By Aniekeme Finbarr
The slender hopes of the All Progressive Congress (APC) in Akwa Ibom State to produce a Governor in 2015 were utterly dashed the very minute a candidate from Uyo Senatorial District emerged as the Standard Bearer of the party. That singular miscalculation ridiculed the chances of the party and betrayed its ethno-superiority complex and total disregard for the ethnic minorities in Eket senatorial district. It is further shocking that the party did not even have an aspirant in the race from the Eket zone, not even one, even a cosmetic candidate for the cameras. The party apparently deficient in sound ideology or political tradition opted for a man who was disqualified from the PDP for attempting to deny the people of Eket Senatorial District a chance to taste the seat of power after 16 years of democracy. A school of sane minds in the APC however argue that it wasn’t their decision to hand him the party’s flag but that he forcefully twisted the hands of the party’s hierarchy and snatched the ticket after barely a few weeks since he joined the party.
Whatever the case is, the APC in Akwa Ibom state is sitting on the heads of justice and logic. No amount of flowery expositions, fine articles or loud radio interviews will justify the fact that Eket Senatorial District is not deserving of the Governorship or that a certain set of persons were divinely granted the right to rule over others. The acceptable argument ought to be whether the governor should come from Ibeno, Onna, Oron or Esit Eket but to completely deny the people of that zone a sniff of the aroma of power shows the APC as a party that doesn’t care about order, justice, peace and stability. For the APC, it is about grabbing power by all means; mudslinging, blackmail or propaganda. The party brandishes change as its philosophy but in their first 7 months in power at the centre, the only change Nigerians have experienced is a downward mudslide into retrogression. How sad.
The APC is attempting to derail Akwa Ibom people. First, it is making frantic efforts to distort the sense of brotherhood that has defined the political union in the state. Secondly, the party intends to use the judiciary to needlessly take Akwa Ibom state back to elections. No state or country develops by conducting elections every year. Elections are generally demanding financially. There are severe logistic burdens to be carried by all the players in the game. From consultations to open rallies, publicity and the main elections, a lot of money goes down the drain for a leader to emerge. With the state of the economy, is election a luxury Akwa Ibom people will love to afford? The answer is no. The PDP is not afraid of elections, not with the grasp it has in the state. But are we always going to have elections every year? Parties must learn to accept the results of elections like President Jonathan did and move on.
Akwa Ibom people are satisfied with Mr Udom Emmanuel from Eket Senatorial zone as Governor. He is a man who has proven to be a reliable manager of men and materials. Despite the paucity of funds, his first few months have been very inspiring with so much achieved and much more to hope for Governor Udom Emmanuel is governing the state today with an ease of elegance that oozes forth from his broad professional standing, fear of God and practical experience in diverse aspects of human endeavour. He has an undaunted conviction in shared values, a commitment to excellence and an amazing camaraderie; a definitive edge to his persona has emerged which has helped to increase his field of influence in the workplace and beyond.
Like all great achievers, Governor Udom Emmanuel’s grooming was not spontaneous but nurtured overtime; first in the citadels of learning, and then in the call of duty in the work environments he found himself in the course of life. He has excellently translated that to development. Investors are lining to come to Akwa Ibom state. When the industries begin to come alive after the litany of ground breaking ceremonies, there will be enough to testify in that regard. Interestingly, Governor Udom’s intellectual and professional horizon is quite broad and profoundly enriched as it were by several international management programmes, conferences and seminars at home and overseas. He takes informed decisions after due consultations and when the need arises adjusts to make sure Akwa Ibom state is better than he met it. He is a dutiful husband and father who strives within human limits to make a difference at home and wherever his core professional and political competence is required.
What then is APC’s sense of justice? What can they really say to justify why Eket Senatorial zone cannot enjoy their turn as Governor after 16 years of democratic rule? Explanations somebody. Akwa Ibom people never get it wrong when it comes to their choice of Governors. We simply stand out in the nation with our quality of leaders. In 1999, we had Obong Victor Attah of Uyo Senatorial district; visionary, widely read and travelled, a bold Governor who never blinked to anyone in fighting for the state’s own due. In 2007, the people went for a dynamic, ebullient young lawyer with robust energy to change the landscape and redefine Akwa Ibom State on the world map. His name is Godswill Akpabio. The next phase we are in has a man with firm roots at home, from the right part of the state to produce the next Governor. A man whose phone book and email contacts have the appropriate names. A man who has cognate private sector experience, who has been involved with investments at the highest level and is prudent in the management of resources for optimal benefit. A man who has handled funds all his adult life and had a clean record of accountability in a banking world where several persons have been indicted for shady deals and crass corruption.
In this era of economic instability occasioned by fluctuating fortunes from the oil market and mass poverty due to high unemployment rates, the private sector happens to be the engine of economic growth, it is important that those who seek to lead this state must have leadership qualities, have the requisite skills in managing enterprises and creating wealth, innovative ideas and a proven record of private sector development. Investments and private enterprises are the invaluable lubricants in any socio-economic transformation. They are the drivers of national economies the world over. They are the indispensable arteries that feed the socio-economic heart of nations with their sustainable power. Any attempt to backstage the potential and importance of these necessary catalysts for inclusive economic growth and industrialization, that are also significant contributors to employment generation, wealth creation, poverty alleviation and food security is tantamount to going backwards and not taking the quantum leap towards sustainable economic growth.
Udom Emmanuel is the face of divine justice and development. The APC should return to the drawing board, buy books on political history, take its time, do a thoroughly homework and come around next time when the party is better prepared.