ACT 1 SCENE 1

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Police Ofiicer: shut up you
DM: (lying helplessly on the ground, with only his head lifting up) But wetin i do na? I am a honorable man of the hallowed chamber…
Police Officer: and so what, you are a bloody animal (lift his head as if praying to heaven) God bless Aisha for the word.
DM; but what have i done na, you know i am not well, i have severe cough?
Police Officer: And so what? are you the first? Even, Jubril…
Constable: cutting in (expressing shock) oga, shhhh! you know that’s a sacred name we were warned never to say it in the public…
Police Officer: Shut up, you lazy officer, common Boko Haram, rag tag soldiers you couldn’t stand, you ran away…
Constable: sorry sir, all correct sir!
DM: Can i go home?
Police Officer: shut up! Go home to where? The power at the top should be respected.
DM: Who is the power at the top
Police Officer: You see, I said it. You do not recognize our president…
DM: Oh, is he the one you refereed to Jubil, is that his name now?
Police Officer: Constable, arrest this man. So you are the inventor of the name jubril? Now that is the case against you.
DM: but you are the one that mentioned the name na
Police Officer: Offense two, trying to frame an officer of the law of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
DM: (coughing harder now), I am tired here o! So you people didn’t have any case against me before…
Police Officer..we had! Why did you look at the president with a corner eye like that when he was talking at the chamber about how much he is going to spend again? Don’t you know he is the president of the Federal Republic?
DM: But i was not in the chamber that day
Police Officer: I don’t care! Are you not DM? the trouble maker, who can’t keep his mouth shut?
DM: Don’t I have any right any more?
Police Officer: Your rights were lost since 2014! Constable Transition, I mean, transmit, Sorry transmission! Oh God! I have stopped this Tramadol na. Constable, transport this man to the dungeon now.
Constable drags DM away, while DM shouts eje kun nje!

 

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Okorocha: the Bringer of Shame

Something tells me that there’s something sinister about the visit of Zuma and all the accolade he received during his 2 days visit to Owerri. I wonder why a man who is superintending the killing of Nigerians, especially the Igbo, in his home land, yet a leader of the Igbo people invited him for honor.
My question is, what has been one single contribution of Zuma to the development of the Black South African people, let alone the other Africa people, other than xenophobia? Zuma, a man who has been in and out of the hook of corruption charges in South Africa every now and then, a man whose people are threatening vote of no confidence almost on a weekly basis? That’s the man Owele of Owerri has deemed fit to name a major road after, a huge statue erected in his name, and chieftain award given. Please can one ask the Owele the place of Nnamdi Azikiwe in the history of the great Igbo people, let him tell us his efforts at immortalising Philip Emeagwali, Chinua Achebe, Michael Okpara, Alex Ekweme, Professor Chike Obi, and the many other great Igbo.
Instead Rochas decided to honor a murderer who doesn’t see anything wrong in the killing of fellow Africans in his country. A bloody illiterate whose only qualification is being an ANC party thug.
Rochas Okorocha owes Nigerian and the Igbo in particular an apology for inviting and making nonsense of us all by celebrating a man who did everything possible to make sure that South Africa never gave us any support during the hard and trying days of Boko Haram in Nigeria.
Once again shame on you Okorocha.

​AKWA IBOM STATE @30: the Orange and the Burden of Brand Identity

Brand building is a process. It is a deliberate strategic planning and implementation work plan that is intended to evoke a certain pre-empted feeling  from the target audience.
Brand in itself is like a soul, the  very intangible dynamics that propels  products, services, places, and or persons to attract attention and call for action from the targets. It is the attribute that generates the energy or force expected at the end of the day to drive shelf off take. Whatever perception you want the target to have about the product is dependent on how the brand has been built, because brand image is the very factor that expresses the uniqueness of one brand over the other in the same generic grouping.

The process of building a brand has to take a lot of factors into consideration. You must have a historical understanding of the item to be branded. This implies that there should be a high level research into the product so as to have a clearer understanding of what prompted the product in the first place, how did it come to be, who thought about it, what were the issues that necessitated the need for the product anyway.

