Earlier this week, Sahara Reporters, an activist internet site based in New York, published a story where it stated that Governor Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom State was building a multi- billion naira mansion in the state.
Because of the allegations contained in the story, an independent investigation was considered in order to ascertain the veracity of the story, and it was discovered that the story was not only malicious, but was the handiwork of detractors who are worried about the rising profile of Governor Udom Emmanuel and the dividends of democracy that his government has provided in a mere 100 Days of his administration.
First and foremost, it is ridiculous and utterly preposterous the notion that one of the most successful bankers in Nigeria nay Africa, a man who had sat on the boards of at least ten profit making companies, a thorough-bred profession who before his foray into public service, had held among other positions, a Non -Executive Director, Africa Finance Corporation (AFC), Non-Executive Director of Zenith Bank, UK, Zenith Bank, The Gambia, Zenith Bank, Sierra-Leone, Zenith Insurance Pension and Custodian, Zenith Securities, Zenith Trustees ,Zenith Executive Director, Director, Nigerian Inter- Banks Settlement System (NIBBS) cannot afford to live in a four-bedroom house.
Our investigations revealed that the said property has been in the family compound for more than 55 years, and had undergone renovations over the decades. It was the same property the Governor used in hosting politicians and other associates in the course of his successful gubernatorial campaign.
It was there too, that he hosted people while he was the Secretary to the State government. The same property was used in the inauguration reception on May 29th, 2015.
It beats our imagination that a property that that has been used over time could metamorphose and turned into a billion naira property overnight. This is nothing but mischief taken too far.
Governor Udom Emmanuel is one of the new set of leaders that Nigeria sorely needs. As a professional in politics he is imbued with the concept of the common good and what and how a leader can deploy the awesome powers of government to affect lives and change the way governance is viewed by the people.
He came in strictly with the mindset to offer selfless service to the people, and as the Secretary to the State Government; he rejected being paid salary- and believes that the motivating impulse in public service should be conditioned by a mind to provide selfless service.
As Governor, he has maintained a low profile and still lives in his personal house in one of the residential estates in Uyo which the merchant of lies now contrived to be a multi-billion Naira home.
Governor Emmanuel is not given to unnecessary ostentatious or indecent or conspicuous display of wealth. He drives his personal cars as a State Governor.
Even his demeanor or conduct as a Governor is tailored to what he had called himself in his inaugural address- “a servant-leader”. His convoy is small, the outriders don’t blow the siren, he sees himself as a leader whom God had lifted to provide a selfless service to his people, which so far he has done in an exceptional manner.
The story was an ill-conceived attempt to malign the government and it is, on all fronts, mischief and blackmail taken too far. Governor Udom Emmanuel is one of the most hardworking Governors in the present dispensation and he remains committed to fulfilling his campaign promise which is predicated on rapid industrialization of the state.
Others are: engendering a new thinking, a new winning mindset where the good people of the state will be as aspirational, as hopeful and as assured of the endless possibilities and their capacity to rise to the top in whatever they aim their minds at.
The philosophy of ‘dakkada’ (let’s rise up) has caught on, and the resort to cheap blackmail and character assassination will not stand because the majority of Akwa Ibom People are solidly behind the Governor.
Mr. Ekong Johnson is a public affairs analyst based in Uyo
By Ekong Johnson