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Federal appointment of AKS Indigenes: Matters Arising, By Joe Iniodu

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Umana Okon Umana discussing with Nsima Ekere

 It is part of Christian value for faithful not to nurse bitterness or put simply harbour jealousy for the fortunate circumstance of the brother when it arises. Conversely, he is also expected to share in the grief of his brother in the event of any mishap. But in politics, grief arising from political failure is never shared with people of opposing political folds as one’s failure is another’s gain.

But matters of appointments and even ascensions into offices post elections are expected to attract the solidarity and support of good Christians and civilized people. Even in the face of winners take all model that is operable in the polity, civilized and decent people still worm themselves back to their opponents not so much for what they can get from them (their opponents) but to celebrate God’s favour upon their lives. Afterall, as Christians, we posit lavishly that only God makes kings. Also, it is a tacit conviction in our belief system that unless a man genuinely appreciates another man’s success, his life may not record tales of successes. This belief often persuades humans to celebrate the achievements of others with the deeper reflection that such is the roadmap to individual successes.

But in politics, many factors come into the inter-play. We have the man who has achieved the success on one hand, the hangers-on on the other hand and his approach or reasoning vis-à-vis his opponents or enemies serving as the third leg. The most complex in this amalgam is the hangers-on. They constitute themselves into advisers and direct the affairs of the new political helmsman. They identify the enemies or opponents as the case may be and poison the mind of the principal against them. They buffet the helmsman with falsehood against those they label as persona-non-grata and ensure that access by such persons to the principal even for the exchange of pleasantries or sharing of thoughts are encumbered.

The Principal on the other hand is also a determinant on what would play out while he is office. What would play out starts from when the said appointment is announced. If he allows himself to be held captive by the idle mercenaries, then he can be sure he would suffer grave distractions that would detract his output. But if he is well liberated, liberal and humble enough to know that appointments come from God even though through men and that he must act and operate in a manner that would give glory to God, then inclusiveness that is bereft of pettiness would be his watchword.

Sadly in our clime, appointments are seen to belong to political parties or groups to the total exclusion of others on the other side of the divide. Even the celebrations of appointments are done in a malicious manner with the intent to spite and humiliate those that are perceived not to be part of the victory. And so rather than see the appointments of Akwa Ibom sons as value added, the supporters have made such appointments look like theirs to the exclusion of all others. Even when they take to the social media or even newspaper publications to announce and celebrate such appointments, they make their actions drip with malice and bad blood.

The recent appointments of His Excellency, Obong Nsima Ekere former deputy governor of Akwa Ibom State and former Secretary to the Government of Akwa Ibom State, Obong Umana Okon Umana have drawn such warped entitlements from people who claim to be their supporters. Sadly, these are people who do not want these personages to be leaders of broader hue. They prefer to pidgeon-hole them within certain confines for their narrow benefits. But suffice it to say that their actions are supported by their principals which is why the tribe of these desperados have continued to thrive even to the detriment of the public image of Ekere and Umana who have been localized by the antics of their so called supporters. Let both of them know that the elections of 2015 had come and gone and that as Akwa Ibom leaders who have had the privilege of holding important offices, they must expand their frontiers and that way enhance their vision for Akwa Ibom State.

The charlatans who claim to be their supporters are buffeting the political space with the strange narrative that the appointments are strategic with the intent to empower the duo for 2019 election. Of course they are already caught in the web of the illusion that from 2019, APC will hold sway in the State. But their untenable projection is not an issue of consequence. What is of concern is the myopic thinking that the appointments are part of the election winning strategy thereby insinuating intent to perpetuate corruption in the various offices. These insinuations by these idle charlatans would subject these offices to vigilant public scrutiny that may not even allow their principals the latitude to put the much touted lucrative offices to use in ways that would benefit them.

Let me further dispel some of the erroneous deductions the so called supporters are inconscient of especially as it pertains to Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC). The Commission oversees the affairs of about nine States that are of oil bearing classification. Those who see Obong Nsima Ekere as their entitlement tend to believe that the entire budget of NDDC would be spent in Akwa Ibom State only. They are therefore strutting the space and suffusing it with bad faith to circumscribe other Akwa Ibom sons or daughters from accessing the much vaunted honey comb. But they forget that NNDC has a board and that other States also are stakeholders in the Commission. They also forget that if a project of NDDC comes to Akwa Ibom State, it would be for all its sons and daughters and not only to a group of warped people who claim to own Obong Nsima Ekere. And so no matter the fever of their parochial celebration, the appointment stands to benefit Akwa Ibom people and not a warped few.

It is the conviction of all well meaning Akwa Ibom people that every appointment from the Federal Government to the State is an added value. Senator Godswill Akpabio in an interview with Milestones Magazine before the appointment of the Managing Director of NDDC was announced had expressed joy that it was coming to an Akwa Ibom son noting that political party was immaterial. That is the way Akwa Ibom people should look at appointments and celebrate them within the context that if it does not benefit one directly, it will indirectly. Those that are beneficiaries of the appointments must make conscious efforts of ensuring that the Federal Government’s gesture to the State through them are not trivialized and made to look like cheap compensations. Those that God has graciously taken to heights should free themselves of the baggage of pettiness to allow their ascension to even higher heights to be lighter and easier. They must ignore those who wish to build a hedge of hate and pettiness around them for they do not sincerely wish them well. Their only interest is to line their pockets at the expense of the enduring interest of their principals. And so, Federal appointees from the State, shine your eye.

* Joe Iniodu is a public affairs analyst  

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