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From a background of over 25 years of a very rewarding career as a globally-ranking QHSE Consultant, venturing into politics was borne of my desire to touch the lives of a wider cross-section of people than I was able to do within the ambit of my professional career. The Favour of God found me in massive support from my people and I was duly elected to serve as the representative of the good people of Ikono-Ini Federal Constituency at the National Assembly 2019 - 2023. I wish to first express my sincere gratitude to God and my people for the rare privilege of serving as a member of the 9th National Assembly of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. 

This desire for service kept burning and propelled the noble efforts I was able to make in the interest of the people during my first four years as their representative. However, the belief that there is so much more to offer spurred my aspiration for another term. From the corridors of power to the trenches of grassroots politics, God’s favour again saw me through storms of betrayal, political conspiracy, and indeed, outright tyranny, on my journey to securing a second term in office. Today, as I stand re-elected to serve, I recount the twists and turns that marked my relentless pursuit of service to my constituents, whose collective will should not be suppressed.

My quest for a second term in the House of Representatives was a tussle between a powerful cabal and the resilience of an electorate determined that l should represent them once again. My interest instigated a dreadful conspiracy and, between 2019 and 2022, it was a battle for true democracy, in the face of relentless opposition. It began with a sinister orchestration by the leadership of the ruling party in Akwa Ibom State - Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) - at the prompting of the state's immediate past administration, to dictate the political future of my constituency. On the grounds of arbitrary zoning of political offices, the party's structures were systematically and unjustly withdrawn from me - and even turned against me - despite my dedication and service to the people and despite being the highest political office holder. 

In July 2021, the political posts were further shifted against me as the leadership of Ikono Local Government Area, decided to zone the House of Representatives seat to Ini Local Government Area, to thwart my ambition. This blow was followed by another in September 2021 when the political stakeholders of my Federal Constituency - who had earlier supported me - suddenly conspired to label me unfit for re-election, and went ahead to propose a zoning arrangement in favour of Ini Local Government Area.

By April 2022, the state leadership of the PDP, endorsed this zoning directive for the House of Representatives seat. I was summoned to the Akwa Ibom State Government House and requested to withdraw my candidacy. Thereafter, by manipulating the democratic process to suit the personal desire of a few who sought to maintain their political stranglehold, I was formally disqualified by the national and state PDP screening committee, a move that effectively sidelined my candidacy.

From these ashes of despair, however, a flicker of hope emerged. A successful appeal to the National Working Committee of the PDP in Abuja saw me reinstated as a legitimate aspirant for the party's primary elections in May 2022. Yet, the party structure within the state remained treacherous and, in a controversial move, defied the will of the people by awarding the party ticket to an unpopular aspirant in whom there was a vested personal interest by the power centre in the state.

In the face of this gross injustice, I made the difficult but bold decision to chart a new course. In June 2022, I defected to the Young Progressives Party (YPP), rallying my supporters behind me as we embarked on a path less travelled. The journey ahead was fraught with peril as the months that followed saw repeated arrest and detention of hundreds of my loyal supporters.

This set the tone for the eagerly anticipated general elections on February 25th 2023. Despite emerging victorious by a margin of 4,161 votes, the joy of triumph was short-lived as the results were deemed inconclusive. Subsequent attempts at conducting supplementary elections on April 15th 2023 were marred by violence. In May 2023, INEC's review of existing results heralded a moment of vindication as I was declared the rightful winner of the 2023 elections. I took the oath of office at the National Assembly in June 2023. But, the journey was far from over. 

Fierce legal challenges led to the election petition tribunal through a perverse judgement nullified my victory in November 2023 and ordered a rerun in 33 of the 281 polling units. In January 2024 the Appeal Court in Abuja upheld the tribunal's decision, paving the way for a decisive rerun.

In February 2024, the moment of redemption finally came. The people of Ikono-Ini refused to be pawns, rejecting imposition with disdain for their right to choose their representative. The people spoke with a resounding voice, casting their votes in defiance of oppression and tyranny. Today, their voices have been heard through the February 3rd rerun elections which culminated in my successful re-election. 

I took a second oath of office, reaffirming my pledge to uphold the values of democracy and represent the aspirations of my constituents. With this certificate of return in hand, I stand once more on the threshold of leadership to embark on a new chapter of service. 

My journey to re-election was not merely a quest for power, but an enduring quest to satisfy the yearnings of an overwhelming majority of people who, by their resilience in the face of intimidation and oppression, wholeheartedly placed their trust and belief in me.

I wish to remind everyone about the transient nature of power. Let us remember the significance of humility and deference to the higher authority of The Almighty, from whom all power emanates. We must acknowledge that our purpose in positions of authority is to serve, and thus, we must not allow the allure of power to delude us into a misguided belief of omnipotence. And to those who - through malice or ignorance, dead or living - opposed or suppressed my ambition, I extend the hand of forgiveness. For it is through forgiveness that we find the strength to heal and move forward, united in our shared humanity.

To God alone be the Glory, Amen!

God Bless Ikono-Ini Federal Constituency

God Bless Akwa Ibom State

God Bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria

Rt. Hon Emmanuel Ukpong-udo (PhD | CFIOSH | FIIRSM | CQP | MISPN)

Member, House of Representatives

Ikono-Ini Federal Constituency (2023-2027)

Akwa Ibom State


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