The senior pastor of a popular metropolitan church in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, Nyeneime Andy, has backtracked on his criticism of the state governor’s succession plan.
Mr Andy had previously been very outspoken against the alleged plan by the Akwa Ibom State Governor, Udom Emmanuel, to foist a successor on the oil-rich state in 2023.
“In 2023, it will be a government of the people, for the people and by the people. We will not allow one person to choose a governor for a state of over 6 million people,” the pastor said in a recent press briefing.
The Akwa Ibom State Government later in August marked his church, Holy Ghost Ambassadors Ministry International, for demolition, claiming that the building did not meet the planning standards for approval.
The two-storey building, which was started in 2012, has been serving as a worship centre for many years.
The government, through its agent, Uyo Capital City Development Authority, gave the church a seven day ultimatum “to remove the said illegal development and reinstate the land to its original state”.
The church has not been demolished, even though the ultimatum had expired.
Mr Andy has now backtracked on his criticism of Governor Emmanuel.
The pastor on October 8 took to his Facebook page to solicit support for the governor’s succession plan.
“I call on the entire youth structures and the Sons of Faith to Support the Completion Agenda of Deacon Udom Emmanuel. This is our state and we don’t have another,” the pastor said.
He called on the people to pray for the governor and his administration “for (the) wisdom to lead the state to an enviable position”.
“Contribute your wisdom, potentials and gifts to the advancement of our state. As much as it is in your power, maintain peace,” he added.
Mr Andy declined a request for interview when our reporter contacted him, Thursday, on the phone.
Mr Emmanuel’s loyalists in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) have set up an organisation, Maintain Peace Movement, to help the governor to actualise his succession plan. The organisation is headed by the National Legal Adviser of the PDP, Emmanuel Enoidem.
The group, which was recently inaugurated across all the local government areas in the state, is expected to lead the campaign for whoever emerges as the PDP governorship flagbearer in the state for 2023 election.
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