– Akpan Jimmy
With the 2023 gubernatorial fever permeating further, the lead conversation has remained who will carry on with the task of leading Akwa Ibom State to the desired Eldorado, where we would have taken our rightful place in the comity of states designed to lead the nation’s socioeconomic and political rebirth. Daunting but achievable if people think assuming political positions less a birthright than a call to service, as the former will ruin our chances at clearly marshalling out what ideas should guide our sojourn; conscious that by the expiration of the current administration, we would have between 1999-2023 passed through the hands of two consummate professionals and a flamboyant politician as Governors.
A time to do more than excuses, this clearly would be especially as our democracy can no longer be termed nascent. Whether for reflection or repentance, it time we considered what and who, going forward should carry our mandate, and show class dispassion to ideologies of personal benefits to help the state leverage on our collective resolve for better days. In stating the obvious, we have tasted a bite of different models of leadership and are ripe for a hybrid deal of settling for a fellow who fits perfectly in the bill of professionalism, politics and community spiritedness, which are values that present the Nsit Ibom born oil and gas maverick and CEO of Desicon Group, Mr. Akanimo Udofia ahead of the pack.
Having in line missed several such opportunities, it will be unexplainable walking the street of missed opportunities again at a time the rest of the world have defined hope as good governance and climes other than ours celebrating such advantage of being able to recognize eggheads in leadership. There may be arguments on who deserves the Hilltop sit, but nobody at this point can truly guarantee that our next pick will not be a joker, but with Akanimo Udofia resides several bright shades of an enviable future, gleaning from successes he has in the last over two decades achieved around the globe, even in terrains considered as unfamiliar and hostile.
Attempting a mention of his feat at the helm of affairs of the Desicon Group is a valid testimony to the degree of ingenuity that sits on his shoulders, having taken the over four decade firm in the last two decades to enviable heights of global reckoning. In discussing his successes with Desicon, note must be taken that a number of people adjudged as successful made their mark working on projects and establishments they were never conferred the highest managerial roles. Whether it is about the Engineering or oil and gas fronts, mediocrity has nothing on Udofia who is committed to meeting clients’ needs through the most cost effective solutions; investing in the right minds for optimum results. Without delving into the thickness of his financial armour, Akanimo’s Forbes listing and several reputable recognitions are no consolation for nothing; but medals of his depth, reach and touch on the global entrepreneurial turf.
The ability to run the venture afloat, hitting plausible milestones is an affirmation that he will do better if handed more responsibilities; no one has ever built materials without the corresponding ability to build people, this is where divinity puts him forward as Akwa Ibom’s best bet. The ability to show empathy has never been so easy with businessmen, but for him, there are no holds barred with shading a piece of him to provide warmth for others. Little wonder how he has been able to carry on with fiscal responsibilities to his employers and even employing more at a time other competitors are laying off, to get reprieve from the prevailing inclement economic weather.
With less than two years to the 2023 elections, it is only Akan Udofia who has been able to marshal out what an idea of post Governor Udom Emmanuel governance should pattern after. Carefully leaning on his exposure and contact in the global market space, one has no doubt that the Desicon Boss will thoughtfully deploy all of his experiences to foster an economic base that will commensurate with citizens expectations across board. Truth be told, none of our socioeconomic challenges could be traced to him, but his stepping forward to the task of finding solutions goes beyond a heroic move to paint a future generations after us would not fail to appreciate.
With the current downward economic trend, Statista is projecting that Nigeria’s inflation by 2023 will be pegged at around 12.5%, while the Federal Government has benchmarked crude oil at forty dollar per barrel in its Medium Term Expenditure Framework and Fiscal Strategy paper for 2021-2023. These figures in the light of worsening national security and recurrent political suspicion promise little or no bliss and reminds of the urgency of settling for a leader who is home with managing men and resources; a fellow with Udofia’s velve and depth who will explore our boundless opportunities to keep us afloat if economic darkness ever threatens further.
