By Anthony Tom Inem
In September, 2015, Akwa Ibom State Governor, Udom Emmanuel fresh from being sworn in for his first term in office, launched an ambitious and audacious programme wrapped around an emotionally connected local phrase “Dakkada.”
Dakkada in the predominant local dialect means “Arise.” It was aimed at attitudinally, psychologically, mentally and morally, awakening a new consciousness on the part of the people of the State, especially the youths to tap into their inner souls and appropriate the latent talents and gifts God has embedded in us all.
For so long, the people of the State had been on a pity party, blaming their circumstance on a lot of factors except the main factor that determines success: our minds, our drive and our dash. The Governor went ahead to craft a well worded Dakkada Creed which again celebrates the greatness in us all and why we must and should rise to claim the greatness that is there in us all!
Today, almost five years after that programme was launched, the people of Akwa Ibom State have arisen to the faith of their greatness. The youths, women, elders and all across the social spectrum, Akwa Ibom people are using the works of their hands to make a living for themselves.
No more blame games, no more pity parties, no more waiting for government from cradle to grave to provide for their needs. From agriculture, to creative pursuits, the entrepreneurial spirit has been unfurled, youths are optimally engaged, which has neutered the restiveness that once defined them, market women and traders have been indoctrinated in positive ways to increase their earnings, interest free loans have been given and the sum total is a new mind set, predicated on growth and expansion.
On the moral side, the people have been made to understand and accept the concept of right and wrong and a new tone of engagement and interactions introduced across the layers of the society. There is civility in the land based on shared values and our common humanity. This has, in the process, brought about peace and tranquillity, helping the State to attract foreign investors and becoming the second State after Lagos to attract the most foreign direct investments according the National Bureau of Statistics.
Why did Governor Udom Emmanuel see the need to launch this all-important moral rebirth and renewal? The answer lies in his outlook on life and his views of the human nature. According to those close to the Governor, he has a genuine love, faith and belief in the capacity of the human spirit to inherently do good. He believes that every one that God has created has a unique part to play in shaping our collective destines and pathways to growth and the pursuit of happiness. He is a man of deep faith and Christian values and wants the best for everyone, no matter the circumstance of his or her birth.
As the world gradually begins to wake up from the comatose stage rendered by the fierce and deadly force of a Covic -19 and the attendant challenging economic times that will confront us all, Akwa Ibom people, from what has been seen since the Lockdown was partially lifted to enable the people stock up on their supplies have all risen up to the faith of their greatness. While obeying the guidelines announced by government, the people have risen in great spirits and are determined not to allow the pains associated with Corona virus dull their spirit of entrepreneurship.
The markets are filled with food items produced by the people, the optimism and hope for a better tomorrow now fill the air and they all owe this new infectious spirit of hope and growth to Governor Udom Emmanuel, whose dakkada philosophy today has come in handy. In the coming weeks, we will examine the great impacts this great awakening of spirits has done to ignite entrepreneurial drive and how it has deeply and profoundly changed the mind-set of the people of the State.
*Anthony Tom Inem is a public affairs analyst based in Uyo