When the answers have been provided, it then becomes needful to understand the essence of the product. The questions to be asked here include, why is the product? Is there a vacuum? What value is the product bringing in? This aspect of the brand building process is very important as it would lead to another very important question. The differentiator? What sets the product apart from others. Again what is the value of the product, what is the truth about this product. and finally what is the single minded preposition. By this it implies what is the single message you  want to be out there on the street and on the minds of the targets. Then the big idea gives you the creative platform for message formulations. 

Having gotten all these right, the wheel to convey the messages comes to play which in this case are the creative elements. Thus the brand icon,  sound, colour, smell, lines and shape, pictures, etc are basic in engaging the target audience. This is when you now create  the brand personality and evolve the tone of voice intended. 

All these are a glimpse at building a brand, which applies to all types of ideas that need to be branded, including a state/ national branding process.

Of recent, the colour orange has become the dominant colour  in Akwa Ibom State, especially on the social media. The reason is to build up to the 30th anniversary of the creation of the State.  It is an aspect of  brand building process as stated above.  But in this case using colour without explaining it raises a lot of questions and causes confusion in the minds of the intended target audience.  

Using colour as a campaign teaser is good, but would have been more effective if the  identity of the sponsors were hidden and let be mysterious at first and just create conversation around the colour; asking people to state what orange colour means to them; drive it on both social and the mainstream media.  By the time the sponsors are revealed, even the ardent critics now using it derogatorily would have painted themselves orange without knowing. This is a proactive measure to guide against the campaign being marred as it has already been battered by associating the campaign all sorts of negativity.

However, there could not have been a better time to  eke out the Akwa Ibom brand than now. A time when the state has attained the ripe age of 30. If it were human man, he would have been married with, at least two to three kids, and for a woman, would have began rounding off on child birth. So it means age 30 is a very ripe age. But can we say the state is reflective of the age? Well a question for another day. 

On the choice of  orange as the colour for the celebration of the anniversary  I think is very apt, because the colour is very gay and represents all the personality of the Akwa Ibom person. Orange colour  is associated with joy, sunshine, and the tropics. Orange represents enthusiasm, fascination, happiness, creativity, determination, attraction, success, encouragement, and stimulation. If you would agree with me, then these are all attributes of an Akwa Ibom person. If this is true, we can now appreciate the inclusion of the colour as Akwa Ibom national colour; the reason it is part of the official colours of the state. 

Orange is the joy of having a state that was long overdue. Orange is the sunshine that radiates life and brings forth goodness and the ever beauty of the state. Orange is the enthusiasm that continually urges us on, even in the face of hopelessness, we can strife on, believing that tomorrow will be a lot better. Orange is the fascination of a state that is so rich in all ramifications, both in natural and in human resources, no wonder bulk of the Nigeria wealth comes from here, with amazing soil that even on a stone, seeds germinate, a graceful landscape and topography.

Orange is happiness and creativity of the people who always find ways to eke out sublime even in the grotesque of material to make a living, no matter the circumstances. Orange is the determination to aspire for even greater heights in times of difficulties, no wonder our children are excelling everywhere around the world in their chosen fields. Orange is success. Orange is encouragement and the stimulant that are inherent in us.

Thus I am orange. And I am proud being orange. 

It bleeds my heart how some people are misinterpreting the efforts at evoking positivity in our people by using all manners of negativity to colour orange. There should be a time for everything. This is time to be happy and reflect on the success of our forefathers’ effort at making sure that we have a state of our own which we should be proud of.

Fine, government has not been favorable to all and has subjectively performed below expectations but hey, this is not about government, it is about our pride, who we are, our essence and the protection of our commonwealth and heritage.

Having said this, it would have been important for the originators of the orange concept to put in more efforts at making sure that the orange juice gets to every lips in order to elicit acceptance and a sense of belonging and ownership. Coming straight from the strategy session and dishing the raw meal would always be met with repulsiveness as the uncooked food was not chronologically processed and dished.

The government officials should learn to reflect the cultural heritage of the state as part of the brand building process; this includes sense of fashion and public presentation, etc.

After all said and done, my name is Uwem Owo, I am an Akwaibomite. I am Orange.
Uwemedimo Owo

Is a Brand Communications Strategist and a Social Analyst based in Abuja.

