Divine Restoration And Lyrics Of Abak Town Hall Meeting
Africa is the festival continent. Throughout the whole continent, colourful and vibrant festivals range through musical, religious, cultural and harvest to name just a few. These events have important connotations, and to a large extent impinge on the wellbeing of the people.
There are, the new yam festival, marriages, fishing festivals, end of the year and new year festivals, and each of these has its uniqueness and flavour, which bind them to the people.
In African cultural festivals, the society wears a different and glowing looks; the venue, the colorful regalia, decorations, among others, leave no visitor in doubt, that there is something important going on in the society.
Such was the fate of Abak Local Government Area, on the 20th of March, 2013, when Governor Godswill Obot Akpabio held a town hall meeting with the people of Abak federal Constituency. The Governor came to give an account of his stewardship for 7 years as State Chief Executive.
But the uncommon transformation, this time, was more cultural than political. In the usual African manner, the city of Abak took a different, glowing and edifying posture, as sociocultural and political movements had trooped out in their thousands to give Governor Akpabio a resounding welcome.
One of the glaring realities of the Abak Town Hall Meeting which has continued to evoke an affective resonance, and distinguishes it from those of other federal constituencies was that everyone worked with 'one mind'; and this unison captured the essence of The Divine Restoration Movement which was unarguably, the most visible group that apparelled the event with colors and songs of solidarity.
A brainchild of Mr Aniekan Umanah, Akwa Ibom State Commissioner for Information and wife Maureen, to galvanize support for Governor Akpabio for a job well done as Governor, and for his senatorial bid to represent the people of Ikot Ekpene, the group gave the Abak town hall meeting the needed flavor and color.
their olive- green vest, representing fertility or fruitfulness, the Divine Restoration, through their musical renditions and dance steps, created an electrifying effect that persuaded the minds of spectators.
A group of able bodied, strong, and viable youth, with unparalleled mobilization acumen, this group, in consonance with its philosophy of promoting good leadership/ governance, went round the nooks and crannies of of Abak to sensitize youths on the need to turn up en masse and give the August visitor a glorious welcome!
One of the songs, which lyrical aptness found expression was:
"Mkpo Akenam mi mfege ndi wanga fi ooo, Goooodswill", meaning literally, that we have come to you, to change our unenviable lots, Your Excellency! That was the cultural component of democracy, which songs , dance, and other cultural variables served as platform for articulating good governance and democratic values.
Obviously, Abak federal constituency has, since the creation of Akwa Ibom state in September 1987, suffered untold neglect, and political strangulation in terms of joblessness, political appointments, youth empowerment infrastructure.
Of course, the streets of Abak were falling, the gutters were filled with sand, mere potholes had become ponds while bushes were encroaching the roads, a situation which eclipses abandonment ensued.
For instance, the Etim Ekpo- Iwukem Road has been impassable for over 20 years, the Abak - Ikot Ekpene Road had no trapping of an evolving metropolitan centre, while the Ukpom- Idoro road was in a state that isolated that part of Abak from the evolving human civilization; but with the election of Godswill Akpabio as Governor, the situation, has improved functionally.
A motion has been set for an agrarian transformation, because farmers and small scale entrepreneurs now have access to move their products to the markets. Viewed from that perspective, the uncommon transformation is also a story of wealth creation, because with unimpeded in-road into the interior, and markets, little is expended on transportation and haulage. Herein lies the nomenclature, Divine Restoration Movement, implying that a new Abak was born: a society that is on the track of becoming a metropolis, a socially empowered society, where infrastructure places it on the world map. It's today, the most reliable corridor to the Port Harcourt, Aba, Ikot Abasi industrial and commercial cities!
The transmogrification created a reminiscent of Josiah's religious reforms in the bible: "And King Josiah did what was pleasing in the sight of The Lord ..."(2 Chronicle 34): Never in the history of mankind has a king been so unblemished in the sight of God.
To be sure, Governor Akpabio has done what is pleasing in the sight of God. He, like a prophet- king understands that serving humanity right tantamount to serving God right. But He did not just do it; there is something he has, that eluded others before him. That's called political will, an "intangible fluid" that energizes a leader to action. Thus, Charles De Gaulle, past French General, statesman, and president, was right "that nothing great will ever be achieved without great men... and men are only great when they are determined to be great".
Therefore, when he entered the city of Abak, the people sang Hosana, Hosana, Hosana, for we have seen a king who has come in the name of The Lord!
In the hall, Governor Akpabio spoke 'restoration'- the story of the "Uncommon Transformation". But the people instead, concurred. They said "you have restored Abak's lost glory...we know if you had time, you can do more, but channel your energy into the senate... We will be by your side, we have enough votes to make you get there".
With such an unprecedented affirmation, Governor Akpabio left Abak a senator of the federal Republic-in the waiting!
He left the town hall meeting, an energized man, for even his critics had changed their minds- that this Divine restoration, was a changing game!
Peace Researcher, Development Historian, Perception Engineer, newspaper Publisher & Television Producer.