Beyond oil, Akanimo understands ahead of time the prospects agriculture and tourism hold for Akwa Ibom and will invest more than a passing interest at getting the state take benefit from these global cash cow; a departure from the moon tales diversification our leaders have for far too long preached, without an iota of political will in getting to work. For this scion of Udofia’s dynasty firing from all cylinders to get agriculture working goes beyond food sufficiency, to stringing together all the comparative value we can derive from our agricultural ventures so we just do not exist as a consuming economy.
Considering the advantages of having agrobase industries to process and add value to our agricultural product is a possibility that perfectly sits on his plans, he is about the most refined mind that can pull together key players in the global food processing space to invest in Akwa Ibom. This for our farmers will birth a huge relief and stretch the current administration’s food policy beyond sufficiency to gainful storage and viability, so our farmers, like in other climes can enjoy the economic leap that is deserving of their efforts, while our state will be spared the shock of regional food cuts associated with local politics.
On tourism, he recently as a keynote speaker at a tourism stakeholders event proved his mettle as one who can develop a workable model in tourism appreciation to foster Akwa Ibom’s chances at changing the national tourism outlook. Armed with the intrigues of advancing a narrative that will make the state a cynosure for the global community, Akan is set to get the ball rolling. This he expressed in parts of his speech when he said “If I were just to mention a few of the unique qualities of tourism that excites me, first would be tourism’s high human and social development premium, especially catering for lower income earners, while the promotion of a vibrant, dynamic, and competitive economy that allows everyone equal opportunity will follow”.
The Desicon Boss will emerge as the strongest unifying factor in Akwa ibom’s political firmament, as he currently enjoys massive support, patronage and following across every political strata of the state. Given the PDP ticket he will scale up the party’s political fortune as he would sweat the party a lot less getting the needed popular support. More to his massive acceptance, it is common knowledge that in a political space where people barely get expressive, it is only Akanimo who has summed sufficient courage to put forward a foot for the Akwa Ibom plum job. This courage better defines capacity and readiness; pointing him as one who is mentally, morally, politically and economically ready for the deal, instead of join the band wagon of those still looking up to possible endorsement by some power circles.
Make no mistake about his resolve, 2023 politics with Akan Udofia has been more deliberate and definitive, going ahead of others to marshal out strategies and political structures while others have turned political aspiration to mathematical equations, where “x” the unknown variable must always be found. Unlike in mathematics, no succession deal without a workable manifesto should deserve the peoples attention, as we must roundly reject sacred cows in all forms and colours, if Akwa Ibom must be free from old chains. It will not be an easy push, but no sacrifice will be too much if we must build a society our children will be spared the wrath of our misadventure and greed.
Loyalty is no commodity found among cheap people, Akan has been tested on loyalty and proven fit as fiddle. On the line of business, friendship, politics and family, he has proven himself a loyal member of every circle he finds himself; as there is actually more loyalty to pay in the global business space where ingenuity, integrity and character does the game. A bankable virtue, Udofia’s loyalty is also palpable in the way he relates with family, friends and people who cannot reward his good deeds. In leadership he will definitely show the people all the loyalty a Governor should give, this would birth an era of mutual trust and shared prosperity.
In conclusion, mentioning his numerous infrastructural and social interventions would have better revealed the heart in the man, but the list will not only be endless, but would have betrayed the anonymity behind most of these interventions. Howbeit, there will be no harm in mentioning an event of the recent past, where a young job seeker, Iniubong Umoren was murdered; the rage, anger and rhetoric that followed is still fresh. It is worthy to conclude that till date Akanimo Udofia who offered a job to one of Iniubong’s sibling at Desicon Engineering, remains the only practical effort any politician or businessman made at extending succor to the family in their moment of grief; which has been widely celebrated, heralded and commended.
We have but this chance to get it all right; Akanimo Udofia is capable of opening our state to endless opportunities that will hand the citizenry a leadership that is both rewarding and consoling, if we will allow good conscience and patriotism guide our hearts to support the Akwa Ibom Prosperity Movement.
Akpan Jimmy is an Uyo based Writer and Political Analyst