Gov. Emmanuel: When Integrity Beckons On Leadership
By Uwemedimoh Umanah
Douglas Adams was correct in his assertion that “to give real service, you must add something which cannot be measured or bought with money, and that is sincerity and integrity”. Adam’s thought was/ is apt when considering the dynamics and requirements of contemporary leadership and governance, which have been the bane of Africa’s development. Poor leadership has accounted for the failure of most development initiatives, projects and paradigms in the entire African continent from the decades of independence till date.
Governor Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom State is a global leadership brand – an oasis in the desert, who decided to offer himself to the onerous task of giving the state a leap forward. Governor Emmanuel sees Akwa Ibom beyond the provision of critical infrastructure which the immediate past government made it’s focal point, this administration’s 5-point Agenda deepens the former’s by making job creation (reduction of unemployment and income inequality), it’s cardinal thrust, implying that there is a deliberate policy by the governor Emmanuel’s administration to ensure that the youth of Akwa Ibom are dislodged from the growing army of unemployed youth. Need anyone say that the Akwa Ibom Youth Economic Empowerment Scheme (AKEES) which is aimed at providing 10,000 jobs would be a success?
Need we doubt the feasibility of the avalanche of international investors on queue to open factories and employ thousands of Akwa Ibom youth? Are we still in doubt that Akwa Ibom State now enjoys more hours of electricity than even the federal capital territory, and that power is an equalizer for industrialization and the growth of businesses? Are we still in doubt that the rehabilitated peacock Paint factory is currently producing for offshore firms and that it has begun to create indirect employment to Akwa Ibomites? Are we still in doubt that the Coconut refinery and plants and the Ibaka Sea Port would create for the state more jobs than the civil service?
Never in the history of the Nigeria project has any society been so fortunate as the current dispensation in Akwa Ibom State, in that the administration came at a time the state was most desirous of sustainable livelihood and development.
Have we ever heard of the East Asian Economic Miracle and the Japanese Revolution under emperor Meiji? These societies simply took advantage of their needs and created a conducive environment for development. For Emperor Meiji, it was about evolving a system of functional partnership with the West, adoption of a free compulsory and qualitative education, land reforms and rapid industrialization which found expression in 1909.
Why was the Japanese revolution successful? It was because the leadership invested in sincerity and had integrity. It was not ready to compromise the revolution on the alter of political vendetta and witch haunting. Emperor Meiji did not engage in name- calling, mendacious blackmail and propaganda, as these cannot take any society forward; he simply created a roadmap and and stuck with a bold course of action- an unconventional business strategy and a unique product development roadmap. After all, John Stoessinger, a Professor of International Economic a Relations said that “Leadership is the brain of a state, as it alone is capable of maximizing other elements of power for enhanced capability…”.
Although the biblical saying that , “A prophet is not without honor except in his own town, among his relatives and in his own home” (Mark 6:4) is historically correct, it suffices to say that it’s high time Akwa Ibom celebrated this unique personality brand (Governor Udom Emmanuel) which is endowed on the state by God to take the state to its el dorado.
I have always prayed to God to give Akwa Ibom a Governor who would not be interested in where one comes from, leaders who would judge us based on the content of our character (what we can contribute to state building) rather than on who your brother is or where you come from. Above all, I, and very many Akwa Ibom indigenes have always prayed to God for a leader with programmes, pathbreaking ideas and globally acceptable corporate culture, capable of repositioning the system and people’s psyche toward enhanced productivity in accordance with best practice.
These are components of integrity which only Udom Emmanuel can have at this moment of history. Truth be told, Akwa Ibom is the path of greatness and socio- economic and political redemption and if asked, I would say, that I resoundingly endorse Governor Emmanuel for his capacity to invest his rare asset of integrity in state building.
Uwemedimoh Umanah, a Diplomatic Scholar, Peace & Conflict/Development/Public Affairs Expert, writes in this piece from Uyo