Akwa Ibom Politics: The Magic of Udom’s Re-Election Against All Trials
Just so you know, this caption is not entirely original. God in crisis is the title of a 2005 booklet that was inspired in South Africa, but published and launched in Nigeria. The author, Pastor Ben Effiong who hails from my Local Government Area of Uruan, had invited me to chair the public presentation and even now -nearly a decade and a half after- I do remember the confusion that the title generated among friends, family and book lovers who had thronged the auditorium of Governor’s Office Annex, Wellington Bassey Way, Uyo. It was sad or funny or both to hear people condemn a book they hadn’t read.
They simply judged the book by its cover. A particular attendee went on and on about the need for people to first understand everything about anything they wanted to write on. He said he was alarmed that a man in his right senses could contemplate God being in crisis. Yet, at the end, he made a donation; something which attracted quite some laughter.
The foregoing deviation is to preempt or forewarn those who may be distracted by the title. Things are not always as they seem. The cover of a book may be a lie. It is not always that the caption of an entry says it all.
The point now made, let’s get on the same page by acknowledging that God is in no crisis, had never been, never shall be, and certainly not over Deacon Udom Emmanuel, the political outsider who miraculously in 2015 became Akwa Ibom state governor. Four years thence, Gov. Emmanuel has defied every odd, broken every record and shut every mouth. There’s not one area anyone would find this man wanting: his persona, his politics, his achievements, name them. The man of character, of restraint, and of peace has dotted the landscape of the south southern state with industries (fifteen and counting), networked the state with beautiful economic roads, created employment, crashed food prices not to forget establishing -the icing on the cake of superior performance- a commercial airline!
There’s no gainsaying the fact that Ibom Air is historic in itself, since it’s the first commercial airline to be established and operated by a state in Nigeria (or Africa?) especially at a time the country has none. The Akwa Ibom state chief executive deserves much more encomia for the mature, noiseless and strategically cautious planning that birthed or heralded its launch. No one -not even Nostradamus- saw it coming. And now, no one -not even the most fastidious cynic- can deny that this particular achievement is, as posited by former Commissioner for Transport, Dr. Godwin Ntuk Udeh, ‘end of discussion.’
Clearly, Akwa Ibom people (all of us) are determined to fly with Udom all the way to 2023. With the massive touch (a second runway) that he has added to the Victor Attah International Airport, everyone can see where the governor of vision and business and strategy is taking the state. Which explains why it was laughable that the same set of people who had shot themselves in the foot with the campaign slogan, ‘Akwa Ibom deserves the best’ could turn around on the eve of the last governorship election and seek to advise the Akwa Ibom electorate to choose someone else purportedly to align with the centre. These naysayers forgot that the way President Buhari Muhammadu is said to treasure financial and self discipline as well as agriculture, three areas in which the Akwa Ibom governor has scored A+, the All Progressives Congress president -had he been from Akwa Ibom- would have voted for Peoples Democratic Party’s Udom Emmanuel upon witnessing the monumental statecraft and value the ex-banker has brought to bear in the state, region and nationally!
However, today was not for politics -it still is not. Today was -and still is- for spiritual things; to showcase a leader in Nigeria who knows God and is also known by God. This governor of God has turned Government House, Uyo to a house of prayer. Gov. Udom Emmanuel makes God so real.
With him, I have seen that the Bible is spot on: God rewards those who diligently seek or truly know Him. Who has forgotten how the Supreme God showed up at the Supreme Court for this governor when all hope was lost? Who doesn’t remember how the man puts his godliness to test publicly and successfully per time? It might seem friivolous but here’s a man who announces that the rain would cease the moment he arrives, and pronto!
When the stakes get higher, God uses Gov. Udom Emmanuel to show Nigerian politicians great and mighty things which they knew not. Imagine the uncommon results of National Assembly elections in the state two Saturdays back, and indeed even his stylish reelection forty eight hours ago. Who would have believed that God had ordained a modern day Goliath-burying David and kept him in Uyo, of all places? Who has refused to learn from or surrender to the monstrous grace and monumental will of God in the life of this Onna-born governor?
The deacon governor, whose campaign mantra was divine mandate/only God, had asked citizens and residents not to fear or mind the untold intimidation by opponents who had only the so-called federal might to offer. He had assured that God shall release angels of peace everywhere in the state on March 9; which of course came to pass throwing the people into ubiquitous rejoicing never before seen. The can-do-ness of God in every crisis concerning Gov. Udom Emmanuel climaxed when his reelection, which even Abuja knew all along was a done deal waiting to happen, manifested without a single fatality. It’s a crying shame that Politics Nigeriana labelled this same state a flashpoint of interest!
God bless Akwa Ibom state of Nigeria!
The magic of elections 2019
Something fundamental has invaded our politics. There’s now unmistakable awareness among Nigerian voters. Blood and money are no longer that talismanic.
Perennial winners have lost, and vice versa. 2019 speaks to the ephemerality of everything human. It’s a tiny detail that might have profound effect in the continental quest to restore sanity and humility in the body politic!
With The Sun