LEST OUR CHILDREN GO THE SAME WAY

I remember a few years ago, I wrote about the continuous search by African scholars for the place of Africa in history of world and the contribution of Black Africans to the development of modern world, especially in a world that is dominated by Western sentiments. I highlighted in that article then that the rise of the Negritude Movement and Protest scholarship would not lead us anyway, if we do not own up to the fact that the cradle of black civilization is Egypt, and that the first kings of Egypt were black people as we have them today, we would in vain continue to search for the wide unknown till Christ returns.

The Western world have long claimed Egyptian civilization as theirs, even when there are glaring evidences dotted everywhere that the black down south are the real people who created and developed the ancient civilization. The ancient world that was so sophisticated that the white are now beginning to tout a new story that the civilization was actually built by gods, or aliens from the outer space. Funny!

With evidences ranging from DNA, Art, Religion, Culture, Cosmology even disease common with black people, it is obvious that the people of West Africa, East and Southern Africa are all descendants of Nubian, Kemet, etc, who were the people that built the pyramid, Sphinx and the mysteries of Ancient Egypt which have become the ultimate heritage of the world civilization.

The event that took place in the 12th Dynasty under the Pharaoh Taharaqa who was a Nubian king changed everything. Taharaqa was defeated by the Assyrians, who were themselves predominantly black as well, there was a southward migration of Negriod Egyptians into Sudan (Nubia/Kush). It is from the Kush that most ancestors eventually migrated into their contemporary locations in West, Central and Southern Africa. It is worthy of note that all of the ancestors did not leave Egypt during the Assyrian invasion. The Wolof tribe of Senegal left during the Arab invasion in 639 AD.

West Africa was previously uninhabited because most of the region was swamp land till 2000 to 3000 BC. The first civilization in tropical West Africa sprang up during the late period of ancient Egypt Negriod elements lose prominence, an example is the ancient Nok civilization in Nigeria, and the production of iron was also a huge technological trait that characterized Nile Valley civilization (particularly the later Kush), and this migration from the Nile Valley around 500 BC is when iron smelting was first produced in West Africa..

The people that migrated to west Africa belong to the language group known as the Niger-Congo, It included West-Benue Congo who are basically in Nigeria as Yoruba, Igbo, Edo, Nope Gwari, etc., East Benue-Congo(Semi-Bantu) which includes Ibibio, Jukun, Kambari, etc. There are other groups and family.

Before I proceed, I want to point out categorically here that the white never gave us clothe. A civilization that built Egypt, the Bronze of Benin, Yorubaland, the calving in Ibibioland, the Nok culture, etc, couldn’t have had the technology to make fabric for proper clothing for themselves, even with the very fashioned ancient Egypt? . Arguing otherwise is only a pointer to how schiznophrasized some of us have become due to brainwashing of the European education and history of the African people which only began on the arrival of the imperialists. Pathetic!

The Ibibio people are of my particular interest in this write up. They may probably no doubt be the earliest settlers to have migrated to this present place, as it is assumed that they had been there according to archeological finding since 7000 BC. Talbot argues that the Ibibio language is probably the oldest of all the Bantus language family. The people first settled at a place call Usak Edet (Isangele ) which now forms a small tribe in Kumba Division of Cameroon and then moved to Ibom and subsequently spread to Abak, Ikot Ekpene, Uyo and to other part known as the Mainland. Two main divisions left Cameroon . It should clear also that the Annang were the priest and custodian of the Ibibio spirituality as responsibility and thus held it in trust for the common good of the commonwealth of the Ibibio Nation.

One group reached the present place in Nigeria by overland route and settled at Ibom, and the second group which comprises the Efik, Oron, Eket Ibeno and Andoni came through the river routes. There at Ibom, they erected the famous shrine, now known as the Long Juju of Arochuku- 300AD. The Ibibio left Ibom and Obong Okon Ita Kingdom between 1650 and 1700 when the cities were finally captured through a collaboration of various other Igbo groups and Ekoi. It should be noted that the Ekoi people are different from the Ibibio stock because they don’t belong to the same family but Bantoid beside Bantu. However, there was no war in the strict sense of the word, but a coupe from a failed peace treaty between the Ibibio and the Arochuku people. A story for another day!

According to G. I Jones and Darry Ford, the word Ibibio is both ethnic and a linguistic term. All the people of Ibibio understand and speak the Ibibio language. The dialectal difference among the various Ibibio people can be attributed largely to the long period of territorial isolation between the groups.

