There is a Yoruba saying that the dog that would be lost would never hear the hunters whistle. But the hunter must blow his whistle all the same in the forlorn hope that his woebegone kennel might by some chance pick a strain of it.
For some months now, the relationship between the Akwa Ibom State Government (AKSG) and the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), has been frosty- to put it diplomatically.
The battle as declared by the AKSG has been fierce, intense and unrelenting, thus portraying the government as angry, cynical and misadvised. It was the perfect definition of disorder, the synonym of chaos, similar only to the Biblical Tower of Babel. It was a moment when hope collided with hatred, the misfortune of political fortunes. A moment when the brilliance of education was lacking, diplomacy was on sabbatical and wisdom was orphaned. The hate in the air has been savage and contagious.
For a moment, many Akwa Ibom people thought it was a nasty dream as the state was no longer governed by the rule of law but the politics of fear, objectivity became an unwelcome guest as the AKSG became most active in the ambitious but vain effort to pull down Obong Nsima Ekere, the NDDC Managing Director and destroy if possible the NDDC. Slowly but inexorably, the entire state was being put in a war footing.
As the war raged, fear stalked the land. Trepidation and uncertainty took over. But even as the AKSG refused to act with dispassion and maturity expected of an ally and partner, it was obvious to even someone with half an eye that all the crisis and tension was infected because of politics. 2019 politics or politics of 2019. Some discerning Akwa Ibom people kept laughing. Sardonic laughter? More like it. The kind of laughter you laugh when you should put your two hands on your head crying. The perfedy of lies and the hypocrisy of rivals were visibly on display. Nsima was lampooned, NDDC shewered, projects excoriated, contractors needled and inter-governmental collaboration disemboweled. Hope may not have been scattered to the forewinds, but it was evicted from its dwelling place.
Ironically, the more Nsima and NDDC came under state sponsored attack, the more Mr Ekere kept being focused, knowing fully well that this was an approaching hurricane and an apocalyptic meltdown that must be avoided for the good of Akwa Ibom people and the Niger Delta region.
Nsima thus decided to outwit, outplay, outmaneuver and outflank his critics by initiating reforms that has repositioned and strenghtened the Commission to fulfill and achieve its core mandate, believing in the philosophy that the best revolution are reforms that over long period become revolutions.
The truth remains you may love or loathe him. You may adore or abjure him. You may hate or honour him. You may vilify or venerate him. You may detest or deify him. But what you surely cannot do is to ignore Nsima Ekere. His ability to organise, to reform, to transform, to plan, to set targets and to get the work done despite the odds.
On Saturday, May 6, 2017, an eminent son of Akwa Ibom and pioneer NDDC Head of Corporate Affairs, Mr Anietie Usen was a guest on Inspiration FM Radio in Uyo, where he sewed for peace and better collaboration between the AKSG and NDDC. He spoke enthusiastically and with justifiable pride and passion about NDDC’s efforts at fulfilling its core mandate to Akwa Ibom state. It is hoped that Mr Usen’s admonition will diffuse the avoidable tension, restore better working relations and foster enhanced and effective closer ties and partnerships for the good of the people.
Many hope and pray that Usen’s gospel of peace should indeed bring about peace which has in recent weeks being in jeopardy. Will it? Pray that it endures. Cherish it whike it lasts. Onlt time will tell.
When a child falters and falls, it looks instinctively at what lies in front. But when elders stumble and fall, they cast a glance backwards. When the din of political commotion has receded, when tempers have cooled, when frayed nerves have calmed considerably, the State government will have to resume the dialogue, if not for our sake, for the sake of future Akwa Ibom children, for the sake of posterity and for the sake of a state who has contributed so much but has in the recent past being presumed not to have gotten much in return.
To my dear Governor, every society has a past that shames their present and a history that embarrasses. It is what is done to shape a present narrative to ensure a glorious future that separates one from the other. This is certainly not the time for unproductive anger.
Proverbially and symbolically, a fish starts rotting from the head. It is when the elite of a nation lose the cerebral capacity for a visionary conception of a better society and the capacity for moral imagination that a society begins to nosedive. This historic opportunity must not be lost to politics due to avoidable pride and ego.
The die is cast. The posturing is over. Now is the time for the real thing.