Recently, Governor Udom Emmanuel fulfilled yet another electioneering promise to the people of Akwa Ibom State when he hosted past governors and deputy governors of the state at government house in Uyo.
Those in attendance were the second elected governor of the state, Obong Victor Attah; his deputies Obong Chris Ekpenyong and Sir Michael Udofia and the immediate past deputy governor Noble Lady Valerie Obot, as well as the first elected deputy governor, Sir Etim Okpoyo. For Obong Victor Attah, it was a return to government house officially for the first time, ten years after he left office, a memorable experience for a man who once superintended the state for eight uninterrupted years.
For Governor Emmanuel, it was a victory for his sincerity and steadfastness in providing a melting point for all stakeholders to share in the task of repositioning the state for greater days. The governor, it could be noted, came into power with a five point agenda of which economic and political inclusion stood out.
In less than two years as the Chief Executive of the state, he has redefined leadership to the admiration of all and sundry by throwing open the doors of the government house for all Akwa Ibom people irrespective of political affiliations. For the entire world, this is a study of politics without bitterness, politics of sportsmanship, politics of no winner no vanquish, the philosophy of Governor Emmanuel, where the interest of the people form the fulcrum of leadership.
Earlier this year, Governor Emmanuel had played host to Engr. Ben Ukpong, the former deputy governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress, APC, where he congratulated him on his emergence as a commissioner in the National Population Commission.
Governor Udom Emmanuel sees the development of the entire state as a task for all Akwa Ibom people. The recent meeting may not come as a surprise to many considering that they are senior citizens on one hand and secondly, Emmanuel has shown character and sincerity in his unity agenda for the state. This was noticed during the visit of Mr Umana Okon Umana his former opponent and governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress in the 2015 general elections. It was an opportunity for the Governor who introduced his vision to explore and harness the rich coastal heritage of the state, by developing the Ibom deep seaport, industrial city and jetty projects, to enhance marine transportation in the state. This prompted Mr Umana, the Managing Director of the Oil and Gas Trade Zone to agree to partner the state government to actualize some of these visions.
Even the most ardent political philosophers have been stunned by Governor Emmanuel’s enterprising team spirit, as they had perhaps thought that the governor will keep all perceived political opponents at bare especially considering the dogged fight they had put up in respect of the coveted seat, until the Supreme God, through the supreme court of the land decided end the protracted purposeless battle. Malice could be obtained from any other leader, but not Governor Emmanuel who has shown magnanimity in victory and clearly demonstrated a willingness to provide a pedestal for the cross fertilization of ideas from all and sundry.
Apart from meetings with different stakeholders in the Akwa Ibom project, Governor Udom Emmanuel has also demonstrated his belief in political inclusiveness by way of project execution in the state.
Today there is no section of the state that has not been visited with life-touching projects, irrespective of their stance in the last general elections. His administration has also taken it upon itself to complete some projects that could not be completed by past administrations in the state.
For instance, the 10th anniversary hotel project initiated by the administration of Late Navy Captain Joseph Adeusi in 1997, had since been completed and now serves as the State Secretariat Annex. Similarly, the popular Etebi-Enwang Road connecting Mbo with Esit Eket local government, and the Uyo –Ikot Ekpene road initiated by the immediate past administration of Obong Godswill Akpabio in addition to many other projects which are receiving maximum attention from the government. His concern is how to develop the state quickly and this cannot be done in isolation of key stakeholders across the state. In treating the business of government as a continuum, Governor Emmanuel thinks of the benefits that would come to generations of Akwa Ibom young people, as oppose to political gladiators who are most concerned about the next elections. It is not of Emmanuel’s concern who takes the credit, as long as the programmes or projects are in line with his avowed pledge to provide wealth, jobs and alleviate poverty.
It would be recalled that the Governor had told Akwa Ibom people after the nail of finality on his mandate by the Supreme Court, that the period of politics is over and it was time for governance. He has stepped further to throw open his doors to run an all-inclusive governance, in line with his Dakkada philosophy that everyone should rise above all elements of divisiveness such as ethnicity, politics, gender, and other forms of human and natural impediments.
Social commentators who have been observing the current trend in the leadership of the state, have variously admitted that this will go a long way to closing unnecessary cracks in the unity of all sections of the state. First, supporters of each of the past leader will now be encouraged by the smooth communication and will have little or no option than to also jump into the large and comfortable umbrella of unity in the state.
Getting closer to the seat of authority also enables the former leaders as opinion moulders, the access to firsthand information on the progress and developments currently being witnessed in the state under the Governor Udom Emmanuel –led administration. With the bridging of the communication lacuna, it is also easy for their undiluted suggestions to get to the ears of the listening governor, which cements their positions as active stakeholders in the Akwa Ibom project. This also places on them the responsibility of suing for peace from everyone in the state, and clamouring support for the present government to succeed.
Mr Udom Emmanuel has displayed an unparalleled quality as a humble and listening governor. It must be noted, that he has constantly told everyone that he is a governor of all Akwa Ibom people, irrespective of political affiliation.
It is common scenes nowadays to see the governor embracing and exchanging pleasantries with all his indigenous predecessors at government functions in the state, be it the recent burial of the Oku Ibom Ibibio 111, the Pan Niger Delta forum assemblage in Uyo, or other states functions at government house.
It is not difficult to induce from the expressions on the faces of theses political stakeholders that Akwa Ibom is in for better days as there is a synergy between the past and the present that have converged to chart a cause for a better Akwa Ibom of our dreams.
Indeed, Governor Udom Emmanual is leaving no stone unturned in fulfilling his promises to the people. He has kept faith in the area of infrastructure consolidation and expansion, as well as economic and political inclusion. No wonder the Leadership Newspaper found him worthy and honoured him as the best governor in Nigeria for the year 2016.
Behold Emmanuel, a modern day leader who can aptly be described as an icon of peace and unity.
By Essien Ndueso