Agony of A Misfit
By Edidiong Udobia
I thought deeply about the implications of responding to Joseph Okon’s disjointed and infantile rants. I thought about publicly responding to a dumbass SA to the Governor who should be sitting straight up in my class when I’m teaching my students essay writing. A dullard who should be paying rapt attention in my class when I’m teaching tenses and concord. I thought of how I’m going to help a toddler who can’t wear his own sandals but wants to untie the shoelaces of an elder. But I didn’t have to think for too long before figuring it out. Joseph Okon is not the first SA to the Governor who has tried experimenting with my name so whether I’ll be stooping low or stepping up, whoever needs my attention should get it.
Barely 3 months after Governor Udom Emmanuel’s reelection, there was a conversation in Ibom Telegraph WhatsApp group and I gave my honest opinion which disagreed with a certain policy of the government. Immediately, an SA to Governor took a screenshot of my comment and wrote a story, describing me as a ‘critic’ of the governor. He posted the story in the said WhatsApp group with his handle before sending it to his downliners to share widely. I responded to the story by simply asking the SA to bring all the articles he wrote (with his real name and not pseudo or through proxies) in support of the governor’s reelection to the WhatsApp group while I will do the same, and if it turns out that he had more articles to his name than me, I will gladly agree that I am a critic of the governor. Less than a minute after I posted my response, the said SA called me on phone and started blabbing about a non-existent friendship. That challenge is still open to anyone who wants to test himself. For what it’s worth, I’d like to know who I should bow and greet with two hands every time we meet.
Whether by his own making or through recommendations, the governor has been quite unfortunate to have a college of SAs populated by mediocre persons. Take Joseph Okon for instance. In all his years of being an SA to the Governor, cannot point to one single thing he has done outstandingly different to boost the image of his boss. The public can ask him to prove me wrong. In all his years of thrash writing in the name of promoting the Governor, Joseph Okon cannot brag of one piece that is half as good as my article on Ibom Air And The Pandemic. I dare him again to prove me wrong. Joseph Okon had become so irrelevant to the public that days after relaunching his forgotten self with his rants, many people are still unaware of the fact that he is actually a serving SA to the Governor. Again, owing to his unproductiveness and unusefulness to the administration, he was either chosen or he willingly offered himself as a sacrificial lamb to the cabal. After all, if he is good for nothing then he has nothing to lose and the team will lose nothing if they lose him. That is the tragedy of being a complete misfit.
As a complete failure which he is, Joseph Okon is jumping in between portfolios looking for whose shine to share. After years of serving as Special Assistant to the Governor on Project, Joseph Okon has no card to present to Akwa Ibom people let alone a scorecard. He is jumping around on Facebook claiming support for the Governor yet has failed woefully in his primary duty. He is on Facebook rebuking evil conspiracies against the governor when in reality, his woeful performance as SA makes him the chief evil conspirator. So the question is, who is doing the Governor a greater evil – an SA who goes home with a bogus salary every month but has nothing to show in terms of performance or ordinary citizens who only commend the Governor when they deem necessary? People are not exaggerating when they say that the Governor is a good man who is surrounded by despicable human beings. Joseph Okon is a perfect example. If this dumbass had sincerely committed himself to the task he was assigned by the Governor or has been putting half the effort some of his colleagues in other portfolios have dedicated to their responsibilities, the mass ridicule against most of the governor’s projects would have probably reduced. The government has underestimated the impact of this one weak link and that is on them.
Probably, one of the dumbest things to hear in a free society like ours is that citizens ought to lose their right to free speech because they are associated with people in government. This has been the central message of Joseph Okon’s rants. Perhaps, there is need to remind the baby ranter that there is a clear difference between election and governance. All over the world, election is a very decisive and critical time in every society in which nobody regardless of their ideology can afford to be neutral. Media practitioners, activists, clergymen, academicians, etc, are first citizens who are eligible voters so during elections they must take sides. Once the election is over and governance begins, everyone returns to their duty post. Citizens go back to being citizens demanding democratic dividends. Government spokespersons go back to speaking for the government. Activists go back to their activism and so on. That people take side with one candidate during election does not mean they have forfeited their fundamental rights as citizens. So, that I wholeheartedly supported Governor Udom Emmanuel during his reelection and in the process established relationships with people in the government does not mean I gave up my rights (whether in part or full) as a citizen of Akwa Ibom.
My critical opinions against the government are problems just because there are too many lazy ass and intellectually deficient folks in the government media who lack the mental strength and intellectual stamina to counter my opinions with facts. And so, to fulfil Socrates’ words that “When the debate is lost, slander becomes the tool of the loser”, these folks resort to the only thing they know how to do best; blackmail. Let me state it categorically clear that at no point did I exchange my right to free speech for any relationship, and if there is any relationship (perceived or real) with the aim of turning me to a retard, I will not hesitate to exchange it for a plate of sumptuous red oil rice garnished with smoked fish. So, these desperate folks can label me after anybody or anything they wish until kingdom come, my opinions will always remain products of divine inspiration. I have utmost respect for people I find deserving, I give listening ears to those who have sensible things to say but at the end of the day, what will really matter will be the outcome of my meeting with God and the heavenly host.
Before embarking on an infantile adventure of finding who and what to blame for their problems, government appointees should first of all outline their performance before the public in terms of measurable impacts rather than continue giving lame excuses. Akwa Ibom people were wise enough when they overwhelmingly supported Governor Udom Emmanuel’s reelection against all odds, and they are still wise enough to give a valid verdict on the governor’s performance and that of his appointees without any sugarcoating. Their love has a face and their anger has a taste so whichever emotion they presently have for the government can be felt. This is not a function of what Edidiong Udobia writes or does not write but the outcome of the realities on ground. It is therefore absolutely impossible for a dumbass SA to use my name built from years of consistency, dedication and hardwork to bring his dead, buried and forgotten name back to life. So, Joseph Okon, choose your playground wisely because on this turf, I will damage you beyond repairs.
One more thing; ANYONE ELSE?