What does Gov. Udom Emmanuel want?
By Ernest Idiong Esq
A rabble rouser’s view of A’Ibom governorship succession. In Akwa Ibom State every politically exposed person is an expert when it comes to choosing a befitting successor for the governor. He or she could go to great length to explain why this and that should happen, using every rhetoric at his or her disposal to drive home a point. Some who can’t openly state their opinion pay rabble-rousers to do this task. One such hatchet job is an article I read recently on an online national daily titled ‘What does Gov. Udom Emmanuel want?’, written by a fledgeling reporter in the state. The beautifully crafted piece went on and on about succession citing few examples and hastily generalizing these as universal templates. He failed however to concede that succession is not rigidly confined to certain principles but subject to the whims of the leader. In Akwa Ibom state, for instance, we have seen that leadership is a function of style, not dogma. Each leader determines what his priorities are.
I was particularly amused by the argument that Obong Attah failed to produce a successor, but his succession plan embedded in his cabinet threw up Barrister Godswill Akpabio. The writer went on to suggest that Udom has not groomed a successor from his own cabinet. This is simply preposterous and an amateurish attempt to goad the governor into divulging his mind. It would be implausible that after working with the same team for six years, a leader of Udom’s stature could be scratching his head to identify who his likely successor will be. He has his style of leadership and has made it succinctly clear that he will not impose any successor on Akwa Ibom people rather he will allow God to reveal this person to the people as well as himself. Governor Emmanuel has not left his succession plan to chance as suggested by the write-up, On the contrary, he has at several fora acknowledged the importance of finding the right successor, and repeatedly expresses his faith that God Almighty who rules in the affairs of men will take the lead in this matter. This is simple enough to understand and renders unnecessary the misconception that the incumbent is not doing enough in that direction. The claim that Obong Attah failed to install a successor because his son-in-law, Dr Udoma Bob Ekarika was no match for Godswill Akpabio’s “enormous political assets – appeal, charisma and goodwill” is at most laughable. There is no comparison between Attah who had less than two weeks to ‘install’ Ekarika as a successor before the 2007 Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governorship primary and Udom who has no post-governorship political ambition to distract him.