Though Governor Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom christens his administration “Divine Mandate” and currently pursues a second term with a watchword, “Only God”, this writer holds tenaciously to the belief that the governor’s tenure from May 29, 2015 is the people of Akwa Ibom’s mandate and if the bid for another term from May 29, 2019 to May 29, 2023 succeeds it would remain the peoples’ mandate. Since it is a human government, it is susceptible to wrongdoings.
Notwithstanding striving strenuously to live to the billings of “Udom is right”, which was his 2015 electioneering catch-phrase, a section of the public have had cause remarking that “Udom is wrong” in certain actions of his. One action of the governor in recent time that the court of public opinion never need forensic test before finding the governor guilty was disengagement of Udo Ekpenyong from his cabinet early this year.
Undoubtedly, the governor reserves the prerogative of disengaging any of his appointees whenever he wishes. Dropping Ekpenyong from his cabinet was considered wrong because the action, which was promptly carried out, was prompted by the governor’s predecessor against the wish of the governor. It was a reinforcement of perception by the governor’s critics in the build-up to 2015 elections that he was a proxy used by Godswill Akpabio for enforcement of his third term in office.
As I titled a piece on the subject posted by The Eagle Online and Factsreporter on February 12, 2018, it was “Udom’s bolt from the blue”, in that Ekpenyong, being one of his die-hard loyalists, was almost the last that could be expected to be fired while the administration lasts. That the action was taken obviously because of Ekpenyong’s failure or refusal to perform an act of obeisance to the godfather of the administration would serve as a guide to students of politics on how godfathers should be worshipped in public in order to preserve a political job.
In fact, though Ekpenyong was the one that was wronged he was made to look like a wrongdoer. It is doubtful whether up to two percent of those around him – his commissioner-colleagues, political associates, beneficiaries of his political patronages and, even, his aides – had rallied the needed solidarity support around him. Since political jobs are life elixir in our clime, not a few persons wondered why he could not lick the boot of the godfather either by bowing or kneeling or standing erect before the “commander-in-chief” of the politics of his state or answered “yes sir” even though his heart said “no sir” or all of the above.
Ironically, and fortunately for Ekpenyong, aside some social media activists, the governor, who gave him the boot, was the one that boosted his moral more and more until he was reinstated into the state Executive Council. Though he was made to pass another drilling at the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly, his reappointment is the righting of a wrong by the governor. And by that action, the boot is on the other foot.
Sacking Ekpenyong was evidentially one of the governor’s ways of appeasing the priests on the temple of his godfather. By relating deeper with him while he was no longer in his cabinet was the governor’s subtle style of righting his wrong. It was also Udom’s way of making a statement that his Creator had not deposited in his blood stream even a strand of being a total puppet in perpetuity. Further, it was reciprocating Ekpenyong’s unalloyed loyalty to Udom. Ekpenyong had dumped the idea among his young followers to dump Udom and the PDP for opposition.
With the whole circumstances, Udom has got what it takes to deliver a lecture anywhere on dividends and disadvantages inherent in godfather-ism in politics. In the build-up to the 2015 general elections Udom had been describing the backing of then Governor Akpabio as “a plus-plus”. On assumption of office after his election Udom must have realised that the support of a godfather to a godson in politics is a plus with multiple minuses. Since godfathers are not God and can, therefore, not lay claim to God’s unconditional benevolences they are vulnerable to human vices of insatiability and the godsons are those at the receiving end. It is even worsening in a case where political power becomes oxygen to a person, owing to his coming from nothing to something. May be, that is what informed Udom opting for “Only God” as the motto to drive his second term bid.
So far, though arguable, and may not be exactly 100 percent perfection as often mentioned by Uwemedimo Nwoko, the Akwa Ibom State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Udom’s rightness is having a rousing resume in the areas of human rights and open society, which distinguishingly differentiate democracy from other forms of government. As far as enthronement of justice and egalitarianism are the cruxes of concern, the government through the office of the chief law officer of the state, has made a paradigm shift in putting things right.
One case in point, which the state government has not even amplified, remains step taken by the government in ensuring justice is done regarding the murder of Okon Uwah, a former deputy speaker of the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly and APC House of Assembly candidate in 2015. He was killed in broad day light. Even after the state had successfully prosecuted the matter at the state High Court, it goes a step further by appealing a judgement that was considered a slap on the watch, the 14 years imprisonment handed four persons, including a PDP member and former Vice Chairman of one of the local government council in the state, over the murder of Uwah.
Since getting things done in a democratic setting is not achieved with an immediate-effect approach but through processes, the obtainable at the moment offers hope that many other wrongs done in the past and present could be put in the right path in no distance time provided Udom would not allow himself to be distracted by petty politicking.
•Ekanem, a journalist sent this piece from Lagos, firstname.lastname@example.org
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