Three Years of Ini Ememobong as the State Publicity Secretary of the PDP
By Itoro Noah
Comrade Ini Ememobong was elected as the state publicity secretary of the Akwa Ibom state Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in May, 2016. Until his election, Ini Ememobong was the Special Assistant to Gov. Udom Emmanuel on political matters (2015-2016) and had previously served as the special assistant on student matters to former Gov. Godswill Akpabio between 2013-2015.
The 35-year-old Ini Ememobong is mainly known for his thought provoking, intimidating, captivating, gripping, highly revealing and loaded Press Releases which has made many described him as the tormentor of the opposition in Akwa Ibom state. He is a gospel preacher, legal practitioner, erudite scholar, public relationship executive, media man, a philanthropist, orator, chartered mediator and conciliator, and a Mr. Humanizer.
Ini Ememobong changes things. Before his emergence as the state publicity secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party, the publicity secretariat and the office of the publicity secretary to a larger extent only existed for existing sake. His predecessors were ‘circumstantially’ bereft of functionality. Circumstantially in the sense that the politics of that time required little or no intense publicity being that the PDP was in charge of the federal government and majority of the states in Nigeria. There was not even an office space for the officer. Even though Ini Ememobong has on several occasions rejected the glory, it is an undeniable fact that his effort coupled with the support he enjoins from the state chairman of the PDP, Obong Paul Ekpo and other state officers of the party largely altered, redefined and rebranded the capacity and functionality of the publicity secretariat away from what he inherited or would have ever been imagined by most pundits. With his midas touch, the publicity secretariat of the party has moved from a formerly obscured, ineffective and inconsequential office to one of the most relevant, popular and prestigious offices in the party cadre.
Three years of Ini Ememobong in the capacity of the publicity secretary has not only created an office space for the doyen and subsequent successors but through the support of Gov. Udom Emmanuel has had the office equipped as a modern studio with the best of media equipment (audio, visual and stationery). The publicity secretariat also has at well trained members of staff with adequate knowledge of radio, television, newspaper and social network media practices.
Ini Ememobong is also reportedly to be the first publicity secretary of the Akwa Ibom state PDP to usually function as the master of ceremonies, compere and anchorman for every party events, and has to the chagrin of the opposition and delight of PDP members proven to be always ready (without any prior information) to project and defend the PDP on radio and television within and outside the state including the channels Television, TVC, AIT, etc. He is a strong advocate of zoning/rotation principles and rigorously preaches that ‘we should humanise politics rather than politicise humanity.
The publicity secretariat of the PDP under Ini Ememobong and of course with the support of Obong Paul Ekpo and also with the collaborative effort of other state officers has also introduced several innovations to the party. They initiated and have been publishing a quarterly magazine, THE SCROLL, which carries all party news, events and achievements of Gov. Udom Gabriel Emmanuel and other government officials since 2016. Radio/Empowerment series such as the Umbrella Empowerment Show and the Umbrella Business Quest which are the initiative of the publicity secretariat and broadcasted live on AKBC Radio, Comfort Fm, Passion FM form few of the most compelling, business related and educative radio programs in Akwa Ibom state. The Scroll Magazine (produced quarterly), the calendar (wall and table), Dairies, alongside the radio programs have made the PDP a household name in Akwa Ibom state and beyond.
On societal issues and welfare of the people, the publicity secretariat has not been an idle observer. The party runs regular campaign through radio and television jingles to condemn cultism, reckless driving, uncleanliness and poor waste disposal as well as call the people to embrace the DAKKADA philosophy of Gov. Udom Emmanuel by patronizing the different economic opportunities initiated by the state government and by also engaging in entrepreneurship.
The Umbrella Business Quest, an initiative of the publicity Secretariat and with the core support of Gov. Udom Emmanuel gives professional business advice and also financial assistance to entrepreneurs in the state. The Business Quest has been running uninterrupted for 15 months now, even during the hectic campaign and electioneering days. The program gives star prizes of N250,000.00, N150,000.00 and N100,000.00 to first, second and third prize winners every month. 10 business icons, being persons who have been consistent in their various businesses for the last 5 to 10 years also go home monthly with N50,000 (Fifty thousand naira) each. A particular set of winners of the Business Quest Competition were given additional N1 million each by Gov. Udom Gabriel Emmanuel on May 28th, 2018 . Major entrepreneurs with 10 to 30 years of constant business practices have also been rewarded as honor category by the party. Some of the beneficiaries include Mr Eyoh Akpan Umoh of Eyo Tailorings, Mrs Grace Bassey popularly known as Eka Udo, Enobong Etuk, Boldoz bookshop, the Ikot Ekpene famous welder, Samcolee among others have individually received sums of money not less than N500,000 (Five hundred thousand naira) to boost their businesses and to also encourage upcoming entrepreneurs.
The Umbrella Empowerment Show have so far undertaken free training of over 200 Akwa Ibom persons on different skills including: interior decoration,
carpentry, paint making, finger food, tie and dye and batik, cosmetology, shoe making, beads making, mechanic etc. All for free. In action and in words, Ini Ememobong preaches that everyone should be financially independent.
On his own as an individual, Comrade Ini Ememobong has awarded scholarship and other forms of assistance to numerous Akwa Ibom students across different tertiary institutions cutting across undergraduate and postgraduate levels. He recently equipped a business centre with generator, computer, photocopying machine and other accessories for a business quest consistent contestant from Uruan. He has in his personal capacity sponsored numerous persons to learn auto engineering, barbing, welding, carpentry and eventually equipped the beneficiaries with the necessary working tools. The impact of Ini Ememobong as the state PDP spokesman is no less felt in his country home, Ibiono Ibom local government area where he has ‘habitually’ sponsored and equipped different batches of youths and women to acquire different skills. As a farmer himself, he has on several occasions donated improved variety of farm inputs to Ibiono women. He recently donated school uniforms, books and other learning materials to schools in Ibiono Ibom local government area. His recent donation of pipe borne water to Use Abat community and the building, furnishing and donation of a modern hall with office blocks tagged Udom Emmanuel IWADU house to Ibiono Ibom Welfare and Development Union (IWADU) stands unchallenged in the politics of Ibiono Ibom local government area. It is on this ground among others that he was conferred with the chieftaincy title as Eti Uwud Nkpo Ibiono Ibom by the Ibiono Ibom traditional Rulers council under the leadership of Okuku Ime Udousoro Inyang on 13th July, 2018. He recently donated sets of school uniform to all the students of Community High School, Edem urua and same to students of St. Mary’s Senior Science College, Abak. He also doled out empowerment packages women selected from all the local government areas in Akwa Ibom. Young and aged people have owned lands and cars from Ini Ememobong.
Ini Ememobong is endeared to the heart of so many persons, including members of the opposition. It is indisputable that so many have come to support and are still supporting the PDP because of the charisma of comrade Ini Ememobong.
At the heat of the 2019 electioneering campaign, the name Ini Ememobong was synonymous to the PDP. It is on record that he carried out his job professionally and consistently without fear of persons. Ini Ememobong spoke where others were afraid to speak. He went to where others were afraid to go and was always there for thousands of Akwa Ibom persons when none was there and virtually show evidence of having all the answers where others seem to have had none.
Ini Ememobong is happily married to Barr. Sandra-emejuiwe Ini Ememobong and the marriage is blessed with 3 biological children – Ekemini-Uloma, Ini-Onofiok and Ini-Ekom and other uncountable none biological children.