By Franklyn ISONG

Mr. Udom Emmanuel, the Governor of Akwa Ibom State is married to only one wife, Dr. (Mrs.) Martha Udom Emmanuel. He is not a polygamist. His children are not polygamous children as against the title of this piece.

The title of this piece is attributed to one of the conversations I had with my close friend, elder brother and senior colleague in the pen profession, Mr. Anietie Usen in 2019. Usen is currently a top director in the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC). Usen, a fine journalist with a high sense of humour had summarised my plight with respect to my neutrality and unbiased disposition in the politics of Akwa Ibom State with the phrase: “THE DILEMMA OF A POLYGAMOUS FATHER.” He explained that my position in the human rights community does not allow me to be partisan or a card-carrying member of any political party, which he noted, has placed me in a position of being a “father” to all the politicians and political parties in Nigeria nay Akwa Ibom State.

The dictionary meaning of POLYGAMY is the practice or custom of having more than one wife or husband at the same time. It is a state of marriage to many spouses. It is the practice of marrying multiple spouses. When a man is married to more than one wife at a time, it is called polygyny but, when a woman is married to more than one husband it is called polyandry.

I chose this title in order to pass a message. Though, I am not a politician. I am not a partisan public commentator. In the voice of President Muhammadu Buhari; I belong to every political party and I belong to no political party. As a journalist with bias in public affairs issues, my first responsibility is to identify issues of interest to the public and bring them up in the public domain through my conversations on public platforms.

Fact is, the governor of Akwa Ibom State is currently working with a borrowed political structure in the State. He came and inherited the structure of his predecessor(s) in 2015. 85 percent of his State Executive Council (cabinet) members are not loyal to him, as it were, even though they pretend to be. Udom Emmanuel is constitutionally barred from seeking a third-term in office in 2023, but I doubt if he is not interested in who succeeds him in 2023. It would be politically wrong for him not to be. If he is interested in his successor, then the earlier he kick-starts the process and put his political structure in place clandestinely, the better for him.

In 2007, Obong Victor Attah could not have a successor because, aside from the son-in-law wrong political calculation of his, his men and supposed loyalists had already taken their stands on who to support before Attah came up with his preference for his son-in-law, Dr. Udoma Bob Ekarika.

In 2015, Senator Godswill Akpabio, succeeded probably because he is a good student of history. He had studied what befell his predecessor (Attah) in 2007 and learned his lessons therefrom. Akpabio is a maverick politician. Hitherto he gave impression of supporting his deputy, Obong Nsima Ekere and midway, Ekere fell out. Then entered the Secretary to State Government, Obong Umana Umana who also fell out midway to the D-day. Akpabio then settled for his preferred candidate, Udom Emmanuel and before his loyalists/supporters could say ‘Jack Robinson,’ Udom Emmanuel was appointed SSG and in 2015, Akpabio’s succession plan sailed through amidst all odds and stiffer opposition.

To say that Udom Emmanuel a fast learner, have not learned a thing or two from the past political activities in the State, is to say the least. He knows or should know that ‘all that glitters is not gold’ in Akwa Ibom politics with respect to loyalty.

Governor Emmanuel’s present political children are adopted political children. Their loyalty is in doubt. Their loyalty is divided into two equal half, shared amongst their political father(s) elsewhere and the governor. They are the polygamous children this article refers to in its title. They are loyal to more than one political father. Governor Emmanuel should make hay while the sun shines. His cabinet should be dissolved, so that, the governor can put men/women 100 percent loyal to him.

Anyone with 2023 political ambition that clashes with the political interest of Governor Emmanuel has no business being in his cabinet except, the governor is grooming such a person to succeed him.

It is now that for the governor to sit up, take full control and direct the affairs of the State while providing good governance to the people.

This is a piece of advice!

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



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