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HomeEditorialOpinionUDOM: BETWEEN EXECUTIVE HOOLIGANISM AND THE HOLLOWNESS OF NEEDLESS BRIGANDAGE

UDOM: BETWEEN EXECUTIVE HOOLIGANISM AND THE HOLLOWNESS OF NEEDLESS BRIGANDAGE

By Dan ETOKIDEM

“If you use your appointment to come into the state and cause disunity, I can reassure you I have the full assurances of the youths, any idiot who will come forthwith to make any nonsense proclamation in the state; the youths will not let him go”- Udom Emmanuel

Irrational, irresponsible, indefensible, primitive arrogance, sheer buffoonery, morally reprehensible, paralysis of the mind. These were some of the words that readily came to mind as I read the declaration of war by Udom Emmanuel, Governor of Akwa Ibom state in response to his frustrations over a radio programme by the Senior Special Assistant (SSA) to the President on National Assembly Matters, Senator Ita Enang over the “Zenithization” of Akwa Ibom State.

From the podium designed to be a solemn assembly to thank God for His love and mercies for the new year, Udom bared his fangs in a manner replica of a military dictator. Before our very eyes, Akwa Ibom has become a huge soapbox opera. Suspense piles upon suspense, just as disbelief takes over as the abiding rule of the game. But over this dream- like reality you sit almost literally glued, compelled to watch as the idiocies of power compete with the aberration of evil governance.

Something was about to kiss the dust, but you must first understand the Governor’s mental state when he made this statement. He said this barely 23 days after he narrowly escaped death when the Reighners Bible Church collapsed killing God knows how many.

Ordinarily, many will think the trauma of the tragedy was over and all was well. That the dead will bury the dead until the living bury the dead and vice verse. But medically speaking, Udom is not okay. He naturally is suffering from what medical experts will call “Post Traumatic Stress” (PTS) syndrome. But I doubt his personal doctor or Health Commissioner had the courage to advice him that he needs teraphy. Udom’s PTS syndrome was therefore at work when like an emperor and in another instance of poor and perverted logic, he vowed to send the youths against Sen Ita Enang and other vocal critics of his regime.

While it is safe to think that the Governor had misread the mood of the moment and might also had underestimate the consequences of his threat, there is need for great caution at this moment even though apocalypse may not be far away.

With his inability to cope with his PTS crisis at one hand, and the rising potential of the APC in the state which makes his continued stay in office beyond May 29,2019 less realistic, this is a very dangerous moment for Akwa Ibom State. We have in our hands, a disturbed and psychologically destabilised Governor who is unlikely to be in the right frame of mind anytime soon to make rational and objective statements and decisions his apex leadership position demands. But his resort to vile language only shows that he has humiliatingly lost the argument Ita Enang enunciated in terms of logic, facts and figures.

For the past nine years, Akwa Ibom has been powered on a falcrum of impunity; political, economic and religious. We can excuse some associates of the governor who have made similar remarks the indulgence of irrationality given their advanced age. We can understand the erratic illogic of some of his aides. But what do we make of the mentally sterile vituperations of a supposedly enlightened character like Udom Emmanuel?

This kind of statement lacking in decorum and civility, can only come from a Governor, who like a rudderless ship, has lost any sense of direction. He argued with some some of callous ingenuity that, those who perpetuate all forms of mischief in the state will not benefit from the mercy of God this year. Even Aristotle will chuckle. Udom only uses the language of God to exploit the religious gullibility of many Akwa Ibom people who turn coy when God’s name is used. He therefore not only has a poor understanding of the scriptures or theology, he also has an even poorer understanding of God.

At no time in our history have we been so pious as a people, and at no time have a Governor poked fun at God as Udom did on Jan 2,2017. He poked fun at the impunity with which he denied the tenets of his faith as he, like an autumnal leaf in temperate zone, came out in true colors. Certainly, this is not the utterance of a Governor determined to salvage a state that has virtually broken down under the weight of venal, brutal and mediocre leadership.