The split of the sub-group (now called Efik) from their kinfolk Uruan seems to have started about 16th century. The Efik people migrated to Calabar on either of these two premises: 1.On-coming of the Igbo. 2. Being expelled by their own kin Uruan. Greater part of them later moved to Mbiaobong, Adiaobong and others to where is now known as Creek Town. The final settlement of the Ibibio people took place in 1670.

All the Ibibio people share the same ontological , cultural and astrological practices that cut across all the groups.

On Efik dialect being used as the official language of the Ibibio, this was as a result of their first contact with the White merchants in the 16th century. In order to communicate with the locals, the white adopted the Efik language since they (White settled in Calabar and used the Efik as go-between) thus it was a default that the Efik dialect be used, since it was the first contact language with the white traders and later colonial masters. However, when the white got to the hinterland, or the Mainland, they discovered that the lot of the people reside here (The Hinterland).

Nsibidi, again is an Ibibio ancient writing system which came with them from Egypt; it should be noted quickly here that Hieroglyphics is called Metutu originally by the Kemet people of ancient Egypt.

The Ekoi learned the art of Nsibidi from Ibibio just as the Igbo in Arochuku. The Nsibidi was first found among the Ekoi by the white, but doesn’t mean that they originated it.

This write up is not in any way appealing to any group of people mentioned in the article to the truth of their origin, but just a pointer to the fact of the age long denial of facts that have hindered collective growth and development. In a time where strength is drawn from number, it is important to form alliance with kindred to be relevant. It is obvious that we are more of a people than most of the ethnic groups in Nigeria. Let not petty hatred and politics take the place of heritage and history.

Uwem Owo is a Social Analyst and a Communication Expert based in Abuja.

Akwa Ibom Renaissance

 a closer look at who the Akwa Ibom person is.
I write this article in response to the article that got the social media buzzing on the argument of Oron not being Ibibio. I would want us to read the article first as scholars.

In extension the article looks at all the ethnic groups that are in Akwa Ibom State.
‘In the wake of a new political dispensation, it becomes pertinent for a new thinking among the citizenry in order to rally round one another to foster development.
 In this piece, I take a closer look at the peoples that make up the present Akwa ibom state and highlights the fact that the peoples of the state share a lot  in common to be seen as peoples, rather the facts point that they are a people.’

We have amongst us here today in Akwa Ibom State, clergymen, businessmen, politicians, artistes, professionals in various fields, academics, students, civil servants, servicemen, etc. despite our different classes and status, we all live here under one umbrella, Akwa Ibom State. This umbrella means much more, I could see written on it ‘one people’ because there is a certain force that make us sit here together, and that force, to me, is called common interest. And that common interest is because we are from Akwa Ibom State. However I see Akwa Ibom State beyond matters of a mere geographically defined shape, rather I see it as a people bounded by the same ontological experience.

Today we shall time travel. We shall travel into the past; to find out who we are or who we were; also to the future, to understand our destination while we use today to reshape and redefine our common goals.

First, let us understand what the word renaissance means. Renaissance in general means rebirth, a term that was common in the 14th century for the revival of art; it is like the born again concept of the Christians, but unlike the Christian who needs total purgatory of the old self. The people of that period went back to the classical era of art to reshape their thinking which was distorted during the Dark Ages.

But the two side of the coin of renaissance shall be viewed in this context to assess if of a truth we need a rebirth. Renaissance as shall be used here stresses the need for total self-rediscovery.

Let us start our journey into the highways of time, and our vehicle shall be history, food, arts, fashion, rites, entertainment and philosophy. And we are going to be driving on the wheels of truth. So come go with me as we board to go on this journey, whose road has been clustered with vague philosophies.

One of the things that bother me whenever I think about our state is the level of development. And what comes after this thought, is a question on my mind; do we not deserve more than this? And I quickly answer ‘Yes!’Because looking at the annals of history we have always understood the importance of development, we have always craved for it. Another important question that comes to mind again is, what is my identity… that is who am I? Are we a race? The answers come again readily. ‘Yes’! I know who I am and I have a race, because I have a people I share the same language, cosmology, history, culture, rite, metaphysics, etc. with. And on reflection, I reasoned that if I have a race, what is my race called? On reflection again, I came to understand that a race is usually more often than not named after the language spoken by the people. Example; an Englishman speaks English Language, Latin, French, Dutch, Yoruba, Hausa, Igbo, etc. 

