Akwa Ibom people are one of the greatest people the world over. They are brilliant, intelligent, honest, godly and respectful. But there are other attitudes and habits that are increasingly becoming genetically Akwa Ibom. That is why I had, on the run up to my marriage, decided that I was not going to marry an Akwa Ibom woman. I will only marry one with great exposure to the other cultures. I had lived amongst the Yoruba and had craved being their in-law. It wouldn’t work out but I ended up with a Yakurr (Ugep) woman who I have no regrets about marrying. Why did I do that? I had consciously worked towards making sure my children will not grow up with some of the genetics that is inborn in us. I wanted them to have chance of keeping only the positives in our loins.

The Akwa Ibom person is simple and humble, great qualities but most times dented with a heavy dose of timidity and complex. The Akwa Ibom person loves strangers more than his brethren. Infact, he wishes he is better than his brother in all areas of life. The Akwa Ibom person fights his brother for all pieces- pieces of land; pieces of bread; and pieces of action, be it political or otherwise. The Akwa Ibom person genetically portrays the picture of a no-nonsense disciplinarian but lacks the discipline he professes in public. The Akwa Ibom person is a pious religious who does everything the church says he should not do-hypocrisy is his second name. The Akwa Ibom person prefers his brother to suffer because he feels he never worked hard enough to make money as he does despite the complexities of individual grace, favour and other factors beyond us. The ones in government behave as if all the cars, houses, girlfriends’ cars, houses etc they acquired through an obvious not-so transparent dealing with the people’s commonwealth, were got from the proceeds of the crayfish they sold at Urua Akpan Andem. So, they see no reason why you should disturb them for crumbs from their tables instead of going to start your own crayfish shop.

The Akwa Ibom person is one who goes abroad the first time in his 30s or 40s as a government official and post several pictures on the interact announcing what is a normal practice for secondary and university students in Yoruba land. I schooled at Ibadan and I know that if there was any one-week holiday, a lot of student went to either Jand (UK) or Yankey (USA) and got back with enough gists for campus papers. It is in the character of the Akwa Ibom person to show off vanity, the vanities of the inferiority complex inherent in our genetics.

It is the Akwa Ibom person who announces his arrival by nott eating normally again. To buy corns from the roadside seller becomes criminal and downgrading. But, I once went to interview Senator Tokunbo Afikuyomi and met him with Funmi Iyanda and guess what? They were buying agoin beans from the hawkers. They ate in my presence. They are both celebrities. I can go on and on.

Of all these attitudes, habits and attributes, the one that is becoming a drag to our progress is that of never wishing our brother well.

Nsima Ekere, debonair, soft speaking, metropolitan, smart and exposed, the most recent contribution from the state to the national purse recently got appointed Manager Director of the Niger Delta Development Commissioner, NDDC, after months of speculation on who would take the position. As usual, he is being opposed by his people because of the genetic content of their attitudes. The Akwa Ibom people wish the woman from Rivers there should be allowed to stay on. And the opposition is not just about Ekere as a person. It could have been anyone else from the state, after all there were petitions against Barrister Bassey Dan Abia till the day he got into office.

The question we should ask ourselves is: is Ekere not fit for the job? Several of these opposed to his appointment believe he is. So, why oppose it? Politics! Bad belle! Fear!-all emanating from the genetics of our being. Thank God President Muhammadu Buhari believes in appointing competent persons to position. Keep politics aside; keep party affiliation aside; keep where someone comes from aside; keep how tall or short a person is aside; keep how connected or close a person is to  Rotimi Amaechi or Nyesom Wike aside; is Nsima Ekere not competent for the job, I ask again?

