– Samuel Ayara
As with money, precious metals, dated wines, strawberries and nuts, commodities of high value and demand have from the time of life; when light replaced darkness remained in short supply. This pretty explains why people who are blessed with certain possessions do not mind breaking the bank to keep them safe. We hear everyday the gift of men towers above the aforementioned and wonder how much good men who have committed to impacting lives are worth. Whether at work, home, community and in the market places these values do not vary, the most religious of men are the ones who love to live their best, everyday.
A listing of such men who regardless of what life throws them still think beyond the storm would hardly miss the mention of Prince Enobong Uwah, whose recent appointment as Secretary to the Akwa Ibom State Government stirred a sensation in the sociopolitical landscape of the state, as a gesture that ticked the right boxes. Having grown through known rungs of attainments, both the internet and streets could not resist the flame from the outpour of commendations across various strata of our social construct; which agreed in wholesale that everyone loves Hammer.
This scion of the Uwah dynasty of Atan Offot must have earlier in life prepared for this palpable greatness, having come from the parentage of astute educational administrators (though deceased) who saw the zenith of their careers in the same period another of the Uwah’s, Chief Aniefiok Uwah held sway as a seasoned hand in public administration. The notable contributions of this family have availed the evolution of public administration in the state a fit-footing that can safely admit Prince Uwah to the table that discusses contemporary public administration.
Inemesit Ina in a recent article titled “Hammer House of Politics” did so much justice to the person and character of the man the social space love to call Hammer. In the said article Ina brought his readers to speed on the SSG’s rising political profile, but not without the mention that he actually started as a Geography teacher. That revelation may have on its merit triggered a revisiting of essence, with the subject area being “the study of the physical features of the earth and its atmostphere, and of human activities as it affects and is affected by distribution of population, resources, political and economic activities”. These much define Enobong Uwah, calling to mind the need for more geography teachers in the public space.
Enough said, his sense of geography must have conspired with his sterling character to transport him to this acclaim. He did not happen to greatness, but carefully trailed a path he was sure would lead him deep into it. This reminds me of my boyhood days when from a distance I struck admiration for Hammer who regularly visited the quiet neighbourhood of Independence Avenue in Abak, with friends who were ambitious enough at the time to pass for role models to our younger generations. They dared and did more than the succeeding generation could brave.
Between my meeting him as a boy and growing to him as a man, I have not come by many people with his strand of mien; calm, calculable, serene and urbane. These values in presenting him as hospitable and comely in many ways explain why his small space is never without people, what he lacks in wealth is made up for in gift of men. Such peopled disposition may account for his sustained staying power, as not much would better explain how a man who lost election to the State House of Assembly in 2011 has remained more relevant than most of those who eventually won. How he does it, should be studied and internalized.
Then came a 2014 experience at Ibom hall, when the late Dr. Val Attah in an attempt to reconcile the no love lost situation between Enobong Uwah and Ekerette Ekpenyong during the Uyo federal constituency town hall meeting pointed the entire state to what glory laid ahead of Uyo, if, in his words “two of their shining lights found the common grounds of working together”. The development expert would be turning in his grave today, that the duo are working together, with the return of the former Uyo Chairman to the Peoples Democratic Party, and at a time Uyo under Uwah’s leadership more than ever has expanded the leadership table to accommodate more leaders. The highest number of votes they gave the Peoples Democratic Party in the 2023 governorship election, save for coordinated leadership, could not have happened as a volcano.
If resourcefulness was an outfit, Prince Uwah would walk the street clad in it. Excellent scores from his previous engagements are valid testimonies in this regard; from the clinical delivery of the green brigade scheme of the State Ministry of Environment, to urban interventions that saw to the changing fortunes of the St. Luke’s Hospital, Anua, and breathing life into Dakkada Secretariat which until his touch laid in ruins, Uwah has shown lots of success can be achieved if the mind is put to it. His core expertise lies in succeeding even on turfs that scream failure in its loudest.
The Peoples Democratic Party state secretariat could prior to its completion pass for a white elephant, even the permanent office building for the Uyo Capital City Development Authority felt the velve from his touch, decades after its establishment. In leaving every environment better than he met it, countless several are already keeping a close count of what will happen to the office of the Secretary to the State Government when his time is up. There is no gain saying he will in his usual manner up the game and change the narratives in a manner the state will be proud to identify with.
That “real recognizes real” more aptly justifies Governor Umo Eno’s choice of Uwah. Twice as Secretary of very engaging and gallantly fought gubernatorial campaigns, in addition to serving as Secretary of the Maintain Peace Movement, Enobong Uwah must have purged himself of mediocrity in the class act of mandate delivery. Not your everyday politician, but finding high administrative and managerial acumen in addition to a huge social capital in a politician is a clear reminder of Abraham Lincoln’s attempt to differentiate dedicated leaders from selfish politicians.
Looking beyong the favour from Governor Umo Eno, Uwah is reporting to duty favoured by political correctness, public service records, street credibility and ability to get the job done. These much have become the melting point for every interest, as seen in the number of raised thumbs the appointment has recorded. As with the storm preceding the rainbow, everything that happened openly or remotely were only intended to beautify the rainbow and paint the happy hour a colourful canvas. The coordination in a fortnight, including last Sunday’s Interdenominational Thanksgiving Service at the Ibom Hall grounds are only a tip of the iceberg.
Samuel Ayara writes from Ibong Otoro in Abak LGA