The Akwa Ibom State Commissioner for Lands and Water Resources, Umo Eno, has said there are some politicians who would chase journalists out of town if they become governor of the state.
Mr Eno was recently hand-picked by Governor Udom Emmanuel as his preferred successor in the 2023 election.
Mr Eno, during his visit to the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Akwa Ibom State Council, on Friday, said there was freedom of press in Akwa Ibom because Mr Emmanuel “was open to criticism”.
“There are some people that the day they become governor, some of you must leave town. And you know the truth about that. But today everybody is in town. We grow Akwa Ibom together and I think there is need for that continuity,” he said.
He did not, however, mention any name.
“Some of the things the press writes, you could not have written them in previous administrations. It’s either you will be dead or your mother will be killed, somebody will be kidnapped, or you will be running.
“But right now, Governor Udom Emmanuel is most insulted governor in the history of Akwa Ibom because he loves the press. He opens up himself to be criticised and has not killed anybody,” he added.
He promised to sustain press freedom if elected governor.
Mr Eno, who has had a flourishing hotel and food supplies business in Eket, also promised to continue with Mr Emmanuel’s development programmes if elected governor.
“I’m trained to be start-up manager, I’m trained to be a turnaround manager. I don’t have to fix issues from scratch. I know how to walk through the rubbles of governance in the corporate world. Beyond the level of politicking, business of government is still corporate.
“So we know if we can raise funding from the banks and run business without owing the banks and our assets have not been taken away, I believe when God gives us the opportunity to run Akwa Ibom, we know what to do.
“We know how to build Akwa Ibom businesses from scratch and scaling it up very fast and it will become a bigger business.
“In the last two years that God has given me the opportunity to be in government. I have been the director of Agric Investment, working with the governor and the Commissioner for Agriculture, we have done a lot to revolutionise agriculture.
“I am a good student of Governor Udom Emmanuel. I know his blueprint. I have seen his heart. He cannot finish all of it in eight years but he has built on the foundation that other governors have set.
“He has done very well. Even his greatest critic will admit that he has done very well. But there is need for continuity,” he said.