Why Oro Nation is supporting Udom for Second term
By Edet Okpo
With due regards to the best of their efforts at identifying with the Cause of Oro Nation, it still remains a recurrent point of reference that Oro Nation was clearly marginalized by previous administrations of the State. No disputations about that.
Amongst others, this was most evident in the area of appointment and social infrastructure, even against all manner of diplomatic complaints and solicitations to government by major Stakeholders from the area. But today, without any pretence to the unfolding scenario, Governor Udom Emmanuel has not only indicated genuine interest but has also proven his readiness to altering the status quo that should leave no objective mind in doubt.
From whichever angle of the spectrum one may chose to approach the matter, the first term of Governor Udom Emmanuel’s administration of Akwa Ibom State has thrown up a lot of positive things about governance in the general conception of the word and as it concerns Akwa Ibom people in specific terms and in even more specific terms in connection with the Oro extraction of the State’s structural composition. This feeling takes its taproot from history and socio-political perspectives of the involvement and inclusion of Oro Nation in the system of things by previous and successive administrations in the State in comparison to what is obtainable now, which makes the appreciable difference quite interesting and worthy of inquiry.
If not for Governor Emmanuel’s openhearted consolation, it pains to the bone to acknowledge that upon the stupendous endowment in human and material resources of Oro Nation which justifiably positions it both as an intellectual nucleus and oil-producing zone in Akwa Ibom State and Nigeria, previous administrations in the State did nothing to deliberately commiserate or reflect these huge contributions to the nation’s growth. Had that been done, it at least would have been seen in the area of infrastructure, socio-economic programmes and strategic appointments into the machinery of governance in the State. Or loosely, there would have been one or things to point at as landmarks of such concerns.
Whether by elective or appointive considerations, it can safely be said that Oro Nation had not been favoured by governments prior to Governor Udom’s era. History shows that ever since an Oro indigene was given a principal office in the State during the days of military rule, when Chief Okokon Antigha was appointed to serve as Secretary to State Government (SSG), Oro Nation has been technically and mischievously consigned to the margin of affairs of the State for a period spanning of over three decades.
It could however be argued that it was PDP led Government that has favoured Oro Nation in the following appointments and representations at the State and federal levels: Dr. Mrs Akon Eyakenyi served as Honourable Federal Minister for Lands, Housing and Urban Development, Professor Ita Ewa, Honourable Federal Minister of Science and Technology under former President Goodluck Jonathan or names, Rt. Hon. Chief Peter Linus Umoh and Chief Nelson Effiong as Speakers, Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly . In the Obong Akpan Isemin’s era, Oro Indigene, Sir(Ambassador)Etim Okpoyo had been favoured with Deputy Governorship slot and later on Ambassador to Italy and Albania in the early days of Godswill Akpabio’s led Government.But the logic here is that the inclusion of Oro indigenes in the governance of the state since its creation has been merely conciliatory and so insignificant in percentage as can be verified in the administrations of Obong Victor Attah and Senator Gosdswill Akpabio. Same had been the story in the area of infrastructure.
Sadly,all the major federal government’s appointments of the APC led Government such as the Minister of Budget and National Planning, Managing Director of NDDC, MD,Oil and Gas Free Zone, SSA to the President on National Assembly Matters, NDDC Commissioner, major Boards appointments all went to our big brothers from the Ibibio and Annang.
Those who are looking for the Votes of Oro People to become Governor had opportunity to support an Oro man to become the Governor but they never saw anything good in Oro man. The big question begging for answer therefore is, is it now that Oro People have seen sincere love and goodwill in Governor Udom Emmanuel that they will vote for men who saw them as slaves and as ineffective minority group? Oro people are not fools, slaves and will never accept to be treated as second class citizens in their own State.
This antithesis makes Udom Emmanuel’s administration phenomenal in terms of sectoral inclusiveness. In accordance with his campaign promises in 2015, the emergence of Governor Udom Emmanuel has brought about fresh narratives in the socio-political development of Oro Nation. As a practical expression of his governance of inclusion, integration and emancipation, He demonstrated rare bravery and justice by appointing Dr. Emmanuel Ekuwem as Secretary to the Government of the State. That was after about 30 long years since the creation of the State. This singular and strategic appointment was a pointer to the fact that Oro Nation deserves the best and the very best because of its enormous contributions to nation building.
