By UbongAbasi ISE
“The greatest deception men suffer is from their own opinions” – Leonardo da Vinci
We are in unfortunate era where the polity is systematically advancing leaders that are utterly disoriented and do not care so much about democratic precepts and values of good governance. In Akwa Ibom, to be specific, we have leaders whose performances are mainly predetermined by love of self coupled with preservation of narrow interests of the power class who they were brought forth to represent, while common masses suffer grievous negligence and altogether made to become victims of political manipulations. It would be recalled that Mr. Udom Emmanuel, while taking the oath of office, swore never to place his personal interest above the interest of the people of Akwa Ibom State.
But one needs to assess whether what the Governor achieved for the people of Akwa Ibom over the last one year have really measured up to what he achieved for himself. Though Mr. Udom may be apt to cite paucity of funds as hindering his performance, but is it not pertinent too to query why he took less than nine months after he was sworn into office to surreptitiously complete his deluxe mansion at Awa Iman in Onna Local Government Area while bulk of his promises made to the common citizens of the state are yet to take definite shape and form? If the Governor is so selfless, and place his own interest below the collective aspiration of the people, has he put his feet in the common man’s shoe to have a feel of what it takes to survive the harshness of prevailing economic trend characterized by rise in the prices of food items, high fuel pump price, hiked utility bills while the state government still owing workers backlog of their statutory entitlements? Does it come to the Governor’s reckoning that despite his loads of promises on job creation and industrialization, rate of unemployment still skyrocket to alarming high level? Does he really care about these young people that have to struggle in order to extract living from miserable economic conditions? Heaven can wait! Udom can build any house of choice.
One Osondu Ahirika, in his infamous, sycophantic write-up titled ‘Governor Udom’s Beautiful House: Resolving the Controversy’, documented a rather blunt and astonishing remark credited to Mr. Ephraim Inyang-eyen, the Commissioner for Works during a courtesy call by the League of Publishers, Akwa Ibom State Chapter. Ahirika quoted Mr. Ephraim Inyang-eyen in his work thus: “the governor I can say with all sense of modesty was a billionaire before he joined public service. He self-funded his electioneering campaign and you can quote me on that… Are his critics saying he cannot afford to build any house of his desire without being a governor?” Notably, the Hon. Commissioner for Works told anyone who care to listen that Mr. Udom Emmanuel, the present Governor of Akwa Ibom State, self-funded his electioneering campaign. Can you hear him? Governor Udom self-funded the most expensive election ever conducted in Akwa Ibom State since 1999. This is mind-boggling. This is heart-rending. This is bragging in the public space. Is Ephraim Inyang-eyen pompous? Is this flippancy? Someone should offer to help because his statement smell arrogant and haughty, an inflaming insult on the sensibility of the frugal culture of the people of Akwa Ibom State.
The question to ask is: who is interested in Udom’s billionaire qualification to contest Akwa Ibom State governorship in 2015? Again, should conscience challenge Ephraim to disclose what Udom Emanuel was doing outside banking job to be labeled a billionaire by him? This is because it is incomplete to say Udom was a billionaire without telling us his sources of money. May public concern compel Mr. Ephraim Inyang-eyen to answer the above pertinent questions or get lost and bury his face in perpetual shame for talking like a parrot. No one is calling El-Rufai, the Governor of Kaduna State a billionaire, yet he surrendered his salary to serve his people.
Our billionaire Governor, Udom Gabriel Emmanuel is yet to tell us in addition to his salary, how much of our money every month goes into his pocket as security vote. How much of our money he spends every month in the name of allocation to government house. Habba Ephraim, these are monies your billionaire boss is not accounting to anybody. He spends the money the way it pleases him. Is the commissioner flying the billionaire toga around the governor so that Akwa Ibom people will not trace billions of naira allocated to the state monthly to Udom’s mansion in Onna? Or rather too, was he intended to use such frivolous claim to drown shrill voices of perceptive common masses? Is it possible to say that, Udom’s mansion in Onna is not benefitting from Akwa Ibom State monthly allocation? Is that what Ephraim want Akwa Ibom State to believe by putting his finger into his nose to say “Udom was a billionaire before joining public service.” What then attracted this your Udom to public service if he had had everything in life? Commissioner you are funny!
Mr. Ephraim is throwing a kite, insinuating that Deacon Udom Emmanuel is a stellar and none should comment on his public posturing. This is very unfortunate, because close people to Gov. Udom like Ephraim shall probably lead him to failure. Maybe the commissioner is compromising with his conscience in order to ingratiate himself with the governor. By reflection, this is not the appropriate time for Udom Emmanuel or his cronies to boast of his wealth in the midst of scandalous poverty, hunger, unemployment, breakdown in education and health systems amongst other challenges facing the people of the state daily.
Let’s consider this fact that Gov. Udom was foisted on Akwa Ibom State by the then Governor, Godswill Akpabio, in a very expensive way. If truth is to be told, Gov. Udom Emmanuel was the most expensive governor to be installed in the history of Akwa Ibom State. Godswill Akpabio had over fifty others to contest with in 2007, but no delegate got N100,000. In Udom’s case you know what happened. Some delegates got as much as two million naira, then someone will have the guts to say in the public space, that Udom single-handedly funded his election. If this is true, Zenith Bank where he came from should re-check their books because an employee should not acquire that quantity of money devoid of fraud. I am equally sad that the so called wealth beclouds Deacon Udom Emmanuel to the extent that he fails to see sacrifices Akwa Ibom people made to vote for him in 2015.
Meanwhile, Senator Godswill Akpabio who brought Udom Emmanuel to power owes us an explanation on Mr. Ephraim Inyang-eyen’s claim to the sponsorship of Mr. Udom Emmanuel’s election. We are waiting for his own side of his story.
Yes! I am UbonAbasi Ise.