Dan Etokidem

Hate like acid does more damage to the vessels stored than the object on which it is poured. – Ann Landers

Akwa Ibom State Governor, Udom Emmanuel will certainly be the first person to tell anyone who cares to listen that being a stooge is no tea party. Since he came to power he has not had a day of respite and he is unlikely to have a minute of respite anytime soon. His boyish optimism and utopian ideas notwithstanding.

The state is in for the final episode of the Udom’s drama: let the playwrights ink their pens, the caricaturists sharpen their pencils, and the satirists their wit as the untalented and insular banker who is too dazed to reason due to political disorientation is in turmoil. Like a mad and hungry dog, he may end up biting even the owner.

It is common knowledge that in the past months, Akwa Ibom State has been convulsed by a migration tremor on the scale of some epic Biblical exodus. Hordes of PDP chieftains slogged their way out of the party to where they believe and consider as fountain of restoration of hope and possibilities. This has left Udom fretting. Only a thin line is left between his sheer disorientation, utter hopelessness and gangsterism. With his own eyes, he realized that what he feared the most, political apocalypse engendered by his utter cluelessness, has come upon him barely two years in office with unremitting vengeance.

Someone must be held responsible for this and so he turns his frustrations to the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) where the Managing Director, Mr Nsima Ekere, is viewed not as a partner in the development agenda of the state and region but a threat to the Governor’s reelection in 2019 and therefore both the Commission and the MD must be destroyed at all cost. It can only get bizzare for Udom.

In his traditional approach to all his self inflicted agonies, Udom begins from the end and simply hope that the beginning will take care of itself. What a pity! Though held hostage by forces beyond his control and never allowed to be a normal human being, many expected him to at least, by now, have the natural wisdom and common sense to create beyond his own shortcomings rather than become paranoid and start seeing enemies where he should see partners and politics where he should see governance.

Though his fate is worse than what his kitchen cabinet are willing to tell him, Udom, the Akwa Ibom man of wild ironies and cruel contradictions should know better that labouring in vain to find a scapegoat in both the NDDC and Mr Nsima Ekere won’t save him. The gimmick is simply not working. I know its not easy for him as a person having realized that his political career is in turmoil due to his astonishing level of cluelessness, his political paralysis being diagnosed at the level of irreversible malignancy, and facing possible eviction in less than two years, like a bad dream, its naturally not easy to act with decency under the present narrative.

I won’t ascribe Udom’s deportment to lack of education, at least he went to school though his nightmare remains the restiveness of his own kind of education and the narrow-mindedness it fostered. He is educated but his education is deficient and completely inappropriate for the task he sets for himself and the needs of a state yearning for leadership and greatness.

I wont ascribe it either to lack of exposure and experience, at least we’re told he worked in Zenith bank before he was smuggled into government. His nightmare is much more fundamental. You see, when the center can no longer hold, you need to do everything possible to prevent your hopes and aspirations from falling apart. After all, a desperate disease needs a desperate cure but the methods used is as vital as the outcome.

The NDDC has in recent times performed exceedingly well in terms of roads and other infrastructures. No one except Udom can argue that. Nsima Ekere has not even started implementing his own budget but the 2016 budget he met on ground and the reforms he has initiated which have started yielding positive results. Even Udom if for once he can be honest to himself will admit that a new template has come to stay in NDDC as its no longer business as usual. This should have earned the NDDC management commendation and applause and a closer partnership and collaboration for the good of the people from a responsible state government especially from a Governor who by virtue of his office is an automatic member of the NDDC Advisory Council. But regrettably that is not the case.

What we have seen is a man with a psychological disorder, ready to pull down the house and set it on fire because of 2019, yet no one knows who God will keep alive till then or who may not even see 2018. The hand of God in the affairs of men is relegated and forgotten. How many of us are even sure we’ll be alive to see 2019? Are we God? Why not concentrate now on partnering with relevant stakeholders for the benefit of the people and allow 2019 take care of itself when the time comes?

Whenever Udom takes on the NDDC/ Nsima Ekere through his proxies out of frustration, one cannot but feel the heat of his anger, the passion of his discontent and the fury of his animosity. All this points to a man at war with himself, with a psychological deficiency that may lead to mental breakdown if not properly treated.

If the energy the Akwa Ibom State Government has put in to fight itself in the name of fighting NDDC/ Nsima Ekere was channeled into better collaboration and partnership the way other states in the region are doing, Akwa Ibom would have been better off. But the irrational and antagonistic attitude of the Governor notwithstanding, the Nsima Ekere led management of NDDC remains focused, determined and committed to ensuring Akwa Ibom and the region never remains the same in terms of development, empowerment, capacity building and entrepreneurship, unlike Mr Business School’s model of industrialization where due process has become dupe process, a dubious programme that has consumed so much but delivered so little.

Though Udom is in a quandary of sorts; blinded by emotion, tormented by fear, ruined by frustration, incapacitated by lack of common sense, overwhelmed by uncivilized pride, weighed down by arrogance, and lacking in decorum, the political realities staring at him notwithstanding, he must urgently find time to commune with his soul and reflect deeply on himself, his style and his future and quickly ask himself the simple question: What has become of me as a person?

The answers he gets if he properly evaluates the outcome will perhaps confirm to him that though occasionally, like all virus, he may go into a brief remiss, only a brief remission. But while such mutagenesis is only to pave way for the new Udom that is far more lethal and far more unstable, the interest of Akwa Ibom State is greater than any mans ambition, lest he may be consumed by the explosives he himself has set up and triggered but without any mechanism to intercept and control its destructive effects. Wasting your energy laboring in vain to destroy the NDDC and its management as a way to political survival is nothing but an exercise in futility.

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