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Udom, Attah: crossing the Rubicon

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By Edidiong Udobia

“I count myself very lucky to have a Governor like Deacon Udom Emmanuel. There were times when this would not be possible, and times when this would be prohibited”. -His Excellency, Arch. (Obong) Victor Attah, during his 80th Birthday Symposium at Ibom Hotel and Golf Resort

In my earlier article, “As Udom crowns Attah with honour”, I had noted that with the state government’s decision to celebrate former Governor Victor Attah on his 80th birthday, Governor Udom Emmanuel would be crowning Attah with the honour long overdue. Attah that we know is not a euphemist. He is not one known for mincing words. In his element, he is a real “table shaker”. This is why his testimonial on Governor Udom should be carved in stone. Moreso, it further proves that the claim that Governor Udom has brought fundamental and very significant changes to Akwa Ibom is not make-believe.

The change is radical; it’s a quantum leap. There were times when celebrating the elder statesman was prohibited. But last Saturday, people across party lines, and ethnic groups, from far and wide, converged to clink glasses, make toasts and even merry in honour of His Excellency, Arc. Victor Attah. The icing on the cake was Governor Udom Emmanuel renaming the airport after Attah. By that singular act, Governor Udom has not honoured Attah only, but also the people of Akwa Ibom, who have been agitating for it. In our experience, we know that it is one thing for the people to make a demand from the government, but a completely different thing for the government to grant the demand. Even naysayers are over the moon on this one.

Away from the Victor Attah International Airport hullabaloo, the events of last week have a more deeper meaning and will be pivotal to the future Akwa Ibom is moving into. First of, regardless of party affiliation, we all agree that Akwa Ibom deserves to have her own “Bola Tinubu”. Someone so highly revered in the country that when he sneezes, the country catches cold; but with an unquestionable leadership qualities. Someone who is not lily-livered but a competent marshal who will fearlessly muscle the overall interest of the state to the center. For instance, Governor Udom has been almost a lone voice in the clamour for the relocation of ExxonMobil Headquarters to Akwa Ibom. Imagine having a revolutionary agitator like the one who once led and succeeded in the onshore/offshore oil dichotomy struggle. Imagine having Governor Udom Emmanuel and a revitalized Victor Attah stand shoulder to shoulder in the struggle for the interest of the state.

The Udom-Attah alliance is a new dawn for Akwa Ibom. At a time when the federal government is bent on silencing opposition by sprinkling dirts on leading opposition voices, having Attah fully back in the struggle is not only a masterstroke but a suckerpunch, which has obviously dislodged enemies of the state. The resistance is further thickened. More importantly, the alliance is a clear message that Akwa Ibom has moved past her infamous days of vilifying her worthy leaders to a glorious future of celebrating them.

Lastly, it must be noted that these little efforts by Governor Udom to make amends and unite Akwa Ibom people, are being noticed and appreciated by the citizens. A citizen, Enwogo Cleopas said; “I was emotional all through last night at this banquet. I love that this man is being celebrated.” Never have we had a governor so committed to ensuring a peaceful and secure Akwa Ibom, and this, we must not only be thankful for, but jealously guard and keep this precious gift. The Udom-Attah pact is in the best interest of the state and therefore, is irreversible.

Edidiong Udobia is a journalist and writes from Uyo, Akwa Ibom state.

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