Dan Etokidem

In Akwa Ibom State today and mostly within the state government, this is a season of political ego. The inability of the Governor and his allies to separate politics from governance, especially the phobia over 2019 is getting interestingly ridiculous.

Ordinarily this is a significantly symbolic moment for the state, having the NDDC Managing Director at this point in history. But the Udom regime is gradually turning it into a potentially dangerous moment. How do you mean? I will tell you.

Agreed the state has on its hands a disturbed and psychologically destabilized Governor who is unlikely to be in his right frame of mind to make rational and objective decisions and actions, there is need for great caution at this moment on the part of the Akwa Ibom State Government which is gradually loosing all sense of sanity and slowly moving from deeper distress to greater turmoil.

In another instance of poor and perverted logic, the State Commissioner of Works, Mr Ehpraim Inyang who perhaps is now an NDDC Supervisor, issued a press statement where he sounded helpless and pathetic. Indeed, there are no practical people of ideas in or close to Udom.

In a release on the Abak- Ikot Abasi road, the Works Commissioner said the Akwa Ibom State government is not in competition with the NDDC and has no reason to do so and that it is the desire of the Government and people of Akwa Ibom State that the NDDC being funded with resources from “our backyard”, should be encouraged to be alive with its responsibilities with tangible projects in our state.

He argues with some measure of mischievous ingenuity, that the NDDC should go ahead and award contract for the road to a reputable firm and mobilize the contractor to site, rather than sponsor media hogwash against the government of Akwa Ibom State.

Let me quote him directly in order for us to appreciate his dilemma. However, he said, “the Akwa Ibom State government will not tolerate the continuous use of the state for unnecessary political points that do our people no good. Let this road not be executed haphazardly as observed in several other roads of NDDC, especially since it is the only link way between Uyo, the state capital and Ikot Abasi, the home of the Industrial Park and Jetty project, Ibom Power Company and the Coconut Plantation and Refinery, as well as the East West Road that leads to Rivers State”.

Never in want of something dramatic to say, he continued: “The Abak – Ikot Abasi Road is a very essential project and nothing short of a standard dual carriage-way is being desired by the people, and so if the NDDC is ready to execute the project, it should go ahead and do so without restraint as the road is fast becoming a death trap, and an eye sore for users”.

You see, it is never a good idea to try to emerge from the dark age by using dark age tactics. Ehpraim’s analysis is both cynical and illogical. Unfortunately, the Akwa Ibom State Government has missed the point in the ongoing NDDC reforms and infrastructural revolution and those saddled with the responsibility of putting the regime on the sanity lane have become part of the problem. The Works Commissioner surely is in dire need of elementary lessons in logic. Frightened by the unprecedented rate of road rehabilitation, he agrees that road constructions are going on in Ewet Housing in Uyo but mischievously adds that they are sub standard. Welcome to the new world of Ephraim Inyang, NDDC’s new SA on Project Monitoring.

Is all this childish rivalry against the NDDC by the state government necessary if actually the focal point is development of the state for the benefit of her people? I have said repeatedly that the Udom regime is not helping itself seeing the Nsima led NDDC management as a threat than a development partner. It gets even more ridiculous when viewed against the background that the trio of Governor Udom Emmanuel, Works Commissioner; Ephraim Inyang and the Akwa Ibom NDDC Commissioner, Hon Samuel Frank are all from Onna LGA. Add that to the fact that the NDDC MD is also from the same senatorial district. Imagine the positive results that would have been achieved if there was synergy and collaboration between the State and the Commission rather than trying to enact a tension and crisis prone US vs North Korea scenario.

What the Governor seems to forget is that, in politics, once your heart is consumed by irrational hatred for a particular individual, you continue to make unforced political errors which will eventually prove fatal. The Udom regime forgets a fundamental principle; and that is- No one actually cares about the complexion of his rescuer until the danger has passed. To Akwa Ibom people, no one cares who constructs or rehabilitates the roads so long as it is fixed, repaired or constructed and it ameriolates their suffering. The time to ponder over who gave the people the road and reward the donor with “appreciation” has not yet come so why become paranoid?

No matter what the Udom and Ephraim Inyang of this world may think, the truth remains that while reality has become unrealistic under Udom Emmanuel and his narrow group of fuddy- duddy Commissioners and Advisers, with two years of astonishing ground breaking ceremonies, the Nsima Ekere led NDDC has in just six months demonstrated and proved that imagination can come to terms with creativity and reality in the Niger Delta region.

Under the PDP, before Nsima Ekere took over as MD, the scale of sharp practices in NDDC was simply too shocking to ignore and the sacred cows too gluttonous and brazen to leave anyone unconcerned. He came in and changed the story, sanitized the system and brought in reforms that are globally acclaimed. The results have already start bearing fruits in the region for even the blind to see, except of course, the duo of Governor Udom Emmanuel and Ephraim Inyang whom if indeed they listen, then it is apparently inattentive and they both probably confuses listening with attentiveness.

Sadly and regrettably, because of the 2019 reelection apprehension inflicting the Governor, the regime is acting in a manner that shows they are oblivious of the relationship between productivity, growth and development of the state. With the actions of the state government, one begins to wonder and ask; Is this as a result of illiteracy, ignorance or sheer buffoonery? Why all these irrational, irresponsible and indefensible actions and cold war? By exhibiting what is fast turning into executive hooliganism, the Akwa Ibom State Government only shows that it has humiliatingly lost the argument in terms of logic, facts and figures.

The situation is so bad and is threatening to become worse that we need fresh thinking, fresh initiatives and fresh dynamism towards taking advantage of this opportunity the state has in fostering a mutually beneficial relationship for the good of the people. Akwa Ibom people will readily admit that it is certainly not right to watch idly as another set of cocksure policymakers at the Hilltop Mansion gamble with our manifest destiny a second time in one generation. This antagonistic mindset and sort of thinking of the Udom regime towards the NDDC is a slippery slope that takes us no where. The message has failed to persuade or impress. The message is as flawed as the messenger.

Again to Governor Udom Emmanuel, while only him perhaps can say if this is one of his Business School Development Model which seeks to fight than collaborate with partners towards achieving accelerated development, he of all people should know that all modern nations are artificial creations summoned and willed into existence by the creative leap of consciousness and power of visionary imagining. But there are nations and there are nations. In other words, some nations are more artificial than others. The artificiality of a particular nation is a direct correlate of the artificiality, incoherence and inorganic nature of the elite thrown up by the nation.

But if I may ask, what kind of Akwa Ibom does Udom Emmanuel wants to create by perpetually being at war with the NDDC and being unable to separate development of state from 2019? Indeed, with the new Udom conspiracy against his government surely, the present is already compromised and the future itself is imperiled. But you see, in all of these, the good thing is, there are some devils working for good.

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