By Essien Ndueso
Governor Udom Emmanuel is highly detribalized and his moral and mental rebirth philosophy ‘Dakkada’ serves as a clarion call for all to eschew natural and artificial barriers, in favour of unity, love, enterprise and creativity for the growth of the state. For the purpose of this piece, we may recall that the governor during his visit to Oro nation did promise that the area is so dear to his heart. At a time some leaders in that part of the state where busy campaigning on tribal lines against the unity of the state, Governor Emmanuel assured the Oro people that he is their son,and that they share the same cultural and historical ties. A month after assumption of office, Emmanuel under a torrential rain alighted from his vehicle on Oro soil, and walked the length and breadth of the area to see the extent of ecological challenges. He left them on that day July 15,2015 with the promise of coming back to commission roads. And this he did, with multibillion naira outflows for drainage to tackle erosion menace, and at least six roads commissioned during his first year anniversary in office. With the imminent return of a modern Jetty in Oron, the progress at realising the Ibom deep seaport, Oron Federal constituency’s position as the industrial hub in the new Akwa Ibom remains sacrosanct.
And that brings us to the issue of some desperate politicians unnecessarily spinning ethnic diatribes on our media space. Sometime in 2014, having realised too late that he had little or nothing to show for his tenure in the national assembly, Robinson Uwak made a frantic effort to whip ethnic sentiments and make cheap capitals from the emotions of his people. He sponsored series of media attacks against Akpabio as the man who sat on the progress of Oron Federal Constituency otherwise known as Oro nation. Video documentaries, print media interviews and public communication strategies where adopted to whip sentiments that he was the only man that can ‘liberate’ Oro nation by openly insulting the then governor as a tribalist who hated the Oro people.
He took photographs of all the roads that Akpabio failed to build or complete in Oro nation, and also campaigned with names of all Oro politicians who had been dropped or not given appointments in the course of Akpabio’s leadership. Uwak was so concerned about telling his people that he was the closest lawmaker to the then speaker Alhaji Aminu Tambuwal, that he forgot to tell them how his affinity with the speaker translated to at least a single lane 1km of road in the entire Oro nation throughout his tenure. He bragged about how he was able to bring the Speaker to Akwa Ibom state, forgetting that it was for the minute purpose of attending his traditional marriage and wedding ceremonies and not to commission projects. Robinson Uwak made noise of how he was able to train and empower Oro youths in skills and sporting activities, whereas Oro people remembered that he only organised a village youth soccer event during the build up to his campaigns in 2009 and once he was elected a representative, nothing more was heard of such tourney.
So engulfed in this fantasy was Uwak that he remembered a little too late that it was already time for another election, his re-election. At that point, Oro people where fed up with watching videos of insults on Governor Akpabio, and boasts of romance with the hierarchy of the lower chambers of the national assembly, meant little or nothing to them. They wanted a tangible scorecard. It was called “operation show us your project.” Yes we have heard your rants that others don’t ‘love’ us, but show us how you demonstrated your love for us. He was openly rejected and Tambuwal who had by this time left PDP for APC, was busy in Sokoto fighting for his governorship election, to pick his calls, not that it would changed anything though. All of a sudden, Uwak saw his nakedness and realised for a minute that he was completely alone.
Till date, Robinson has not told his people that on the eve of the PDP national assembly primaries in December 2014, he sneaked back to Government House Uyo, and was on all fours begging Akpabio to help him once again to Abuja. Even if Akpabio in his compassionate nature had decided to support Uwak, it would have mattered less because he was neither a delegate from Oron federal constituency nor was he going to manufacture achievements overnight to woo support for the Infante terrible. Bobby Robson lost both in the party primaries and jumped ship to the APC. He also lost. No need to remind us that Bobby Robson was denied a second term ticket by his people who’d rather have a humble, focused achiever. After fifteen months in the wilderness, Robby is back to tap from his investment. No not the numerous skills centres and youth academies he established in drawing books, but the ethnicity seed of discord he planted. He is back insulting and attacking Akpabio, as if the latter’s downfall would add in any way to his profile.
Till date, the self acclaimed freedom fighter has not told Oro people how APC has been of more benefits to them than the PDP that he is berating. Even Bobby Robson has not benefited from APC yet wants people to believe that PDP hates Oro nation or Oron federal constituency and its people. So far APC led federal government has failed to correct the alleged ‘injustices’ through its appointments. A position as commissioner in the National Population Commission is all it got, and then nothing more. Whereas other positions of Minister, NDDC MD, NDDC Commissionership, Ambassadorial, Presidential aide, Managing Director of an Oil and Gas Free Trade Zone Authority have been allotted to the state. Whereas under PDP, two ministers represented Akwa Ibom in the Federal Executive Council, between 2011 and 2015 namely, Prof Ita Bassey as Minister of Science and Technology, and Dr Akon Eyakenyi as Minister of Lands, Housing and Urban Development. They were both nominated by Senator Akpabio, and so also was a Commissioner in the Niger Delta Development Commission, Mr Etim Inyang (Jnr) who was sacked by the APC government after only two years in office in 2015. It is also to PDP’s credit that two Ambassadors of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to renowned world countries emerged from Oro namely Amb Etim Okpoyo (Italy) and Amb Etim Uye(Greece). Akpabio it was, who in 2008, sponsored the emergence of a national Vice Chairman of the then ruling PDP, Chief Edet Nkpubre from Oron. Before then,two successive speakers of the Akwa Ibom House of Assembly for six years (2001-2007) Chief Peter Linus Umoh and Chief Nelson Effiong, while records show that for almost ten years, the chairmen of the ruling party at the state level between 1998 and 2008 came from Oron federal constituency. In case you wish to be reminded, Chief Joe Ating, Chief Tony Emenyi and Chief Otu Ita Toyo are their names.
Like I said in one of my posts on this issue earlier, no one is saying that PDP did enough or it was able to tackle all the needs of the people, neither am I trying to stop people for asking for more. But it certainly was enough to dissuade emergency politicians from creating unnecessary ethnic tension in a peaceful state between brothers with endless falsehood and propaganda bothering on marginalisation and, or hatred for Oro people by other indigenes of the state.
It is usually said that every communication situation has a desired aim, and that is why one is compelled to ask to which purpose and the target and intention of this present articulation. As a former federal lawmaker, Robinson owes the state a social responsibility of patriotism and loyalty to engage in actions that unite the people instead of inciteful comments. Previous leaders of Akwa Ibom state, who sacrificed to serve us diligently for several years, deserve our respect, and Chief Akpabio is one of such men. Rather than channel his energy to hate campaigns and pull him down tendencies, Uwak should use his connections to attract largess from the federal government to his federal constituency and indeed the entire state. In neighbouring Rivers state, Cross River, Abia and Imo state, we don’t read about such calumnious campaigns.In the south west, even when there is rivalry between two political parties, open insult against their own, is not practised, so who are we pleasing?
As promised, Governor Udom Emmanuel has taken Oron’s development as a priority of his government and is delivering in the infrastructural development of the region both in the areas of roads and marine tourism development. It is time Robinson and his ilk lend their support to project Akwa Ibom or tell us in clear terms, whose interest they are projecting or protecting.