When a mourse roars, let even the most intrepid hunter beware. Akwa Ibom has just passed a momentous watershed in her history. Whether the emerging ethos is enough to hold a battered, strifeton, demoralized and desacralised polity together remains to be seen. When a great historical occurrence surprises a nation, even its brightest and most perceptive minds mistake its true import. Like a dream, they confuse its manifest content with its latent manifestation.

The tragedy remains that Udom as Governor has never been credited with a wit of his own sensibility, a phrase of his own creativity, a policy of his own genius, an action of his own impulse, a manoeuvre of his own gallantry and his attempt to transmute from the pawn, marionette and puppet that he is, is not by making public comments that makes the stupidity of his reasoning even more glaring even as we try to endure our being ruled by an executive monarch. Indeed, such comment is more graphic and disturbing than it reads or sounds.

With such a mindset coming from the Governor, the state is reconfigured to become a great nuisance and a historic embarrassment to the classic notion of good governance. It is primed to become a human abattoir on an industrial scale, a killing field of Hobbeisian proportion. As Udom like an emperor beats the drum beat of war by casting political dissent in military symbols and signs, stocking fear and trepidation of what is to come, what he managed to say and mean, without seeming to mean it, is that self defense will not be a bad idea to his critics and would be critics. With this threat, leading opposition figures in the state should not underestimate the capabilities of a man who uses violence to perpetrate a political ideology. They must be ready to combat and contain a man ready to declare war and fight like a cornered tiger, nastily and brutally. Regrettably, this “virus” is about to get highly contagious. An emergency response scenario becomes imperative and inevitable.

But wait a minute. Was that the best forum to exhibit executive hooliganism? He probably did not mean the language in its raw manifestation of rage. Udom just fell victim to another unforced error in public speech. Speeches like this are out of sync with the cathedral dignity of the office of Governor. His speech is meant as models, not phrases of putrefaction. They should ennoble, not incite to violence. He should inspire, not obfuscate. He should sedate and not berate loosely.

This is no doubt is a referendum on the moral health of the state. When a Governor engages in a war on a political platform even before the political battle begins, he must not fail to understand that political wars are like oil platforms, always greasy and messy and very slippery to the bargain. You slip and fall only to rise again. You falter and stumble only to find your feet again. But even the oil rig may be rigged against you. What is important is to maintain your grip and not fall off the platform. But what we saw and witnessed was a Governor himself who appears bent on undermining his ability to survive on the platform.

Though since he became Governor, Udom has been unable to shake off the image of a stooge and a wimp who is naive, clueless and fraudulent, he has paved the way to an approaching hurricane but while things have not yet degenerated to that point of no return, it will be to our collective shame and tragedy if the current slide to anarchy and chaos as being instigated by the Governor is not immediately halted and reversed.

Even the blind can see the systematic stealing and looting going on by the trio of Udom Emmanuel, Linus Nkan and Zenith bank as Ita Enang asserted. Those who don’t see it are only part of it. The Governor should therefore not confuse criminal elite enrichment which his gang represents with governance. The scale of sharp practices perpetrated by the trio is simply too shocking to ignore and the sacred cows too gluttonous and brazen to leave anyone unconcerned, except of course, partners in crime. This is why the state is a clear case of compulsive obsession with fullness cohabiting with emptiness, prosperity with poverty and richness with aridity.

The Governor should realise that turbulence unchecked often leads to political crisis. We need peace, development, jobs, industries while still laundering the money as mandated by Zenith bank in fulfillment of his primary assignment. But no one should make the state ungovernable and unlivable in speech and deeds. Not even if that fellow is Udom Emmanuel because the consequences of inciting the youths to possibly intimidate, attack, kidnap, maim, assassinate and eliminate perceived political opponents in the build up to 2019 be better imagined than experienced. He that has ears, let him hear.

 

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