It is also important to note that there is a sharp difference between language and dialect.

According to Edward Spirin his book Language, Race and Culture, he argues that; ‘Language has a setting. The people that speak it belong to a race (or a number of races), that is, to a group which is set off by physical characteristic from other groups. Again language does not exist apart from culture, that is, from the socially inherited assemblage of practices and beliefs that determine the texture of life.’

Therefore it is suffice to state that language is a means of communication that constitutes verbal and nonverbal codes which are embedded in their metaphysics and history which are understood by a people with the same field of experience. And the variant in this language is known as dialect. If this is true, it is safe then to say that dialect is a subset of a language which is understood by all the different dialect speakers. 

If the above argument holds, then it would be degrading if I say I am an Akwa Ibom man, and then not identifying my stock, my race with pride; thus the question about the name of my race.

To answer this question, I realized in the book The Black African People that Ibibio is the major language and has Efik, Anang, Oro, etc as its dialect. To understand this gist, I discovered that as I thought about certain names for items in the dialects that make up the Ibibio Language, I realized they mean the same thing, in spite of the phonetic similarities.
 

If all these primary words could be so similar and means the same thing, except for some phonetic variation, we can confidently say that we are the same people. And if the Ibibio is the derivative and the largest group, it may not be out of place to say that Ibibio is a language, while the others are a dialect.

This therefore means that we are all Ibibio.

I remember again that in 1920, The Ibibio State Union was formed and the inauguration of the union was held in Ikot Ekpene.

The notice for the anniversary celebration of the Union read thus: ‘…take notice that the Native Authorities of the Districts of Abak, Eket, Ikot Ekpene, Uyo together with the leading officials of the Ibibio Union will arrive in this native Court Hall on … 1947.’

This is the union which people looked upon as leaders,  representing the masses of the Ibibio stock. It is worthy of note here quickly that the Ibibio were the first people under the aegis of the Union to send her children to study abroad. Out of this beneficiaries came Attah, Udo Udoma, Akpabio (not the immediate past governor), etc.; the first organized group to agitate for a federal system of government by requesting for state creation. All the members of the Ibibio State Union never saw themselves as any other group but as Ibibio. So historically, we are all Ibibio.

In his book Narrative of an Explorer by W. B. Baikai, it states that ‘the Egboshari (who was a king in calabar) is called Ibibio in Efik. Goldie states the same. In 1688, Jean Barbot, a description of the Coast of South Guinea, mentioned the various payments made at Calabar by the sailing ship Dragon, and he wrote Seventeen Copper bars to William, King Agbesherea. Ditto to Robin, king Agbesherea. This evidence destroys Mr. Afikpo’s remark on page p. 268 that ascribing the origin of the Efik to the Ibibio as dating only from 1858; it is clear that in 1688 Calabar was occupied by Agbesherea or Ibibio and they have been there ever since.’

This is among the many evidences of our oneness. If nothing could convince us, the sheer fact that we have the same ethos, marriage rites, rite of passage (Nkuho: fattening), justice system, belief in the same God ( Akwa Abasi Ibom), food , fashion, storytelling, names of days of the week, etc. Even our mythology is the same, also the agreement of the name of our dear state, Akwa Ibom State is by itself a proof of oneness.

I think however that the most sacred thing to man is his relationship with nature and how he could please it, this forms the course of religion and it is religion that forms socio-cultural order in society. This is handed down from generation to generation. What I am driving at is that, we all here have the belief of God, and our mode of approaching Him is the same culturally. Is this not evident enough of our oneness in the past?

A certain Colonial Administrator in the Annang area of Ibibio land never doubted the fact that the Annang are a sub-group of the Ibibio. Abak district officer S. E. Johnson wrote in 1932, ‘The Anang sub-tribe (of Ibibio) appears to have been  the last area in the Calabar Province to be opened up by the government….’

