By Iboro Otongaran
December 9, 2018
A day after Obong Nsima Ekere, APC governorship candidate for Akwa Ibom State, unveiled his memorandum of contract of service to Akwa Ibom people, Udom Gabariel Emmanuel, a deacon of Qua Iboe Church of Nigeria, published a three-page all-colour advertisement painstakingly detailing his scorecard as governor of the state for the past three and a half years.
I am particularly pleased to read the Udom-achievements-in-office advertising because it has provided answers to a lot of contentious claims and counter-claims of the past three odd years. The governor’s critics have risked limps and reputation at the hands of his hirelings, not least his cyber-courtiers, trying to hold the governor to account by pointing out that the man is a Lilliputian when it comes to performance, despite a surfeit of resources.
The critics’ case was not even helped by the fact that men known for sobriety in their public views on topical issues in the state and whose words are worth their weight in gold posted concurrences with the critics in their evaluations of the governor.
Despite all the harangues and name-calling, the critics held out, convinced that the enthymeme would end in a denouement that holds up their thesis, that the governor’s record in office, in every material particular, reminds one of the proverbial case of an elephant giving birth to an ant.
The denouement came on Tuesday, 4 December in Vanguard newspaper advertising entitled, “For growth and development, choose Udom.”
The advertisement listed the governor’s flagship achievements. In the words of the governor, they are: “Free and compulsory basic education in public schools [for the education of readers not familiar with the issue, free basic education in Akwa Ibom has been in place since 2007]; takeover of 17 secondary schools; construction and renovation of over 400 school blocks; establishment of Government Girls Model Secondary School, Ikot Ekang, Abak; facilitates the establishment of Army Secondary School, Efa, Etinan; facilitates the establishment of Nigerian Navy Military School, Ikot Ntuen, Ekparakwa, Oruk Anam LGA; payment of over N600m WAEC and NABTEB for indigenes in public secondary schools annually; 11,000ha of coconut plantation…” These are the flagship achievements of Governor Udom Emmanuel, in his own words, three and a half years on, and TWO TRILLION NAIRA BUDGET AFTER!!! He even appropriated into the list the hatchery in Uruan built by his predecessor.
The point is that if the governor publishes the list above as his flagship achievements in office, why are his cyber-courtiers baying for blood when critics say the governor has failed to make a difference, despite the abundance of resources? Big dreams and big projects, enablers of change and progress are part of the Akwa Ibom DNA.
It’s all there in Nsima Ekere’s contract with his people, the New Vision for Our Collective Prosperity, the people’s manifesto. The etok syndrome, which is the hallmark of the Udom Emmanuel administration, had since been exorcised from the Akwa Ibom DNA by a succession of bold and visionary leaders dating from Akpan Isemin of blessed memory. No governor should be allowed to resurrect it.Udom should therefore campaign on his record, and cease all efforts at blasphemy and the manipulation of ethnicity. His scorecard should speak for him; the scorecard of a visioning midget. He should go out and convince Akwa Ibom people to return him to the Hilltop Mansion because his administration paid exam fees for Akwa Ibom secondary school kids; because his administration started a coconut plantation which has basically withered away; because his administration “facilitated” the establishment of a Navy Secondary School in Ekparakwa.
Given this self-advertisement, the Udom Emmanuel administration has become a byword for failure. Akwa Ibom people cannot and should not reward failure.
They should reject the Udom Emmanuel administration along with its party, the PDP, at the polls in February and March because it is an unmitigated failure.
Failure is no longer part of the Akwa Ibom DNA.
Iboro Otongaran is the Deputy Chairman, Committee on Information & Strategic Communication, Akwa Ibom APC Campaign Council.