By Edet Okpo
Because he has most competently justified his first term mandate and even more justifiably become the enviable Apostle of good governance in Akwa Ibom State and Nigeria at large, exceedingly proving his mettle by matching words with action for what is generally described today as “Superlative Performance” across all critical sectors, Governor Udom Emmanuel’s 2019 8-Point Manifesto, “Completion Agenda” did not disappoint patriotic and objective Nigerians except incorrigible who surprisingly have chosen to remain in the iron maze of cynicism.
The manifesto presentation which coincided with the flag-off of campaigns and handing-over of flags to candidates of the ruling party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), was held on Wednesday, January 16 , 2019. Although the venue was as strategic and spacious as the Uyo Township Stadium, the spill-over kept the entire city of Uyo on hold for hours as everybody wanted to have a firsthand feeling of the moment.
For reasons of politics than conviction to the contrary, many in the opposing camps had wished that Mr. Udom Emmanuel never had opportunity to present such holistic, segment-by-segment blueprint. The subsisting fear has been that, with a manifesto so realistic and interpretable in words and figures, the governor has completely stole the hearts of the few Akwa Ibom persons who were temporarily deceived and cunningly gratified to still stand on the opposing end.
But that is what great leaders do. They first present convincing evidence to the people before making projections about the future. In synopsis, Gov. Udom Emmanuel’s 2019 Second-Term Manifesto says it all, clearly indicating where the State is going, why it is taking that direction, and where it is hoped to be by 2023. No wonder disturbed members of the opposition are still complaining that the Manifesto is the governor’s strongest campaign strategies. The enthusiastic crowd of loyalists and teeming supporters and beneficiaries that welcome the Divine Mandate Team into the Uyo Township Stadium and escorted it back after the event spoke volumes of the people’s appreciation and determination to keep the governor in office till 2023.
Indeed, the content, scope and destination of the Manifesto prove no less. The blueprint that is diagrammatically represented is an upgrade from the 5-point agenda of the first term to 8-point agenda of focus. It comprises – Industrialization, Aviation development, Rural and Riverine Area Development, Agriculture, Human Capacity Development, Security, Infrastructure and Small and Medium Scale Enterprises. It therefore comes as solace and hope of inclusion to those in areas that admittedly were not touched in the governor’s first term template. Of course, there were genuine concerns that the government carried enormous load on its shoulders in the first term, a fact that was not denied but accepted with promises of progressive fulfilment. It means that any projects that may have been seen as slow are bound to be prime beneficiaries in the second term revolution.
Above every other growth and development indicators in Akwa Ibom State in the last three and half years, Gov. Udom’s first term performance is the basis for confidence in his ability to fulfil the “Completion Agenda” in his second term. And no credential can be stronger than the verifiable evidence on ground and the corresponding testimonies amongst the electorate who are set, once again, to sustain and propel the Divine Mandate to 2023. Of course, from inception in 2015, it has been the governor’s creed that he would give Akwa Ibom “projects” and not monument, and that none of these projects shall be left uncompleted.
As statistics so far has shown, contractors now handling projects in the state have come to realize that they are dealing with the steward and master of accountability and quality; a leader who does not play politics with projects for cheap political applause; and one who believes that history and prosperity have a place in the present. This cannot be an overstatement or an exaggeration. Projects so far commissioned in by the Udom-led administration – be they infrastructure, industry, agriculture, human capacity building, social interventions and investments, etc, are those that meet the taste of time, purpose and peoples’ expectations. There are no phantom or white elephant projects that would rightly suit the description of monuments.
Year in, year out, because the zeal was there and the purpose was right, the State has remained a construction site. Against segmented cynicism by the incredulous, the eight industries initiated and completed and put to use and those underway by the Udom administration have been no fluke. There are there for whoever doubts such developmental explosion to go and convince himself. It was therefore for no reason that the Nigeria Bureau of Statistics adjudged the Akwa Ibom State as the second with highest record of Foreign Direct Investments only nest to Lagos, which by extension portrays its conducive and business-friendly environment in terms of security. By comparison, in the last 18 years of unmitigated civil rule in the State, only Obong Victor Attah’s reign may share some similarities in the way residents in the State are free to socialize at any time of the day and wherever without the slightest fear of security breaches and upheaval. On the other hand, some see the governor as a prodigy and reinvention of late Dr. Clement Isong”s indelible footprints as governor of the Old Cross River. Whichever way, the onus is socioeconomic emancipation of a people.
I have waited this long to see and hear if the hypocritical and fair-weather fanatical critics would by their freewill embrace reality and join the winning train, so that their situation would not have become like the biblical parable of those who have ears and but cannot hear, and have eyes but cannot see simply because they have bluntly refused to identify with the truth. If performance, transformational impact and populism were the basis for re-election, even as they are by global standard, the opposition are in a great tempest to have come forward to struggle the leadership for the State with a man who ahs distinguished himself in all areas of leadership assessment.
In the matter of vision, strength of character, trustworthiness, dependability, leadership acumen and charisma, Governor Udom Emmanuel has no comparison in the chequered list of those jostling in their inadequacy and desperation to occupy the Hilltop Mansion. It is perhaps the first time in the leadership narrative of the State that a governor would come out with an agenda essentially anchored on his determination to complete what he had started in fulfilment oi the mandate entrusted to him by the masses. It is perhaps the first time in our socio-political odyssey that a leader would offer himself to be held responsible if he fails to deliver. It’s quite amazing and instructive!
It therefore does not surprise me why the governor’s reinforced blueprint for 2019 is generating thick dust of discomfort in opposition camps because of its realistic projections that supersede superficial logic and claims. This can only come from an internationally acclaimed manager of human and material resources, with a populist, progressive and agrarian leadership ideology.
The Great Man Leadership Theory, a 19th-century leadership postulation which was popularised by Scottish writer Thomas Carlyle, simply captures the impact of great men or heroes, highly influential individuals who, by virtue of their personal charisma, intelligence, wisdom, or political skill use their power in a way that has a decisive historical impact on humanity. The theory simply states that great leaders are born in times of great need. In fairness to truth and submission to fact, by his visionary and effective leadership, Governor Udom Gabriel Emmanuel has proven to be an icon of that school of thought.
Against the usual cynicism by the incredulous, against the empty noise and boasts in town from the deranged and politically decimated camps of the opposition, there is a relishing sense of comfort and stronger hope in better days ahead when one critically examines and digests the content of Governor Udom Emanuel’s 2019 Manifesto, the “Completion Agenda”.
Edet Okpo,an indigenes of Okobo is an Uyo- based Journalist and Public Affairs Analyst.