UDOM EMMANUEL: WHEN IMPOSITION BECAME A VIRTUE
How time flies! In a matter of days, Governor Godswill Akpabio's top shelf administration will be numbered in days. Days that certainly shall run with the speed of seconds. And that is the reality of power â€' it melts away like ice. Good for those who use it well like Governor Akpabio!
The beauty of Akpabio's engaging chapter in the Akwa Ibom story is that nothing has remained the same again in Akwa Ibom since his emergence in 2007. Familiar sights have given way to strange sights. Everywhere one goes in Akwa Ibom, strange creatures loom large.
Akwa Ibom is now a big ripe apple that the world comes to burrow because life has meaning in the state and Akwa Ibom has a name of a big global brand.
As jumbo jets climb gracefully down from the clouds and croon their songs of triumphant conquest of the sky from Ibom International Airport, the message is that God had given Akwa Ibom victory through the leadership in the state since 2007. Victory over poverty, hunger, disease, illiteracy and infrastructural decay. Akpabio is the signpost and inscription of that victory.
As his glittering administration winds down, the moral question on the lips of the over Four Million Akwa Ibom people is: This is Akpabio, whence cometh another? It is both a question and a petition on God's table, and as time's tiny feet pounds the pavement, God who cannot be hurried, and cannot be late, will surely give Akwa Ibom the 'Right' answer.
Like they say, God often gives a people the kind of leadership they deserve at a particular time. God is with us, and He will do it again.
In Akwa Ibom's search for Akpabio's successor, Richard Nixon, former American President's words in his seminal book, Leaders, could be a good guide. He said: Fortune favours the brave, and history is made by a confluence of circumstances and leadership. A leader must give substance and meaning to opportunities.'
This aptly captures the reality in the brief but impactful tenure of Mr. Udom Emmanuel as the Secretary to the State Government. He has invented a doctrine that leadership is measured more in deeds than in days. What took many people any years to fail to achieve, Udom has achieved in mere months, thus defying the law of longevity. Never has any SSG hook such a strong connect with the people, and pitched his tent on the side of the masses. Udom Emmanuel has demystified the office, handling it like a skilled surgeon handles the scapel. Udom is like an accomplished gymnast who has seen the big league of professionalism but feels a strong pull for service at home, and he is working wonders. The same office Udom is occupying is the one that when others occupied in recent past, Akwa Ibom people wore anguish on their faces like tribal marks because the men of the moment were so busy to look down, and feel the pulse and wishes of the people. They were not patriotic enough till the sun came to melt the ice block of power in their hands.
Akwa Ibom is in the Maker's plan, and He knows who will be the people's Governor.
With Udom's vast professional connections and pyramid of achievements, if God answers the prayer of Akwa Ibom, Udom is going to be a political masterstroke. It will be a sad irony that after God used Akpabio to take Akwa Ibom to the Promised Land, the state will be forced into the Golgotha of broken dreams by bringing back people with the propensity of exploiting their position to amass wealth for themselves at the detriment of the masses.
There is no sense in recommending books that should be out of circulation if Akwa Ibom must go forward.
But Udom will ensure that Akwa Ibom functions with the efficiency of a 17-karat Swiss wristwatch. Udom is a man who sees excellence not just as an objective but as an article of faith, a way of life. His record in the banking industry brightens with glowing testimony of a solid intellectual base. With this stickler of excellence, if God answers Akwa Ibom's prayer, then the state will be guaranteed of an astronomic economic growth. Udom, evidently, is a political asset and a universal talent. Akwa Ibom is blessed.
It is his brilliance and footprints even on marbled ground that pushed him to the highest rung of leadership at Zenith Bank even when he is not a 'Yoruba man'. He towers as a shining example that hard work has no tribe. At home, his ability to harness government departments to work for the overall good of the state puts him ahead of all other runners. He may have started the race late but he knows that to meet up, he has to run faster, and today, he is the closest to the finishing line. If God should answer Akwa Ibom's prayers in Udom, Akwa Ibom would have struck gold.
Shockingly but not expected, left wing ideologues are busy working on increasing their English register with 'imposition' as the latest discovery.
In their school of thought, if God answers Akwa Ibom people's prayers and Udom decides to join the governorship race, then he will be an imposition, and by extension, a stooge to Governor Akpabio. This naked assertion is bereft of logic, and deflecting of the tubes of moral conscience and blank sheet of history. Why do people forget so soon? When it was believed that Akpabio was supporting others, it was not imposition but when it got to Udom, suddenly 'imposition' has Nicodemously crept into the dictionary.
Men. What a myopic and retrogressive theory. A theory that is blinded to the internationally-acclaimed lofty heights and sound credentials of a former captain of money industry is lame, deaf and short-sighted. So if I may ask, what is Udom's crime?
His flagship credentials may have been acknowledged by Akpabio.
The good thing is that Akwa Ibom people know the sound of empty promises with barefooted antecedents. That is an external consolation, and an undying hope that God is with Akwa Ibom. So, in the heat of satanic political games and even bankrolled banal journalism, excellence, visionary leadership and imaginative husbandry of human and natural resources shall remain the secret of Emmanuel's triumph.
It is good that Akwa Ibom people know that this discordant tune of 'imposition' is not actually targeted at Udom Emmanuel but a conscious plot of distracting Governor Akpabio in order to prevent his plane from landing smoothly. Is it not a race against the tide to run down a man who has packed a lot of achievements for Akwa Ibom in seven years? In his era, Akwa Ibom is in charge of the Governor's Forum, Conference of Speakers, ALGON and even Children and Youth Parliaments; what else do they need to know that God is in charge of the affairs of Akwa Ibom and that He has not finished with the State?
Could the intimidation have come from Udom's Godly disposition? But no man is good enough to rule his people when God has not so sanctioned. In fact, he believes strongly that there is nothing two people cannot do if one of them is God. God is with Akwa Ibom. Therefore, that is an unnecessary fear. If they trust in their wealth and coins, and Udom hooks unto God, why not wait till when the wheat will be separated from the chaff!
In all, if despite all the shinning attributes and colourful credentials of Udom Emmanuel, career politicians still see him as an imposition, then the true meaning of imposition is now sounding very attractive. In fact, imposition would have successfully assumed the status of a virtue. Udom has all it takes to hoist Akwa Ibom on the totem pole.
Or are Napoleons afraid that Udom has done what they could not do? Is Udom scoring plenty goals at the blast of the whistle even when people played to extra time without a goal? That is the difference between good and bad players; Udom is a product of the big league; the Champions League of banking doyens.
But if in all these, few people still claim that Udom Emmanuel's sterling qualities give him out as an imposition to few self-seeking politicians, then it is high time a review is effected in the English dictionary; in Udom, imposition may as well be a virtue.
So, who will go for Akwa Ibom? The answer to that teething question is buried in the belly Charle's de Gaulle, 'Nothing great is done without great men. And great men were great because they willed it'.
Written By Imoh Etimudo