The above statement is one of the many that are everywhere to prove that all the tribes in Akwa Ibom State are one and the same people. Particularly, I want to bring this important quote from the book Who are the Ibibio by Dr. Edet A. Udoh, to drive home the point of our oneness. ‘It is worthy of note however here that some educated Annang believe that they are the same stock with the Ibibio. E.g. Dr. Reuben Kendrick Udo, who was a professor  in University of Ibadan in 1961 stated that ‘otoro is a dialect group of Ibibio’ and Dr. A. A. Udo of the Department of Sociology and Anthropology in the University of Calabar wrote: ‘it is generally believed that the entire group now forming the southeastern State belong to the Semi Bantu group.

The Anang have the same history of migration as the Efik Ibibio’ To infer thus, the above statement is logically implying that the Anang are Ibibio. Still in the colonial era, the British administrators referred to the Eket people as ‘very wild Ibibio.” Dr. Edet A. Udo, states in his famous book Who are the Ibibio, “that …the majority of Eket accept their Ibibio origin, while a few claim that they are not Ibibio, basing their argument only on the different between the Eket dialect and the language of Central Ibibio.”  Stressing the point, Dr. Edet A. Udo maintained that ‘I have also compared the Eket culture with that of the central Ibibio and its sub-group and found that it is the same throughout the groups’ the Oron on the other hand also argued that they are not Ibibio, hence attribute their ancestry to various place such as Palestine, because of names; to Igbo through the fable table work of Dr. E. N. Amaku, Benin linage due to wood carving. It should be noted here that the Oron claim of the lineage to the above mentioned groups are not based on any analytical document, but mere speculations. Using language, Dr. E. A. Udo concluded that ‘Oron dialect drops consonants found at the end of Ibibio names (see table 2)

 If all these facts hold, then what went wrong? What caused this schism among these great people? The answer again is not far fetched. It was the contact with the external forces that it all started. First was the Western European contact during the 1503 to 1842; the slave trade era 2, the spread of western education in 1846 to 1904. The contact with the West meant more wealth and knowledge of western politics and diplomacy, these mean pride and looking down upon other neighbours who did not have such advantages and opportunities. Thus were called uncivilized as western culture became what was referred to as civilized. This is common in almost every place that is open to other cultures settling among them, such places as Onisha Igbo which had their education since 1857 and the Owerri Igbo had after 1910. 3, With independence, the people who occupied the then Cross River State before 1987, found themselves as a minority group in an Igbo dominated eastern regional government of 1953 to 1967. The division among the Ibibio thus was again intensified in tumble for elections politics which was based on tribal sentiment. Western education acquired by Uruan, Efik, Oron Annang and Ibuno equipped them with knowledge of modern politics. They could gain more if they convinced the government that they were a distinct group from the Ibibio. The most conspicuous of these was the crisis in 1952/53 in Eastern House of Assembly. In the crisis Professor Eyo Ita who had been the Premier of the Eastern Region was replaced by Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe; this then caused a split in the government. And the result of the 1952/53 census which classified the Ibibio as Annang, Efik, Andoni, Oron and Ibibio as different people, while the Igbo was 4.94 million with twenty dialectical groups still as one but the Ibibio with just seven dialectical groups, was broken.

The debris of these acts has resulted in the stunted development of the totality of the people.

I did say from the beginning of this write up that we are going to time travel into two dimensions of time. We have been to the past, now let’s take a trip to the future.
  

In the future, I see Akwa Ibom State that will produce not only the secretary to the Federal Government, but a people that will produce the president of Nigeria. I see a people who will form a state that will have legacies of greatness for her children. A state that will become a force to be reckon with within the commity of states. I see a state that will take a slice from the past and realize that education is the panacea to any meaningful development. An Akwa Ibom State whose government will know that government means equitable redistribution of common wealth, but not a conduit pipe for irrational embezzlements. That the topography and fertile soil, untapped resources should be explored, well managed and used for the overall good of the people. Using it also to position the state to her rightful place. I see an Akwa Ibom child standing tall amongst pears anywhere in the world without fear of complex, but with a tall pride that his or her fatherland is solidly giving the necessary backings.

I see a state that will build enviable institutions that will stand a taste of time. A state whose education system will attract people the world over to come and learn the secrets of the success story. A state whose education standard will be rated among the best in the world; yes it is possible! I see a state that security will not work against, rather to protect the people

A state whose resources will not only be used for trade, but will revamp the overall economic, social and tourist essence of the state.

