By Saviour Ekpe
In one of his postulations, Theodore Roosevelt, the 26th President of the United States of America submitted thus, “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly…who at best knows in the end, the triumph of high achievement and who at worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly”.
This postulation directly reflects a man who is already within the police “arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat” without complaining for almost three consecutive decades, serving with all manner of professionalism, integrity and dedication to his assigned duties and responsibilities. CSP Akpan Daniel Okon, a fair but firm; humble but very valiant police officer who was trained in the art and act of policing at the Nigeria Police Academy, Kano; commissioned and called to duty in 1992. Since then, he rose from the ranks from Anambra State where he served in various police formations including heading a division Anti-Robbery Squad; officer-in-charge of drill at the Police College, Enugu; officer-in-charge of drill at the Police Academy, Kano; acting Area Commander, Gwagualada in Abuja, the nation’s capital Territory; officer commanding (Homicide) at the State Criminal Investigating Department (SCID) in Uyo among many responsibilities within the police force.
CSP Okon, a graduate from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka according reports stole the show at the International scene when he led a contingent of police officers to the most challenging duty, the United Nations Multi-Dimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission (MINUSMA) in Mali when Mali was faced with one of the most severely political crises in Africa. This gallant officer of repute ensured that he restored peace and tranquility within his jurisdiction; because of his outstanding performances beyond the expectation of the MINUSMA Commissioner of Police and the UN Envoy in Mali, CSP Akpan Okon was conferred with two United Nations special Awards consecutively in 2017.
It is a noticeable fact that wherever CSP Akpan Okon serves, his strides are glaring apparently, given his training at the Nigeria War College on the protection of civilian. This is evident in his current post of responsibility (cpr) as the Divisional Police Officer in charge of ‘B’ Division in Ewet Housing Estate in Uyo, the Akwa Ibom State capital. Ewet Housing Estate houses top bourgeoisie and political top notch in the state. The division itself spans through the permanent site of the University of Uyo main campus to part of Uruan. It is on record that CSP Akpan Okon personally leads his men and officers on surveillance to ensure that there is no breach of peace, these efforts have attracted series of commendations by this group of people as they variously describe CSP Akpan Okon as a round peg in a round hole as well as a man of unparalleled action, “CSP Okon is one of the best hands Nigeria Police has produced in recent times. If I was to have my way, I could have recommended him for a much better and higher responsibility because of his performance in this Estate. Since his assumption of duty here, we have relative peace in this vicinity. I have lived in this estate for more than 30 years now; his tactical approach, dexterity and professionalism stand him out. Normally, I don’t like commenting on issues of this nature but I am compelled by nature to speak out of this man’s live and work”.
Some of the officers who spoke to newsmen under the condition of anonymity described CSP Okon as a selfless officer who risk his all for the maintenance of peace, “since I join this work, I have never seen a leader that motivate us to work the way our Oga is doing. Mostly when we are on night patrol, he is the one who will lead the patrol every night even to the most dangerous places. That is why this Housing Estate and even Uniuyo, we don’t have too much wahala here”.
This outstanding attribute of CSP Okon led to a peace award on him by Institute of Peace Leadership in association with NISSI Foundation for Skills Acquisition and Reorientation, Lagos during the organisation’s 2020 National Peace Leadership Conference held in Uyo recently. While attempting to buttress and justify the award on CSP Okon, the group noted that the award was based on his contribution towards the maintenance of peace and security before, during and after the ENDSARS protests within his jurisdiction in particular and Akwa Ibom State in general. They further explained that it was a way of encouraging him in his efforts towards achieving peace and security as a conditio sine qua non for sustainable development in line with the United Nations guidelines on Millennium Development Goals.
A cursory look at the enlisting year of CSP Akpan Okon and his present rank, it could be said that some of his course mates are of the ranks of Deputy Commissioners of Police (DCsP); Assistant Commissioners of Police (ACsP) despite the seeming imbalances, he employs all his abilities to ensure his best is exuded for the benefit of humanity maybe because of his natural attributes hence, equity, justice and fair play be put to action as a popular adage says that ‘reward for labour is more work to do’ so that “the labour of our heroes past shall never be in vain”.