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2023: Akwa Ibom Renaissance and the ‘Village Boy’

2023: Akwa Ibom Renaissance and the ‘Village Boy’

By Solomon Bassey

Almost immediately after the 2019 general elections in Akwa Ibom State, intrigues, horse-trading and antics towards 2023 kick-started and since then, governance had taken the backseat. Several indigenes have expressed interest to occupy the Hilltop Mansion, the Akwa Ibom State seat of power/government.

I and a few of my colleagues on July 29, 2021 met with one of such indigene who has also expressed interest to serve the state and her people come 2023. He’s in every sense of the word a very refined gentleman, a thorough-bred professional and a detribalised Akwa Ibom man.

Our meeting lasted for a couple of hours and during this time, he spoke very softly and with extreme honesty and humility about his ambition. From his background, he’s a very blunt fellow, one who is not given to showmanship; he’s a “village boy” even though most people see him as being elitist.

While our meeting lasted, his dreams for Akwa Ibom State and her people reminded me of the history of our forebears, their struggle for state creation and the administration of Obong Victor Attah. He’s in the ilk of Obong Victor Attah.

At the end of our meeting, I couldn’t agree less with the assertion of a former Chief Secretary and Head of Service of Eastern Nigeria; Former Director, Institute of Public Policy and Administration, University of Calabar, Nigeria, Chief Ntieyong U. Akpan, OFR, FIPM, who in his foreword in the book titled, Akwa Ibom Renaissance by Napoleon Obot had said: “If we must be successful with the Akwa Ibom Project and the state’s Rebirth Agenda, we must be familiar with history, character, spirit and mission of our founding fathers and the people, for as George Santayna rightly reminds us: “Those who forget history are doomed to repeat it…” Akwa Ibom people, as a distinct people in the Nigerian State, cannot afford to forget their history- the long and tortuous journey to the land of promise.”

He added that “the state, since inception, has witnessed tremendous strides by different administrations with the Attah administration, which has raised it to the highest heights with the socio-political re-engineering of the people which has significantly re-oriented their mentality.”

Like I have always said, there has been a disconnect after the administration of Obong Victor Attah and 2023 is yet another opportunity for us as a people to reconnect to the dreams and vision of our forebears.

Like the author of the book, Akwa Ibom Renaissance, Napoleon Obot aptly admonished us, “If our forefathers had aimed at the sky, we must aim at the moon, if they had aimed at the moon, we must aim at the stars, if they had aimed at the Land of promise, we must aim at the Land of Fulfillment; if they had started Akwa Ibom Project, we must in concert and determination, actualize it. Anything less would negate the dreams and vision of our forefathers.”

This man we met by every estimation knows the history of Akwa Ibom State and has it at his fingertips. His contribution to the development of the State even as a public servant is immeasurable. He’s one who fears God and holds very high His principles which says that ” So when you give something to a needy person, do not make a big show of it, as the hypocrite does in the houses of worship and on the streets. They do it so that people will praise them. I assure you, they have already been paid in full. But when you help a needy person, do it in such a way that even your closest friend will not know about it.”

Meanwhile, I will do my best to bring us up to speed with a collection of thoughts on the process of good governance as put together by the Political and Legislative Affairs Bureau, Akwa Ibom State during the administration of Obong Victor Attah.

“Let’s stop and think! My people! In the spirit of the new millennium, there is an urgent need to purge ourselves of all negativities which have helped in a monstrous manner to hinder our unity as a state. It is no gainsaying the fact that many blessings will surely flow from our unity.”

As elucidated, I will serially bring the thought of this great Akwa Ibom son to the public sphere in my subsequent write-ups as his full name, personality, ideology, etc would be exposed therein.

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