Udom Emmanuel: The Audacity Of An Idea Whose Time Is Now
When Victor Marie Hugo, French poet and writer posited, “No army can stop an idea whose time has come”, he either had presumably weathered cruel moments of having to grope in the dark tunnel of suffocating cynicism or was privy to the testimonies of those whose inspired dreams survived the murky waters of destructive criticism, blackmail and condemnation. Inspiring as that may sound; it is pertinent to note that projecting even the loftiest of ideas to that glorious dawn is never a walk in the park.
Nevertheless, an idea whose time has come always triumph; blunting the edges of scepticism and opening vintages of limitless opportunities. It breathes life into slumbering circumstances and reinvigorates a conviction strong enough to silence all ill-conceived inconsistencies; an irrevocable confirmation as to why nothing else was ever so intensely compelling.
More often than not and sometimes painfully too, resisting anything new, especially that which seems to unsettle the comfort of his self-made cocoon, has been man’s inherent predisposition; even that which seeks to add value to life and avert imminent danger. The negative voices which greeted the Federal Road Safety Corp directive that all passengers sit astride as well as wear helmet while riding on motorcycle for obvious reasons of averting avoidable mishaps readily comes to mind.
In a related case, the public outcry and condemnation that greeted the ban on commercial motorcycle ‘Okada’ operation (especially by the operators) in Uyo metropolis by Akwa Ibom State government some years ago tells a sad story of man’s insistence on the status quo, perilous as it may be. In fact, it is still a widely held notion that the silent but lingering snit against the ban on ‘Okada’ may have fuelled the violent riot masked as inter-political party clash between PDP and the defunct ACN in Uyo that led to wanton loss of lives and properties in the wake of 2011 general elections.
Not deterred by those insensitive outcries and myopic condemnation, the administration enforced the ban, but not without palliatives of exchanging motorcycles for compensation to those operators affected. Today, there is an amazing departure from the sordid tale of those dark days of broad daylight atrocities perpetrated with the use of Okada in Uyo and many other beautiful stories to tell.
For instance, it is interesting to know that most of those motorcycle or ‘Okada’ owners are now proud owners of tricycles (KEKE), taxi cars and/or kombi buses. This, beyond elevating their social statuses and offering reprieve from the fangs of ailments traceable to exposure to the scorching sun and deadening cold from wind or rain while plying their trade, has increased their daily income as they now carry more passengers at once and their operation unhindered in the rain.
Again, when one considers the imminent dangers associated with motorcycle’s susceptibility to accident in the metropolis city compared to other vehicles plying the roads and the vulnerability of the victims thereof, the ban on Okada has been seen to be a major factor behind the drastic reduction in orthopaedic cases in hospitals and traditional bone healers’ homes.
Remarkably too, the erstwhile Okada operators have long seized to be innocent victims of stray bullets during armed robbery attacks or even losing a day’s toil, motorcycles’ and even their lives to men of the underworld. Overall, apart from the security operatives, the security of lives and properties enjoyed by residents of Uyo metropolis can largely be attributed to that unyielding stance on the ban on commercial motorcycle.
The illustration above would readily jog our consciousness to an understanding that the benefits of a good initiative in the long run immensely outweighs the temporary unsettling effect it might have in life situations. It paints a beautiful picture of the compelling power of an idea whose time had come. Yet, the point to note here is that those who would rather cling unto the old order are, more often than not, the greatest beneficiaries of the new.
When Mr. Udom Gabriel Emmanuel indicated interest run for the top job at the hilltop mansion, the predisposition of man to be inherently averse to a new order, which he (Udom) represents, came to the fore. While some people perhaps may have been understandably worried about how he would swim with murky waters of Akwa Ibom politics often characterised by high profile blackmail, mudslinging, character assassination, and pull-him-down syndrome, advancing the cause that represents their personal gains above equity, fairness and the common good of the people betrayed their selfishness.
Fortunately, the well-adjusted character foisted by Udom’s good upbringing had equipped him with the discipline, propriety and prudence required to function distinguishably in the banking sector as he did; a trait that saw him rise to the echelons in his career and was visibly evident in the dexterity and commitment Secretary to State Government.
Considering the regimented discretion required in managing one’s personal finances, providing such services to keep various businesses afloat amidst of uncertainties, is no child’s play. Therefore, men like Udom Emmanuel who come out of the banking sector, taking with them unruffled image and integrity, readily win the trust of members of the society and are most-certainly deserving of commendation.
Thereby undiscouraged by the crude sentiments and propagandise scheming advanced by those who could not see beyond the limit of their minds, Akwa Ibomites clairvoyantly entrusted Mr. Udom Emmanuel’s with their mandate and today the Governor’s financial management expertise has been brought to bear to put Akwa Ibom State on vantage miles ahead of others in this recessed economy.
