AN OPEN LETTER TO GOVERNOR UDOM EMMANUEL
“When you are in any contest you should work as if there were, to the very last minute, a chance to lose it” – Dwight Eisenhower; 34th President of the United State.
His Excellency, Deacon Udom Emmanuel,
I join the Akwa Ibom community, and the distinguished members of our great party (PDP), to congratulate you on the meritorious Leadership Newspaper Governor of the year award, and also commend your administrative prowess in running the affairs of our dear state, in a time where the winds of change blows across the shores of the nation, leaving many states incapacitated in their financial obligations; it is only your mastery in corporate management and your garnered knowledge of economics that breeds such possibility, .
Suffice it to say, that you inherited the misfortune of running a state where internally generated revenue index was lacking, no fund spinning platforms; where people are engaged in labour, paid salaries, and the money revolving back to the government. Also on a platform (PDP) ‘our party’ that is balkanized in the national, and gradually retrogressing to a seeming perdition; a situation arising from the miscalculations of those who believed they are naturally endowed with the political gift of garb, who tried to perfect schemes just for self gratification, and lacking the political intellectual depth of redeeming the already battered image of our party.
Your foray into the murky waters of Akwa Ibom politics as a corporate professional which now transcend politically, and the sagacity with which you have piloted the affairs of the state since you took over the mantle of leadership had guaranteed your teaming fans that your leadership is a reflection of fairness, sincerity and above all exhibition of professionalism.
However, I hasten to add that there is a need to boldly put on your thinking cap, which will aid enforce your procreations, identify governance threats, with a sense of mitigating directives; virtues which endeared you to the grassroots that beget that nickname “Mr. Right” many of them who are far from your reach now, and eventually stop the hurricane of defections that is looming in our party ahead of the 2019 elections.
Forgive my wrongs if my letter will veer from the conventional mantra of praise, because I’ve seen that those racketeering friends surrounding you are beginning to enthrone you upon the status of political myopia; as it concerns the present situation our party (PDP) is facing, and the looming pandemic defections which now shows us signs of political tsunami in Months to come yet, all that re-echo by their incessant mendacity is “His Excellency, it has been taken care of; when it hasn’t, or he has no political input /strength”, this to me is gradually creating vacuums in our party and swelling the camp of the opposition.
Your Excellency, I could recall vividly some years precursor to the 2015 general elections, 2013 precisely; the Nigeria Governor’s forum election saga, where sixteen (16) became greater than nineteen (19), which later translated into the formation of the New- PDP by Atiku, Amaechi and others, then their sudden defection to the APC. Remember, that President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan “The leader of the party” had the powers to had interfered and resolved the matter in line with his portrayed personae, but those sharks in the corridor of Asorock, placed before him the possibility of his re-election; sighting the Amaechi’s to be the spoil, went further to undermine and ridicule their political strength, wisdom and the capability of the opposition party (APC) in winning the 2015 elections. Today’s presidential leadership is an irony of our party’s premonition and in turn proves Dwight Eisenhower’s scribbled thoughts, which says thus “When you are in a contest you should work as if there were, to the very last minute, a chance to lose it” seem to be true.
The bane of this letter is to point out factors that are, and will be detrimental to your re-election bid in 2019, and also put you in the know that there is a chance to lose it if we miscalculate or attempt to trend on this same pattern of illusions.
- The Party Affair:
Of recent, our state chapter of the party has witnessed a dramatic renunciation and defection by those who once swore allegiance to your administration in the likes of the Senator representing Eket Senatorial District (your senatorial district), Senator Nelson Effiong. Member representing Ukanafun/ Oruk Anam Federal Constituency, Hon. Emmanuel Ukoette, and the recent defector; former member representing Eket Federal Constituency (your Federal Constituency) and Commissioner (1) in your Judiciary Service Commission, Hon. Bassey Dan Abia Jnr. These men have through the party climbed a milestone in the shores of our country’s politics, with reasons traceable to your inability to give listening ears to the challenges of your people in the party, secluding those who worked hard for your emergence (based in the grassroots) from the scheme of things in the arena, and also allowing your Works Commissioner, Akparawa Ephraim Inyangeyen with intoxicating powers to insult, bully, intimidate and embarrass party stakeholders; people who ensured that votes counted in their units, in your favour, thereby building an unstable political structure that is eminent to collapse in our great party (the PDP) in view of the 2019 election.
