, the former deputy governor, Obong Nsima Ekere, thanked the people for turning out en masse to receive a man he called the harbinger of change. He maintained that the tribunal judgment has vindicated him. “I thank the judiciary for that unprecedented judgment and I am certain that with the ongoing legal process the sham election will be cancelled and Akwa Ibom people will eventually choose their governor,” he said. Also speaking, the state chairman of APC, Dr. Amadu Atai, expressed gratitude to the party faithful and teeming supporters of Change across the state. He pointed out that Akwa Ibom people do not want “packaged and imported governor, but a true son of the soil, who has been home grown and understands the needs of the people”. Others, who spoke were former chairmen of Uyo, Prince Ekerette Ekpenyong and his counterpart from Itu, Mr. Michael James Etim.]]>

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