However, since the wheels of scepticism are constantly lubricated with the oil of unceasing knack for faultfinding, it is in the character of scepticsts to subject even the glowing attributes of Gov. Udom Emmanuel to test in the fierce furnace of their incredulous crucible. They opined that Udom Emmanuel’s had no capacity to function in a public sector since the private sector contributed the most to his vast experiential crux.
However, although their fears must have been drowned in the seas of current realities of the Governor’s superlative performance, Confucius assertion that “The strength of a nation drives from integrity of the home” is worthy of note. What this emphasises is that a man’s private life, just as the private sector, may be his private business yet it is an integral part of a greater whole, the public. Therefore, any man who performs creditably in the private sector would need no magic wand to do well in the public domain. Gov. Udom Emmanuel excelled in the private sector because he exhibited outstanding leadership qualities.
Again, they queried his capacity to understand the politics and political landscape of Akwa Ibom having flied his trade outside the State. But through strategic projects selection and distribution, social integration and political inclusion, and social reawakening as championed in the Dákaádá philosophy, Gov. Udom Emmanuel has responded by showing that the indices for human and infrastructural development are the same all over the world and the key to understanding even the most complex puzzle or situation is the willingness to learn.
Although no man is born with politician as a nametag, Aristotle’ in one of his legendary submission posited that man is a political animal. This attests to why politics permeates every sphere of human endeavour. Therefore, if the saying “Money is power” is anything to go by, then handling politics in the banking/financial sector should be more Herculean. Therefore, Udom Emmanuel’s ability to hold out in the banking sector (a zone roundly dominated and controlled by other ethnic nationalities) and even emerged tops amidst of people of diverse background working assiduously to protect their personal, ethnic or clandestine interest embellishes the radiance of his strong credential.
In Nigeria today, while most State governments adduce the non-payment of workers’ salaries and entitlements to the economic recession plaguing the nation, after collecting bailout funds from the Federal Government, Akwa Ibom State has remained a shining light in prompt payment of workers’ entitlements, even without such incentives.
Interestingly too, Gov. Udom Emmanuel’s administration has ventured into unconventional development programmes such as Electric Meter production, Syringe manufacturing, coconut plantation and Refinery, Pencil production, etc. These novelty initiatives aimed at repositioning the State have received resounding accolades from far and near.
The Electricity Injection base station, a laudable vision of this superior performance administration, now guarantees about 18 hours of power supply daily in Uyo and its environs to alleviate the suffering of residents as well as business owners in the area that accounts for majority of Small and Medium Scale businesses (SMEs) in the State.
Although there are other bold strides in infrastructural, human, and agricultural development initiatives dotting the length and breadth of the State, Mr. Udom Emmanuel’s industrialisation drive has earned strong points that are elevating Akwa Ibom to an enviable pedestal in the committee of States. Little wonder the National Bureau of Statistics’ report recently placed Akwa Ibom as the leading State that has attracted the highest Foreign Investment capital, only second to Lagos State.
The large-scale production of agricultural produce for which Akwa Ibom climatic and soil condition support remains a fundamental pillar for an Agro-base industrial revolution. To this end, Gov. Udom Emmanuel’s silent but pragmatic investment in the establishment of coconut plantation, ranch and hatchery; rejuvenation initiative to increase cocoa yield; investment in high yielding seedlings /stems to boost rice, cassava and vegetable production and others could be seen as emphatic steps that will embolden Akwa Ibom’s place in investors destination map.
Today, the journey to infrastructural renaissance, industrial revolution and social reawakening conspicuously championed by a man whose experiential background imbues him with the wherewithal to effectively harness the rich human and material resources towards galvanising Akwa Ibom State into a viable private sector driven economy is gaining momentum. Little wonder why most of those who opposed Mr. Udom Emmanuel’s gubernatorial ambition have since come to align with his compelling vision for a greater Akwa Ibom.
The pockets of discontentment notwithstanding, the focused and purpose-driven leadership thrust sturdily demonstrated by the 2016 Leadership Newspaper Governor of the Year, Mr. Udom Emmanuel, attests to the fact that when a man harkens the call to leadership with sincerity, dedication and passion to serve, he does not need forever to create feasible development trajectory and deliver his campaign promises.
Consequently, the adroitness of Hugo’s inspirational ideology and its latent wisdom infers that an idea whose time has come inherently possess the magical power that can rekindle flailing hope, trump crude ideologies and create an unstoppable chain of inspiring events.
Udom Emmanuel is that idea whose time is now
…Don Archibong is a Media Consultant and Chairman, Akwa Ibom State Youth Caucus, Uruan Chapter.