– Samuel Ayara
Deepening the call for reward and inclusivity have not found any deeper expression than last week’s announcement by Governor Umo Eno, that his government is appointing Personal Aides from the 329 wards at a thank you visit to the leadership and stakeholders of the Peoples Democratic Party. In the exciting atmosphere that ensued, thousands of minds must have skimmed through who in their wards would report as beneficiaries of the governor’s gesture, while discerning minds saw a man ready to not only return power to the people, but hand them a prime role in his ARISE Agenda. Another slim majority must have gotten the message clearer when the Governor said “we will grow the people and deepen rural development”. This is a level of patronage the party, since formation has never enjoyed in the state.
Probing the worth of Governor Eno’s peopled agenda triggered the ponder on how much leaders and followers cared about the future in their convictions; actions or opinions. This thought warmed my curiousity at what could have become of the State if most of the phantom cases against the Golden boy had succeeded, especially as I had earlier same day observed proceedings at the Governorship Election Petition Tribunal, where Senator Bassey Albert in his witness examination took to circles of unprovable rhetorics in his matter against Pastor Umo Eno. The petitioner’s inability to substantiate his dissent either against outcome of the March 18 Governorship election or the winner’s academic records threw shades at the veracity of information they ran to town with just for reason of wanting to be heard.
Both in private or public life; regardless of convictions and ambitions, the place of substance in achieving great feats can certainly not be ignored. Every dream is thought valid, but only the manifestation of its substance can truly give it expression. Governor Umo Eno must have known before time the need to fixate his gaze on the ball than be distracted by shy noises conscious that the fury sounds would decline in decibels when challenged with sane facts and realities. This probably explains why he committed more to giving flesh to the ARISE Agenda in his countless pre and post-election conversations, where approachable and workable solutions were thought and worked out at the same time others committed to firing blank.
Preparing and hoping for his time has in the last one month given the governor out as a man whose time has come. Whether in his steady traction at getting tangible work done or sieving valuables from the intangibles of his conviction, he is completely sold out to changing the Akwa Ibom narrative. Little wonder why the conventional first one hundred days in office fever has nothing on him, as such would have seen him stray into unsustainable moves and proclamations. At his worst, Akwa Ibom State in departure from the eruptive styled leadership experienced in other climes, will be counting substantial gains in peace building and collaborations. This probably explains the quietness in our transition which has been devoid of noisome grandstandings and pronouncements of sweet nothings.
Identifying the direction in his work, growth and sustainability promises; with the priority accorded education, healthcare, rural development and agriculture have on immutable scores signposted the administration as giving one of the most ambitious attention these sectors can in recent years boast of. If we have a cluster that is still muddled in baseless minors despite the administration’s poise to give more for the price of one, then it would be safe to conclude that such lots are sold to mediocrity. Far be it, that the sleeves are rolled for optics; the golden era more than giving a good account of itself is big on leading a state that progresses on several counts, with an ambition to lead the African renaissance.
With the promise of integrated farm settlements in the green belts of the state, Governor Eno holds out the giant ambition of getting so much done in a breathe. This much is evident in his obvious strides in agricultural development as the fulcrum that oscillates our much anticipated socioeconomic acclaim. From roads to education, healthcare, and social utilities to enable productive living, this administration has found in agriculture a forte that can push the check buttons on other critical sectors to turn around Akwa Ibom State’s economy.
Had this come from a man other than the Nsit Ubium born entrepreneur who found the fortune of sitting on the state’s investment corporation as Executive Director of agricultural investments, many would have doubted both the passion and intention. Recounting the on the spot visit to the Ibom Greenfarms facility and the journey to partnering the Turkiye group for agricultural development in the state, in addition to re-energizing the Dakadda Global Oil palm farm and breathing life to hitherto unthought rural roads in Nsit Ibom and Ibesikpo Asutan LGAs, through the RAAMP project, it is unequivocal that the state has adequately positioned for the global earner.
With the hydraheaded monster of epileptic public power threatening the foundations of SMEs, the recent visit to the Ibom Power Plant on the heels of the policy tweak in the nation’s power sector could have been a facade for a less passionate leader, as impacts of such visits would have been sure to end with his exit from the facility. Certainly not Governor Umo Eno whose commitment to getting things done has clearly set apart as a one-size-fit-all solution to issues of development and sustainability in such a way that his view and opinion on challenging issues are tailored towards diminishing anxieties to elevate hope and possibilities.
He must have come with a fair knowledge of how to connect the dots, when he pitched his private sector experience as an advantage the state will leverage on. Not only at getting things to work, in humanizing politics he has extended the table of governance to accommodate every interest and opinion; and does not care so much about political correctness which has kept us in the dust for far too long. In keeping pace with what would make the ARISE Agenda a tasty broth, Governor Umo Eno while uniting Akwa Ibom has reported to duty a man who rather than deal shadows will stoop further to turn the lights on our dark crevices.
His panache for excellence and hands-on dispositions must have won him the amity of great people including Prof Etie Ben Akpan who in the build up to the PDP Governorship primaries told me, “if Umo Eno was not a man of conviction there would have been no Royalty Group today, I tell you he is coming with a leadership spark the people have never imagined”. He went further to narrate the numerous battles he won to engrave his imprint on modern Nigeria’s hospitality sands of time, including having to surmount controversies from a section of people who were opposed to the location of the near three decades old hospitality outfit in Eket. Resilience does not exist in vacuum, he got a good grasp of what every venture needs to succeed, while mediocrity dared.
Facilitating sustainable and workable solutions for the next four years, in the first instance, will see to consensus building and maximizing the administration’s achievements by prioritizing every segment of society. Beginning with reaching out to critical stakeholders, Governor Umo Eno has proven that intentional governance can mend our cultural, political and gender fault lines, in such a quick pace. Going past the Rubicon, the governor’s bottom-top approach of economic rebirth is a module scholars would love to cristen Eno(mics); a specialty in economic growth that allows everyone an advantage that is fair and balanced. In counting the gains, we should keep in mind that in Umo Eno we have found a leader that fits perfectly into John Maxwell’s leadership thought, “a leader is a dealer in hope”.
Samuel Ayara writes from Ibong Otoro in Abak LGA.