The party remains the only platform that should be considered a high priority target. The umbrella insignia is that of accommodation, tolerance and acceptability. It is a house that all grievances should be dialogued between core party Excos, stakeholders and your humble self; not relegating your duties to your kitchen cabinet to wreck havoc with a view of building, thereby creating more problems for the party. Please, do you have a rethink of the party structures which hitherto is infiltrated by followers of the defected? The party needs to be service, from the State to the Ward level; this which is not excellently carried out. The party has a chairman and other Excos, whose mandates were bestowed on a clear knowledge of delivering capacity; bringing in a third-party in the guise of your kitchen cabinet to mediate over certain party affairs, sometimes allowing party elders to wait deliberately for hours gives birth to an unpublished face-off in the party.
Your Excellency, to be very frank, your relationship with the core politicians in different local governments is unsatisfactory, because you have relegated so much power to your works commissioner to mediate over issues that you in person are supposed to create time out of your very tight schedules, to attain to; those issues that affects your interest and that of the party, knowing too well he has learned too sudden the political intrigues, to be able to understand the nitty-gritty of grassroots politics in the state, of which he misconstrues to be of rabble –rousing. Ephraim Inyangeyen is a functioning liability in your government. He has inserted so much time in the works department for the actualization of your structural blurprint, but he has woefully failed when it comes to humanitarian services. Fair enough, politics where rabble rousers emerged victorious has expired; today’s politics is of intellectuality and proficiency. Those people who are grassroots intellectuals have been ostracized and castigated by this same man out of fear of losing out if they peradventure come in. Don’t forget that those who can’t have access to you and are aggrieved are now prisoners of their conviction, only seeing solace in the camp f the opposition, because your commissioner of works gives them appointment and turn out to embarrass and insult them in the supposed meeting time.
Your plans for industrialization in the state is so thrilling but over-exaggerated. It is obvious that since you are poised to turn Akwa Ibom into an industrial hub before the election bell rings again in 2019, you have brought in so many investors with a view of Public Private Partnership (PPP); these companies have lured you into several groundbreakings, with no substantial proves of bringing these projects to fruition. I think one priority in corporate partnership is that the primary partner issues Prove of Fund either in Bank Guarantee (BG), Standby Letter of Credits (SBLC) etc. to ascertain that these projects will not be stalled after commencement because of the unavailability of fund. But in several cases, it is so certain that funds are the reason for some of the stalled projects after groundbreaking, which in turn create room for your critics to cast serious aspersions on those overseeing the investment sector. Methinks, that projects should be segmented into phases and actualized in phases (one –per-time) to avert abandoned groundbreakings. Pick one or two projects per time, let it be functional before another groundbreaking. But I must commend you for your pursuit in resuscitating moribund companies in the likes of Peacock Paint, etc.
- Road Infrastructure Network:
I must commend your road infrastructure network as it is excellently executed, though reclusively done. The works department even without being told should be used as a parastatal of building a conglomeration of undeterred supporters. But the works department has vehemently refused to do that, rather, accumulating wealth for just the managers of the ministry. This should be reviewed, so that your empowerment strategy will go around without any complaint.
Your Excellency, the complaint of hunger is everywhere due to the economic status of the nation, but selective people in your administration are busy buying houses, acquiring lands, establishing businesses, stealing in disguise, robbing the people in their very before, and ridiculing them with “no money” recession antics. In the light of Dwight’s perspective that people who value the privileges above the principle soon loses both, i think irrespective of the bad economy, the little empowerment policies you’ve put in place should be spread on centre tables; where stakeholders and party chieftains transparently make choices, and not of recommendations from those loyal to your kitchen cabinet members. The inter-ministerial direct labour jobs, which was a major facilitator to grassroots empowerment, now improvised to the issuance of twenty million Naira per Local Government Area , is a mistake taken too far, as only limited persons are privileged to receive it. Empowerment is the key to garnering support from the grassroots. The senate minority leader, Distinguished Senator Akpabio; CON, will always walk with an ovation as a gladiator because he had laid foundations, built and empowered more than (65%) of the total electoral strength of the youths in Akwa Ibom and today, the originator of “Uncommon Transformer” remains a strong pillar with his foots soldiers scattered across the entire state frightening every any daring fox.
