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Giving Akwa Ibom interest precedent – by Joe Iniodu

It is trite knowledge that we have only one State called Akwa Ibom. Those who are natives of the State owe allegiance to it and should as moral obligation…

Nothing has given impetus to one of the five points agenda of the Udom administration being political inclusiveness like the recent visit to Government House by Obong Umana O. Umana and the planned collaboration between Akwa Ibom State Government under Governor Udom Emmanuel and Oil and Gas Free Zones Authority (OGFZA) under Umana as the Managing Director.

For reminiscence, Udom and Umana were the leading contenders in the 2015 gubernatorial election. But the dust refused to settle after the election was won and lost. 

A legal battle ensued all the way down to the Supreme Court where Udom was confirmed the winner of that much fought election. 

But the pronouncement of the apex court did not rest the grumblings as those opposed to the duly elected and judiciary confirmed Governor Udom Emmanuel continued to hurl tirades at him and the exalted office.

Even those expected to know better could not submit to the dictates of sound reasoning as they frequently deployed various mass media platforms especially Planet Radio to cast aspersions at the governor and the office.

In the past 19-months, this has remained the stock in trade of these people that one can safely say have scant love for their State of origin. 

It is trite knowledge that we have only one State called Akwa Ibom. Those who are natives of the State owe allegiance to it and should as a moral obligation seek its development. 

If the trite knowledge is stretched further, it is realized that no development can be attained under the atmosphere of chaos.

But these touted “political gladiators” have since the inception of the Udom administration refused to submit to this superior reasoning. 

They have used either the privilege of their offices or economic fortunes to heat up the polity in the State with the intent to distract the governor and frustrate him in the onerous task of delivering democracy profits to the people. 

The question is, when one plots to suffocate the process of governance through blackmail not minding government’s good intentions, whose interest is he or she serving? 

Certainly, not the people as such mischievous contrivance can only increase their ones.

It is in the light of the above that one can with delight describe the courtesy call by Umana and officials of Oil and Gas Free Zones Authority to Governor Emmanuel at Governor’s Office in Uyo on January 4, 2017 as a new year gift to Akwa Ibom people. 

The gift that unfurled from that visit is peace, it is brotherhood, it is love and a reinvention of our common heritage. God is infallible. 

He, therefore, could not have made any mistake to have put us in one geographical space with an intelligible language to interact and even marry if he had no purpose. 

But often times, we watch with sadness and trepidation as politicians cast a pall of divisiveness that undermines the one tongue identity that God had in His infinite wisdom graciously given to us thereby unwittingly eroding His purpose.

A man on his dying bed called the children and requested each of them to come with one broom stick. Obediently, they arrived his presence as requested. 

He then asked each of them to break the broom stick and they did as he had instructed. 

After they had all successfully performed that ritual, the old man brought from under his bed one bunch of broom. 

He asked each of them to take turns to break the bunch of broom. All of them tried but none was successful in the task of breaking the bunch. 

The dying man used that physical act to admonish them on the need for unity. 

He warned that if they are divided, they risked being made mince meats by enemies who are always on the prowl but if they are united, they can never be vanquished.

The experience of Akwa Ibom as a State during the onshore off-shore imbroglio provides a clear perspicacity of the fact that between our State and some of the neighboring States, there is no love lost. 

Of course, this was made eloquent in the era of disputed oil wells. 

It is on record that one of our neighbouring States went to the ridiculous length of surreptitiously funding litigations for the abrogation of the Onshore Offshore Act which enshrines Akwa Ibom State with the right to benefit from oil exploited from offshore but within its environment. 

That State did that to deprive our State of revenue from the Federation Account and such other revenues that accrue to oil producing States. 

The lesson here is that, we can only rise to the occasion of protecting ourselves and our rights if we are a united people, joined together in love with the common good as our objective.

The collaboration between Governor Emmanuel and Obong Umana is obviously an acknowledgment of this principle of common good as the objective. 

This was encapsulated when he briefed the governor at that historic courtesy call. 

He said that he was there with the management and staff of the Oil and Gas Free Zones Authority to discuss the establishment of Oil and Gas Free Zones in Akwa Ibom State. 

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