As the race for Udom Emmanuel’s succession advances, political analysts are beginning to review a picture of sustaining the Akwa Ibom leadership template of throwing up leaders-in-season.
By Victor Awak (PhD)
In 1998, the strong demand for a cerebral foundation builder threw up Obong Victor Attah who designed the City Master plan and development agenda which Senator Akpabio built on. Senator Akpabio expanded the Infrastructural designs by lavishly building roads and monumental landmarks like the e-library, Airport project, Tropicana mall with International Conference centre and 250room hotels.
Whereas Attah’s Science Park and Deep Seaport development suffered implementation setbacks but Ex-Governor Akpabio is reputed to have built men, great infrastructure and prominence for Akwa Ibom. He strutted the political landscape like the colossus he is. He bent over to impose the current Governor and had to decamp from the PDP to APC throwing the state into leadership limbo for a while.
Then came the economic recession and the need to have a Financial Wizard in the mould of Governor Udom Emmanuel with an Industrialization Agenda and over 15 small scale factories in the bag. The current Governor is doing a lot in catalysing the Entrepreneurial interest of the youth. He in turn abandoned the International Conference Centre and hotel project of Akpabio preferring instead to build a highly criticized church project with N10b whilst ignoring some of Akpabio’s legacy projects.
In about 22months, Governor Udom Emmanuel shall be leaving the stage after a tumultuous 8 years of struggle to fit into the large shoes of Senator Akpabio or fully meet the heightened expectations of Akwa Ibomites.
With a very vibrant people in political awareness occasioned by the Dakadda orientation, Akwa Ibom people earnestly require for men and women with business acumen to launch us further from Industrialization to growth in Education, Tourism, Capacity building and increased opportunity for the thronging population of our State.
Who could that Business Giant be???
For a state that boasts of a virgin business climate, the expectation is to recruit successful businessmen to catapult commerce, entrepreneurship and innovative opportunities that will take us to prosperity.
Two names resonate with this expectation; Akan Udofia and Pastor Umoh Eno; the former being a successful Oil and Gas Mogul with an undoubted penchant for developing individuals.
Akan’s simple demeanour suggests a departure from excessive power play as he is perceived humble, has little or no airs as much as a tendency to connect more with the youth or common in our midst. Ever willing to throw support for struggling members of society, this philanthropist carries the heart of compassion and service. Would this character trait be enough to engender good governance? This is yet to be seen.
The latter in his own ways is seen as a hospitality guru laced with humility and civility. His toga as Pastorpreneur situates well with the Fathers of faith but leaves much to be desired in Political sagacity or Policy. Soft-spoken, a good listener and his unassuming nature are all positives for the Udom sibling’s candidate. Judging from the resentment suffered by Udom, the grapevine moots that his biggest enemies are his colleagues in Exco who beyond eyeing the seat are bent on frustrating the 2023 succession plans of Governor Emmanuel.
The larger political class argues that a man with the disposition to harmonise the State as well as relate with all irrespective of party is the best man for the job. Other gladiators are known to have too much political baggage and scores to settle alongside a minor experience in successfully running a business organization.
Should the pendulum swing either way then the successor must be globally endowed with connections and ideas to bring about innovation and prosperity for all.
WISDOM AND TIME WILL TELL!!