- Treatment of your Personal Aides
Speculations are rift that you said and I quote “I am not a Governor that will have many SUV’s on the highway and no tractor in the farm”. Those words are commendable – it unveils in full glare, your thoughtfulness and prudency. But in reality, each of your aides is your representative any where he or she is seen. Inasmuch as they are your representative, they should look like you. It is always very embarrassing seeing an aide to the Governor on motorcycles or tricycle. I will state without any fear of persons, just as the tractors are relevant in the farm, so are cars important to your aides. You have issued cars to Senior Special Assistant/Advisers, but your Special Assistant’s are trekking on foot. I beg you to consider stripping in the inner room than in the market square by giving out cars, even of low products, to your personal assistants.
6. The Vacant Office of Chief of Staff
It is your prerogative to make choices into your administration, choices you consider highly capable of service delivery even in your absence. The vacant office of Chief of Staff needs to be filled, but the choice should be a man in your same page, a homely man with the professional political thinking cap. Just as your predecessors, the choice should emanate from our Local Government (ONNA), and should be a man loved by the people, who will be bold to see anomalies and not cover it up politically but propound ways to allay it. Consider this portfolio beyond your normal choice of some rabble-rousers, but a pragmatic and modern man with good ethos. If you slip this portfolio into the hands of the conventional politician, who deviates from being a bridge-builder in your administration in pursuit of self aggrandizement, then this already collapsed wall of yours will fall just as Jericho did.
Beyond all odds His Excellency,
I make bold to state here that your attitude towards the recent inauguration of the new Afigh Iwaad Ekid of which you did not attend have generated so many questions which hitherto remain unanswered. It is of record that the Afigh was one of the most outstanding groups that drummed for your candidacy and subsequent election. Immediately after you entered into the office, Afigh became a non existing group why? Sen. Akpabio did flew in from Abuja to attend the Ati Annang, Mboho and Esu Nlap Oro putting behind every other happenings/events in his schedule. Many were of the believe that, you will make a pronouncement in regards to packages for the new Afigh but, this did not come.
More so, the recent leadership tussle in the State Assembly is igniting stern political quagmire which likely will cause an almost insurmountable battle in 2019 should it not be taken with seriousness. Many are drumming while few are dancing yet; the beats seem not understood by many of those dancing.
Nevertheless, I will subscribe to valuing principles that binds the party to the people, by the introduction of those who feel the pulses of the people into your administration; so the collapsing bridge between the people and your administration will be noticed in time and maintained. I will subscribe to returning the power to the people as spelt in our party’s slogan; letting the people make choices in any issue that needs a representative and not enforcing it on them. I will subscribe to your touring different Local Governments alone “allowing your De-facto Governor’s at home” finding out what is really the people’s problem, and not allowing those tyrants deform your administration with their lies.
I know I will not force you to be a prisoner of my convictions because of your garnered intelligence and world class exposure, but certainly, someday, a knowledgeable man learns a lot from an upcoming whiz-kid. Be not deceived in the avowal of ‘PDP being a religion’ in Akwa Ibom state, we are but a political party just like the defunct NRC and SDP, and can retrogress to perdition if anomalies are allowed to thrive. Be not deceived that those who have defected are inept or non- functional politically, as you are being cowed into their conviction to political death.
It will interest you to note that as a leader of the party, you are not supposed to leave your veto power into the hands of your commissioner of works, who is turning it into a witch-hunting tool, treating the common man with great ideals for a greater Dakkada administration, with disdain, playing his dictates into your assimilation and acceptance, without a careful analysis and in-depth knowledge of whether it will make or mar you, and he emerges stronger than you every day. Your works commissioner is a cancer, and the only proper thing to do is to cut it out.
My loyalty to the PDP remains sacrosanct and undeterred. Your re-election in 2019 is a cross i and those who stand for the truth, equity, fairness and justice in the political arena are willing to carry. Letting impunity or the ongoing anomaly thrive, we will only stand to regret as we regretted after the 2015 elections. I will rather be truthful to myself even at the hazard of incurring other people’s ridicule, than to be false and incur my abhorrence.
Edet Edet- Publisher
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