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Building an Egalitarian Akwa Ibom: The Way Forward By. Joe Etokudor

It is heart-warming to discover that the people of Akwa Ibom State were the first people in Nigeria to embrace the concept of community development before the concept ever gained wide acceptability in Nigeria – Akwa Ibom people are very unique. They occupy a class of their own among their contemporaries in intelligence, vision, transparency, character, out-spokenness, ingenuity, competence, moral up-rightness, tenacity of purpose and vibrant leadership.

It has often been said by people outside that Akwa Ibom is a Civil service state, but did Lagos for example not become a high net worth and vibrant state as a result of dedication, high spirit, determination and vision of its citizens and sojourners alike? I have also often heard people say that the level of economic activities in Akwa Ibom State is nothing to write home about, but will criticisms alone perform the magic of increasing the level of economic activities? It is widely perceived that Akwa Ibom indigenes the nation over, constitute the highest and most virulent petition writers, but has anybody ever deemed it fit to alter the perception of an average Akwa Ibomite in that regard yet? How about the state’s notoriety as the sole producer of house-helps? Has somebody out there ever thought of attracting industries that can revolutionize the state overnight? People are desirous of an increased tempo of economic activities but pray, can that be feasible without constant power supply? Our capacity utilization in the few manufacturing companies in the state ever be attained? One of the cardinal sources from which a given society can be sure of a competent, effective and efficient work force is the tertiary institutions but can Akwa Ibom State conveniently and expressly boast of a functional and fully equipped tertiary institution in any part of the state?

But in the face of this festering abnormally, compounded by rife and scandalous examination malpractice has anyone volunteered yet to bell the cat? Has anybody ever had this feeling of primitivity that Akwa Ibom State, an oil producing state can exist without a functional Railway service? How then will the much talked about economic and social activities gather momentum?

It is often said that youths are the future hope of any society, but have the past governments ever contemplated involving the youths in the scheme of things? Have the elders not been harboring the fears that if exposed to so much money, the youths will unseat them in the state? What of the high degrees of poverty, diseases and squalor, what also forms out opinion of the irrepressive despondency and innate resort to character assassination? Has anyone equally every wondered why there are still so much fetishness and diabolical inhibition by the people?

The above negativities call for sober reflection and genuine concern by all, for the way forward; it call for rebirth in our mindset, it calls for a reshaping of our policy thrust as a people; it calls for equity, justice, peace and a truly reoriented Akwa Ibom State. It calls for our insistence on detribalized leadership; it seeks a leadership of the entire state as one constituency; it behooves us to crave for leadership with strong character, selflessness, boldness and visionary disposition, it calls for a dispassionate leadership, driven by intelligence, sound educational background and personality; leadership that can defend the people any day, anytime, anywhere; it beckons on leadership that is firm and decisive, one whose approach to issues of public importance would be holistic so as to permanently steer the ship of Akwa Ibom State to bound-breaking prosperity and independence. It makes us desirous of governance that is devoid of rudderless-leadership, which perpetually leaves our people prostrate, subservient, poor and superstition-oriented.

Akwa Ibom needs a leadership that would constantly and effectively manage the thorny issues of youth restiveness and gangsterism that is now the order of the day. It alerts us on the need to crave for a solution – bearing leadership, one capable of confronting the hydra-headed monster called unemployment in the state. We need a leadership that is knowledgeable and independent-minded, a leadership that is not easily manipulated, whether physically or spiritually; it calls for a leadership with tons of confidence, sense of dissection, reliability and dependability; it calls for a bridge – building governance backed by infectious love and attruism encapsulated in afflatus (divine inspiration).

So as we desire a pragmatic way forward, it is time to wonder who can open the scroll and read; it is time to support a man who has what it takes to reverse this negative trend, the moment has come to look for a man who is pious; it is the responsibility of the new generation of Akwa Ibom to take their collective destiny in their hands by relying on this pillar of change and development; this great source of strength and light. The time has come to stop identifying with people who innately think nothing good can ever come out of Akwa Ibom State to be wary of that selfish and yet greedy cabal that has held this state to ransomed over generations. The time is now to be consistent in our collective decision. Let us as a people, henceforth imagine working under God’s guidance and direction, let us stand firm to bring to an end the incessant mortgaging of the future of our children in the cold and unfriendly hands of political jobbers and speculators. The time has come for us to think big, but stood with little practical and consistent steps towards our liberation; to be dynamic and flexible in our thought – pattern; the time has equally come to support a true, polished, tested and proven administrator and democrat, an incomparable philanthropist, one with genuine concern for the masses of all colorations.

The time has come for all self-contending factions to sheathe their swords and then brave up to tread the path of reality, to give credence to the leader with strong moral will and character; a leader with pairless pedigree and support base, a leader with comprehensive package to turn our long moribund state around, a leader with burning passion and enthusiasm to serve, a leader with strong national, international and divine connections.

The time has also come for all Akwa Ibomites to expect greater things happen in our history as a people a time that nobody would be left behind; a time to open a new page in our political lexicon; a time for all to give posterity cause to see us as not just heroes and heroines but Davids of our generation; a time to stop basking in self-adulation; a time to desist from all manner of cynicism, gossips, and blackmail, a time to stop asking; whether he is an Ibibio, Annang or Oron in our state, a time to go in one direction, a time to come alive to our collective responsibility.

This is the time to accept the olive branch extended to all by the winner of the governorship election in Akwa Ibom State and embrace peace; a time to stop hoping against hope, a time to be gallant in defeat and a time to give our worthy ambassador … who is poised to take Akwa Ibom State to the next level. As we all oblige this clarion call, may God Almighty continue to bless Akwa Ibom State.

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