What competencies does someone need to do the NDDC job? Sound educational background is one. Does Ekere not have one? Particularly, the NDDC job is a development interventionist agency like the World Bank. Only professionals involved in development economics are good for such jobs. Amongst professions with this connection are Architecture, Engineering, Estate Management, Quantity Survey, Land Survey, Economics, Medicine, Law and not the least, Journalism. Is Ekere not a proven estate surveyor with years of experience in housing development, one of the core areas the commission is intervening in the region. As an estate surveyor, has he not worked with other professionals in the development process? Yes, he has worked with engineers, architects, quantity and land surveyors, doctors, journalists, lawyers; and duely understands their language.

Another quality someone for the position needs is expertise in reconciliation and mediation. As a former Deputy Governor, Ekere acquired an on-the job expertise in matters of conciliation and mediation, community conflict resolution and management, having been the chairman of the state boundary committee.

The NDDC also does not require a professional politician. Ekere is not one. That is why his firm, Ekere and Associate, was never shut down when Ekere was in office as a public servant. I am also told he has interest in other professional calling other than politics and will make some professional inputs into the making of the place when he eventually gets into office.

For Akwa Ibom people, Ekere has some sound attributes that are not genetically ours and very well needed at the NDDC. Other Niger Deltans, especially the Ijaws tend to feel that other Niger Deltans are not originally Niger Deltan. So, they try to intimidate, harass and bend them to toe their lines in any union connected to the region therewith. They only intimidate the unexposed timid amongst us. Not people with a high intelligent quotient who will surely command their respect. With Ekere who has lived amongst them for years, there is no fear of getting intimidated. As an intelligent person, he will be able to intelligently deal with their aggressive suasion. For someone who is married to a Niger Deltan who is not from Akwa Ibom, the cooperation he will need to succeed is already at home.

For those who think Oron nation should have produced the NDDC MD, they should have brought the argument when Senator Udo Udoma was nominated as Minister or fought to produce the speaker of the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly. After all, the Governor is Ibibio; the Deputy is Annang and the crux of their argument for a tripod sharing formula should have made them succeed.

 It is not time for politics yet but if Oron people could give overwhelming votes to an Onna (Ibibio) man to become Governor in their stead, it is wrong for them to try to fight for a position that has no bearing on the politics of the state where it is zoned to.

Well, there are great Oron people who would be good for appointments which are several in the basket of the President.

The choice of Ekere is beyond the choice of where. It is about the choice of who. Most Oron people do not have problems with Ekere. Most of them have not complained that Ekere will not serve their interest the way they would have served themselves.

Ekere is an easy going person who will take the interest of the state to heart. For someone who had once applied to lead the state, the appointment will serve as a platform to help actualize some of his vision for the development of the state. So, he is going to be a complement to the government of Mr. Udom Emmanuel. The Governor is yet to touch roads in Ikot Abasi. If Ekere uses the NDDC platform to so do, that will complement the Governor’s wish that all parts of Akwa Ibom State is developed. It is not only Ikot Abasi that the NDDC will touch. Other parts of the state will be, too and it will be to the glory of the government at the centre and in Uyo.

We must try to bend back and accommodate our selves. Let us leave politics aside. I always draw inspiration from the bond of brotherhood in Yoruba land. In Yoruba land, brotherhood is stronger than affiliations. All Yoruba see themselves first of all as Yoruba’s before seeing themselves as Muslim, Christians, PDP or APC. That is why they attend thanksgiving service, dedications, burials, birthdays, marriages and other functions together. In Akwa Ibom, only PDP people attend functions of PDP members, no matter their family relationship.

Find the trouble of a Yoruba “agege bread” seller and you will soon find out that her “Uncle Jide” is a Major General in the Nigerian Army when soldiers, upon her call to uncle Jide for intervention, will come to her aid. In Akwa Ibom, high look family members look down on others.

So much for companion. I know we also have some great qualities they can learn from- for instance, neatness, integrity, intelligence. We should try and kill the negatives in our genetics and let it blend well for our good and we will get well respected the world over. Development and progress which we crave for will follow suit.

Ekere’s appointment will gender this development and progress. It is his turn today. It will be another person’s turn tomorrow. Let us support him. It is in the interest of the state to so do.


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