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Governor ‘Integrity’ Emmanuel



Ebere Wabara

HIS apostles, subordinates and virtually all Ibomites fondly call him ‘Mr. Integrity’. It is not for fun. They do it with all sense of responsibility and etymological consciousness. This was long before the recent meritorious award bestowed on him by the foremost television network in the country.

The nomenclatural change in the headline above is demonstrative of my poetic and journalistic liberty with the strong belief that the bearer will not slam me with a disclaimer for unilaterally modifying his name. I have just been vindicated with the Integrity and National Service Award conferred on Gov. Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom State by the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) at the Aso Rock Villa, Abuja. The vindication issues from an earlier article I did last year, where I declared that His Excellency was a man of profound integrity with profuse passion for Christ-like existential humanism.

It is apposite to recollect that when that full-page article was published in this medium, I received an avalanche of bovine multimedia responses from  imbecilic numbers insinuating that I was expecting money from the governor hence the public relational stuff. In fact, one of them asininely informed me that this governor was unlike his predecessor, Senator Godswill Akpabio, who doled out money to “mercenaries and mercantilists”—a veiled categorization that obviously includes me! What else can be more uncharitable, malicious and unfounded than such innuendoes? I have grown a thick skin to such idiocies.

Our country has been so monetized that once you do a laudatory article about someone or a corporate citizen, you must either have collected money or have an anticipatory inclination. On the other hand, if you criticize, you are called a detractor sent by opponents or competition to calumniate victims—also for a bloody fee! It is a no-win dilemma. Perhaps, the best option is to shirk one’s civic and professional responsibility and sit on the fence! As for objectivity/neutrality, I tell you from my three-decade-plus media experience, there is no such thing in journalism—anywhere in the world, not just in Nigeria! Even editorials are slanted and tainted, occasionally! Media entrepreneurship is the order of the day.

This unprecedented recognition by a federal government institution of an oppositional governor is particularly significant in an environment where kamikaze politics is the vogue. In the murky days of the National Party of Nigeria (NPN) and the Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN), this could not have been possible except the NTA Director-General was ready to lose his job ignominiously. The well-deserved   bestowal on Gov. Emmanuel is further underscored in a society where corruption and other vices have ravaged our humanity beyond redemption, almost.

What is it that informed my declaration about this man’s uprightness last year? His widely-acclaimed relationship with God, spiritual steadfastness, his manifest eschatological beliefs and the fact that he rose to the level of an executive director in a bank from where he moved on to become the Executive Governor of Akwa Ibom State. Having worked in two banks at managerial levels, I know what it takes to attain that height in corporate firmament.

It is germane to note that national institutions are beginning to appreciate Mr. Integrity’s invaluable contributions to the human development index and pacesetting infrastructural renewal in Akwa Ibom State. From what is on ground, there is the likelihood of the delivery of more democracy value-chains for his people. That, to me, is the minimum expectation.

When I arrived in Uyo a fortnight ago, I thought I had missed my way because the consolidation of transformations was unimaginable! I never believed anyone could improve upon the fluky and overhyped “uncommon” standard set by Senator Akpabio exclusively in Uyo, the state capital. Unlike that era, development currency is spread state-wide. 

Similarly, the youthful governor seems to have innate potentialities to surpass the achievements of his predecessor. The way he is going about good governance, best practices and holistic developments of his state holds a profundity of hope for further re-engineering of this South South paradise on earth!

Today, I do not know which other state in this country is better than Akwa Ibom in terms of multi-faceted developmental transformations, specification of critical projects and institutionalization of unprecedented paradigms of leadership and commitment to the service of humanity, especially Akwa Ibomites. I have the conviction that no governor is more diligent than ‘Mr. Integrity’.

After a tour of major cities, particularly Uyo, in Akwa Ibom, you will marvel and lambaste its neighbour, Abia State. Where are you going to start? There is no hoodwinking, deceit, lie, propaganda or giving largesse to elders in exchange for their consciences. The completed and on-going projects are very visible for anyone to see, even if you have cataract or glaucoma! The whole of Akwa Ibom is like a construction territory—one thing or another that will benefit even generations unborn is up here and there. Perhaps, it is only Abuja that can equal, not supersede, Akwa Ibom.

‘Mr. Integrity’ is focused on unrivalled urban renewal of the entire state. When you are busy and affecting the lives of people positively and revolutionizing transformation architecture and narrative in splendorous visages, there would be no time for demonization of your predecessor, criminalization of oppositional forces, witch-hunt, inanities and character assassination through vituperative comments networked on the social media and other platforms via obstreperous media aides, among other depravities, as are blueprints for governance in most states!

(C) Sun Newspaper

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