Brethren if all these are within our reach, and we all aspire for the true realization of this paradise, are we going to enjoy them as people without identity and living in disunity? Are these good things of life not worth fighting for? There is an adage that says a single broom stick can easily be broken, but not a bunch. We cannot continue in this baseless cultural schism and expect to get to that beautiful future. We will eschew you, because that future does not have any space for you. Therefore let us all burry what tribal politics started, and thus reconcile as a people we have always been. With this, couple with our spirit of hard work and intelligence, we can be royal again.

To this end, I conclude by saying; ndito ete, yak afit nyin ibono ke ima’.
Uwemedimo Essien Owo is a Social Commentator as a Media Consultant

​UDOM EMMANUEL: IMPRESSIONIST OR EXPRESSIONIST: THE DYNAMICS OF MODERN NIGERIAN POLITICS part 1

The world over, the art of governance is more often than not hinged on what people can see with their eyes rather than on what is actually important to them (the ruled). Thus embarking on colossus projects that caress the eyes become the rating standard for leadership.
One of the most tyrant and brutal rulers in the history of the known world was Emperor Nero of the great Roman Empire. He built some of the most magnificent edifices in Rome, yet he persecuted and killed more than any emperors in the Roman Empire.

The magnificent buildings, expensive sports and theatres are what attracted the visitors, thus seeing is believing, what so ever was going on beneath was no business of the people. Whether the people were hungry, killed in numbers secretly or not, was not the business of the visitors, the gullible and rule.  Same still happens in modern day politics. What the rulers care about is the continuous engagement of the eyes.

But is this what real governance about? Is it to tell lies to the people? Is it to deceive them and go ahead to daze them with vain projects, that can’t interpret to food, house rent, school fees, medical bills, transportation fare, etc?

No I don’t think so.

A lot of people would be surprised at the recent release of the Nigerian Bureau of Statistics as Akwa Ibom State emerged  the second largest investment destination in Nigeria after Lagos State, which we all understand why Lagos continues to dominate. 

I once had an argument with some of my colleagues when a sister company WE FM 106.3 Abuja conducted a survey last year for the best and performing governors in Nigeria, Governor Udom Emmanuel was not featured. I had a very strong disagreement with them. They thought I was just  being unnecessarily jingoistic, but I told them No! That as far as I was concerned, and following performances of governors in various states of the federation, that Udom Emmanuel is way ahead, but it was a hard sale, as I was the only voice defending.

Alas! When I saw the result from NBS yesterday, I was vindicated, as it proved beyond reasonable doubt that indeed Udom is working. Not only that, a national youth group, Concerned Nigerian Youth Development Organisation (CYNDO) has actually come  up to rate top 10 performing governors in the past two years and Udom Emmanuel has come top of the list. The organisation focuses on good governance assessment and rating, whose report is independently based on and used various parameters on programmes and projects implementation.

Yet it baffles me how some people would argue that Udom is not performing. I really want to understand the meaning of the word ‘performance’ whether it has assumed another meaning.

Now this takes us back to the first paragraph, unlike populist leadership, Udom is making sure that by the time he leaves office, Akwa Ibom State would have been self sufficient in some aspects of the economy, that the constant rural urban drift would have been checked because by then ‘wetin dey for Sokoto go dey for sokoto’.

He wants to create job opportunities, so that the state would not be based on mono-economic pattern as it is the case now. He wants to make sure that the state taps into its full potentials, by exploring both its human and natural resources.

Therefore, Udom is not an impressionist but an expressionist governor. He is not interested in what people see right now but in what people would live and feed on in the future. His is on a seed planting process which takes time to germinate, like pregnancy, it only become evidence as time roles by.

However, it is important for him to understand that politics is a game of number, the grassroots support is ever more important  than the elitists who would be out of the country during the elections, and subsequently not come in the sun to vote. It is the grassroots that would be in the rain and in the sun to cast their votes and make sure they protect it. Thus it is very important to carry this class of people along as well. they are hungry right now and vulnerable, whoever buys them ‘akara’ would eventually become their hero.
Uwem Owo is a Social Critic and Media Consultant