Akwa Ibom and burden of succession

Virtues and vices are inherently antithetical, thus while vices go with the repugnant, virtues go with positive disposition – Prof Tam David West.

In the definition of politics by David Easton, politics is defined as authoritative allocation of values. According to him, the sole responsibility lies on politics as an instrument to distribute the values, resources and wealth to the teeming masses.

It now behooves on what Aristotle says about whom, what and means of distribution. Nigeria based on political provisions, changes leadership every four years, according to our constitution and electoral law. The present democratic rules started in 1999 when Nigerians began to decide on who oversee the affairs of the state.

It is pertinent to say that leaders in the political circle always look for who succeeds them; the individual that has good pedigree in both private and public offices. In 1999, the military government, through body language, the supported Chief Olusegun Obasanjo when they discovered the unity of Nigeria was at stake as regards the June 12, 1993 election saga. They opted for the Obasanjo option to cement Nigeria’s fragile unity. It appears that at that time, the Yoruba were threatening to wave Nigeria bye-bye when they discovered that they are being treated as second-class citizens.

When Chief Obasanjo was about to hand over the reins of power, he preferred a northerner in the person of Shehu Musa Yar’Adua. Why leaders do that in their sense of honour is not farfetched; it is to ensure continuation of good political packages, policies, welfarism and deeds that will bring dividends of democracy to the people. No leader in his thoughts would want a toxic individual to succeed him.

To political gladiators, 2023 is nearer than December 25, 2021. And in Akwa Ibom State, the political successes and achievements of the current governor Emmanuel Udom, surpass the expectations of both the indigenes and the opposition regardless of creed, religion and party divides. Peradventure this is the reason he is about to unravel the perceived successor.

The question is, what are the achievements of the present government in the state? What has the governor done to warrant him looking for an individual that will succeed him?

The fact is that this has become the norm across all states of the federation.  And it is a fact that Udom has carved an imperishable niche for himself in the scheme of things and his achievement has gone into the anals of history. Udom Gabriel Emmanuel was welcomed by the people, not only with loud ovation, but a standing ovation because of his achievements that was borne out of the knowledge he has garnered over the years; his wealth of experience in corporate governance before coming to power.  His crest of five-point agenda hinges on food production, industrialisation, provision of social services and amenities, creation of unconventional ideas that will push job options available in the state.

His achievements in the six years he has been in power cut across political inclusion, industrialisation, education, health, security and sports. The fact that he is a man that is always received with loud ovation whenever he appears to give his stewardship account shows that the people of Akwa-Ibom State will not want a visionless individual whose integrity is in doubt to succeed Udom. A man said “if Emmanuel Udom is good for us, he should be given opportunity to look for any individual who will succeed him on the political theatre.”

As the race to the governor’s office is gradually kicking off and different political gladiators have come out to vie for the number one seat in the state as expected since they are all qualified as indigenes of the state, it is not surprising that the typical Nigerian manner of electioneering has started shooting up in the form of campaign of calumny, smear campaign, mudslinging and hate speech is on, but it should be noted that this is not peculiar to Akwa Ibom state.

And as 2023 approaches, a lot of gladiators are already becoming prominent. One of the prominent individuals that seek the position is Umo Eno, whom people believe is the anointed successor of the present governor.  And because of this ambition, there are cases already going on with various groups coming up with diverse allegations, proving that politics can be a dangerous endeavour in Nigeria.

They have been reports of court cases and allegations of impropriety which have put a stop to the ambition of some major contestants. It is, however, a fact that he who comes into equity must come with clean hands.

Umo Eno, however, is not swayed like some about the campaign of calumny ongoing in the state to discredit him and stop his ambition, especially attempts to batter his image by calling him names and diverse unsubstantiated allegations. He sees this as a lie that cannot stand and this is the attitude expected of every man that has vision.  One should not allow the underhanded system in the country’s politics to discourage a vision if it is predicated on service to humanity.

It has however been revealed that all the allegations against him are concocted and spurious claims by some people to stop a vision that seems destined to surmount every challenge mounted to stop him from getting to Akwa Ibom Government House in 2023.

With the way politics is practised in Nigeria, parties, especially the Peoples Democratic Party, should find a way of compensating governors who are loyal to their platform through thick and thin and have constantly refused to be induced by money or such overtures from opposition parties and have refused to put personal interest before the overall interest of the people.

That some people appear to be the anointed does not mean primary elections will not hold; the shadow election will truly hold and is likely to throw up the best option. The road to 2023 requires a diligent approach by people of forward mentality, whereby the dividends of democracy will be delivered on the doorsteps of the people.

No one will or should rely on the narratives of fifth columnists that specialise in battering the image of men of honour. And Governor Emmanuel Udom, a man that is looking to make the state to have a place in the gathering of states, deserves an honour; a man that seeks not his interest but believes that to whom much is given, much is expected should be accorded the grace of presenting whom he thinks can move the state forward, otherwise Chinua Achebe’s words may be fulfilled in the state.

Achebe, in the book, ‘Things fall Apart’ says that “turning here and there in the widening glare, the falcon could not hear the falconer, things fall apart and the centre could not hold.”

If the situation in Akwa Ibom is not treated with utmost care, Achebe words could be a prediction.


Ogungbayi, a public affairs analyst and political and social commentator, sent this piece from Ibadan.


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