Robinson Umo praises Governor Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom State for retaining his deputy in his second term
The re-nomination of Mr. Moses Ekpo constitutes a major “nice thing” from Governor Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom State, Mr. Ekpo’s statutory and political alter-ego. Having in his first term ceaselessly promoted Mr. Ekpo as the best deputy governor in the country, it became an integrity issue whether the governor would be able to move beyond mere promotion and shake off palpable pressure for him to run with another candidate as deputy governor.
But why was the re-nomination that significant? Precisely because it made Mr. Emmanuel the very first governor in the state since 1999 to have gone into his second term with the same man as his running mate, thus sealing his status as a man of absolute integrity. It was, therefore, no surprise that at the polls later in the year, the people of the state enacted the second nice thing by preferring him to any other candidate, rightly judging that if his charity had so obviously began at his political home, he would have same to dispense in our larger home of Akwa Ibom, even at a discount.
The voice of the people is the voice of God! That was exactly what the judiciary attested with regards to the popular mandate given to Governor Emmanuel and his Deputy for a second term. First, it was the tribunal, then the Appeal Court, and finally the Supreme Court. To massage and reciprocate the supreme beatitude of the moment, Governor Emmanuel recorded yet another first by retaining his entire first-term cabinet.
Akwa Ibom witnessed several breath-taking things and the least we can do in appreciation here is to continue to count our blessings. And so we take Ibom Air, as well as an infrastructural and business wonder from the standpoint of our local Nigerian possibility, beating a national record in airline business feasibility.
For the Deputy Governor, a consummate communicator, a doyen of the media, and devout Christian of Catholic persuasion, Mr. Ekpo had intoned, the calm mirth with which he conveys seriousness of decision praying on his lips.
Given his very tight schedule, which included an oversea trip at the corner, my deductions were that the deputy governor could only undertake those media-related outings as crash programmes – and that
is what it turned out to be: the two events on the same day; one even lasting well into mid-night. Health and security equivalent of striking the rock twice, if you asked me; just like his Biblical namesake had done in the days of old.
But our modern day Moses stretched the limits in virtuous justification of the confidence reposed on him by the media in the state as its ambassador, as well as to prove the point that Governor Emmanuel means well for the state as indicated by these other nice things: the new deal in hospital infrastructure; the flour mill; rice mill; garri processing mill; the fertilizer blending company; the game-changer security move, resulting the cessation of hostilities in perennial flash-points across the state; its concomitant renaissance in infrastructure at the Ibagwa Barracks; and the upswing in plans towards actualizing the Ibom Deep Sea port project.
Also in the list is the attainment of the all-time high of over 1,700 km of economically viable road network constructed across the state; the unveiling of the long awaited biographical Holy Grail on our Deputy Governor titled, “Trials and Truimphs”; the state’s arrival in 2019 at the critical threshold in power-sector investment: the launching by Vice President Professor Yemi Osinbajo of the AKS “light for all” programme. What about the broad road-map on agriculture, and the others in solid minerals and sand exploitation, in addition to the action plan on education?
The Deputy Governor’s speech at the gala night and award ceremony marking the end of the 2019 Press Week fully attested to the above achievements: “I thank all of you, my colleagues, for considering me worthy of an Ambassadorial Award. Journalism is my first love, and the only way I can pay back for the tremendous opportunities it has availed me is to defend its sanctity to the best of my ability. My request to the succeeding generation of journalists is that you stick to the highest standards of the practice in order not to disappoint your ambassador.”
“A good turn deserves another,” he added. “The Udom Emmanuel administration is the first in Akwa Ibom to have patronized the media clan to the extent of assigning the Deputy Governor slot consecutively for two terms to a journalist. Whether the media in the state reciprocates this gesture by accordingly fraternizing with the administration, and doing all it can to ensure its success, will determine whether another administration in the future decides to copy Governor Emmanuel by co-opting a running mate from the media.”
And the clincher: “as your amabassador in government, my feed-back to you is that this administration means well in all spheres, and that the media should take ownership of it.”
And who would not take ownership of an administration which appropriately ended the year with “the ultimate nice thing”, which included the very novel Christmas Village initiative. On behalf of the Governor, the Deputy Governor had earlier flagged off the Christmas Village, carrying his media team with him. The team was obviously beaten by the aromatic bug from the barbecue at the village. When its principal was away from the state, the team virtually took a stand at the village – and here is how Esther Effiong, the senior information officer in the Deputy Governor’s Office justified that action.
“Our boss, His Excellency, the Deputy Governor, had called on the media in the state to take ownership of this administration. As his media team, we feel we should set the needed example. So we are here to relax, eat and take ownership.”
*Umo is a Media Aide to the Deputy Governor of Akwa Ibom State