As Gov Emmanuel Steps On The Rostrum

By Franklyn Isong

“Let me pay tribute to our immediate past Governor, His Excellency Chief Godswill Obot Akpabio, CON, with steady hands on the wheel of progress and development, he steered the ship of our dear state through ill and fair weather, and landed us on shores of uncommon achievements. He became a metaphor for good governance and an abiding testimony that we can have a government not only by the people and of the people, but also for the people. Seldom in the chequered history of mankind has so many owed so much to one man. We owe him a debt of gratitude, which we can never hope to pay. People gawk at what he has done and ask, “Can anyone fill the large shoes he is leaving behind?” I don’t know whether we can, but we know where the shoes are pointed and we are all heading towards that direction. Just yesterday, the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly passed a resolution that this great architectural masterpiece, one of the many great infrastructures built by the Akpabio Administration, be named, Godswill Akpabio International Stadium” in celebration of his uncommon transformation of our State. This was a reflection of popular sentiment, and the least we could do for His Excellency Governor Godswill Akpabio. I, therefore, in the discharge of the office invested in me, proudly give assent to this resolution and let this stadium be henceforth known, called and addressed as “Godswill Akpabio International Stadium. In the same vein, I want to specially appreciate his wife and our former First Lady, Her Excellency, Mrs. Ekaete Unoma Akpabio (Mkpouto Akwa Ibom, the Most Supportive First Lady in Nigeria) for her motherly love and support for the Akwa Ibom project. She had lifted up many and has transformed lives. My wife and I pay tribute to her historic support for our cause and the actualization of this divine mandate,” – BEING EXCERPTS FROM THE INAUGURAL ADDRESS PRESENTED BY MR. UDOM EMMANUEL, ON FRIDAY, MAY 29, 2015, AT THE GODSWILL AKPABIO INTERNATIONAL STADIUM DURING HIS SWEARING-IN AS THE GOVERNOR OF AKWA IBOM STATE.

Moving forward, maybe, I should say here that, I have observed that all official government promos and jingles/public announcements on radio and television stations about the second-term inauguration ceremony of Governor Emmanuel have carefully referred to the venue as “NEST OF CHAMPIONS” instead of “GODSWILL AKPABIO INTERNATIONAL STADIUM”. This act whether by omission or commission at this time, is not necessary. We need peace, unity and oneness in Akwa Ibom. The action of government is unknowingly sending out a wrong signal to the members of the public that; ‘in Akwa Ibom, 2019 politics and elections are not over yet!’ Especially, when the change of name of the Stadium was done 4years ago in a similar event as this, by the present governor. I want to think and truly so, that the governor is not aware of this development and will act promptly, now that this has been brought to the public fore.

Tomorrow, Wednesday, May 29, 2019, will make it exactly 4 years of the administration of Udom Emmanuel. It will mark the beginning of another era. Luckily, Emmanuel got reelected for a second term. He will be stepping out on the rostrum for the second time to take his oath of office as the governor.

The governor is an intellectual. A fine gentleman with vast experience in governance. He has steered the ship of the State in the past 4 years and understands its nagging challenges. We will be expecting solutions to these challenges. He rode on the platform of continuity, promising to build on the achievements of his predecessors. Today is not for the assessment of his performance. I will return soon with my assessment of the first term of Udom Emmanuel’s administration. I have his scorecard already on my desk.

All I can posit is, let’s not be led by the euphoria of the moment. Government is a serious business. It is a collective responsibility. It is all embracing. No one person can do it without the others. When opportunity throw up itself for someone to take the lead and steer the ship of governance, the lucky one should consider it a rare privilege to render services to the people of the State and not otherwise. It is not that the lucky one is the most qualified out of the over two million citizens of Akwa Ibom State. But it is, that, God has destined the State to be governed by no other than him, at this time.

I expect to read an edifying inaugural address by tomorrow from Governor Emmanuel. I would be glad if his speech writers will shun political sentiment and focus more on unity of the people of the State.

It would do the State a great deal of development, if all political parties’ flags in Akwa Ibom are, with effect, from tomorrow, May 29, 2019, be flown at half-mast -signifying suspension of political activities, till such a time when INEC will lift ban on political campaigns and activities in the country for the 2023 general elections.

I bet, it would be difficult for the governor to concentrate on governance in the midst of 2023 political distractions and the people will be worst for it throughout the next 4 years.

Once again, I congratulate Governor Udom Emmanuel as he steps on the rostrum the second time.

 Franklyn Isong is a public affairs commentator and conscience of the society

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