Beyond the State’s Executive Council where we have a commendable representation based on the Governor’s Federal Constituency appointment template, Governor Udom Emmanuel has also appointed Oro indigenes into various Boards and Commissions as well as show interest and lend a loud voice to the sustenance of their strongholds in political offices like in the State House of Assembly where an Oro indigene currently serves as Deputy Speaker, in addition to actively encouraging their aspirations for greater roles. He has promised Oro more Commissionership slots in the second term. This may not have happened had there been no fellow feeling, trust and justice in uniting the various strands that hold the State together.
In the area of infrastructure, the Governor has also not disappointed Oro Nation. It can be said without fear of contradiction that Oro Nation has had more to show in infrastructural development from the Udom administration than in previous administrations in the state’s entire history combined. Apart from some roads constructed and two industries to be cited , Oro Nation in particular has been beneficiaries of some new roads in Oron Urban, big and small, besides ongoing ones which the Governor is determined to drive to logical conclusion as promised.
Perhaps it is pertinent to boldly state here that the emergence of Governor Udom Emmanuel as the Chief Executive Officer of the State did not take Oro people by surprise; nor did they sit on the fence during the process. Oro people made great sacrifices that resulted in collective and significant adjustments and synchronization of individual viewpoints and expectations to accommodate the fact that it was time Eket Senatorial District produced a Governor who will be expected to stay in office till 2023 by the ratified two-term template of the political stakeholders. Because they were all in support and watered the idea, it is on record that Oro Nation did not present any noticeable opposition in individual or group aspirations to that office in 2015,after those who genuinely jostled for the hilltop mansion’s job could not make it. Oro therefore deserves the right of both benefactors and beneficiaries of the Divine Mandate of Governor Udom Emmanuel.
Approximately four years now on the saddle, we can confidently say that Governor Udom has not disappointed Oro people or reneged on his promises. Whereas some might quickly point at the proposed Ibaka Seaport as one of the things adequate attention supposedly may not have been given, but the Governor has, in several instances, explained that the project is a dynamic one with a long-term execution plan. His interest in making it a reality in his second term can be seen in the fact that the state government has already constituted an integrated Implementation Committee made up of tested experts in associated fields to oversee modalities towards the actualization of the project and the effort has yielded positive results. That is commitment and vision at work.
Beyond this, Governor Udom has also demonstrated that he is a centrifugal force for the unity and continued coexistence of Akwa Ibom State. He has succeeded commendably in downplaying tribal sentiments that once was an emerging menace amongst the diverse but homogenous anthropological entities of the State. This, as analysts home and abroad have observed, has attracted investors into the State to open up frontiers for rapid economic development. As it stands at the moment, Oro Nation is already in tune with Governor Emmanuel’s leadership philosophy and policy thrust. As such, a consensus stand had already been taken that he must be supported to compete his 8 years in office for the sake of justice and equity.
We know how we have come. The fear however is that should politics and money becloud our vision and sense of equity not to see the necessity to vote for Governor Udom’s continuity in office till 2023, all the lofty programmes he has initiated in Oro Nation are as good as gone because there are no signals that any party or individual by any name in the way things are going in the State can tow that line of inclusive development for Oro interest. Whereas we are free to express our political liberties according to our choices, logic demands that Oro Nation think beyond immediate personal gratifications to the greater tomorrow that lies ahead as Udom Emmanuel takes off with his Completion Agenda for the State.
Put more straightforwardly, it is expected that no sensible and clairvoyant Oro indigene would want to thwart the beautiful plans of the Governor in the advancement of democracy in the State. Every Oro son and daughter must show beyond words and songs that he or she is on the path of justice for Governor Udom Emmanuel, even as we all match to our various polling units and wards to cast our vote for GOOD GOVERNANCE, inspired and spearheaded by the “ONLY GOD” mantra.
If we disappoint our Onna brothers by not supporting Justice and equity, when next zoning arrangement favours Eket Senatorial District,we may not be trusted. Let join the Progressive Akwa Ibom people to do the needful.
That is what all Akwa Ibom people are ready to do against all manner of intimidations and threats by the very haters of democracy who are seeking their selfish interests.
In all truth, if another question was : Has Governor Udom treated Oro Nation badly in his first term?, the answer would be in the negative. Oro people therefore have irrevocable power in their PVCs to convincingly reciprocate this gesture come March 9, 2019. We sure will not regret!
Edet Okpo is a Journalist, Public Affairs Analyst and President,Oro Nation Forum of Professionals who resides in Uyo.