Early 2015 when my Governor mounted the saddle of leadership, he exhibited a modest life uncommon to people of his class. He was always within the state, attending to state matters. Even when he attended events around the state, he was seen in a convoy of not more than seven vehicles, a scenario that usually attracted admiration from onlookers. Today, my Governor doesn’t only go with a long convoy of busy body-loyalists but flying out and into the state almost on daily basis. Like a visitor, he comes into the state when his attention is needed, perhaps, when allocation is paid into the state coffers or there is need to attend State Executive Council Meeting and also attend important events like burials of top politicians, weddings of his select aides. At what point did Governor Udom Emmanuel become a visiting Governor to the very people who elected him to superintend over the state?
“We witness almost on daily basis a long convoy of Hilux and black Jeep passing through four lanes, either to bring back our Governor or drop him at the airport.
“Sometimes you would see him brought in from the airport in the morning and in the evening the same Governor is escorted to the airport”, Inima, resident of four lanes had this to say. This is a true story of my Governor.
Governor Emmanuel’s recent style of governance is casting a harsh shadow on the state. Sadly, while our Governor keeps flying, our dear peaceful state is being invaded daily by hoodlums from other states, who now have a field day, killing Police officers and burning stations . Criminality in the state has crossed the red line and cult clashes taking centre stage, while our Governor cruises on with his Gulfstream jet. He comes to Uyo to eat his breakfast but takes his dinner in Lagos. He leaves the very people he swore to protect to groan in painful night of insecurity.
I can share in the pain of other Akwa Ibomites who live in the hinterlands without their local government chairmen living with them. I can imagine how they would call their chairmen at night yet he’s far apart them.
It’s now I understand why my Governor insisted in building Akwa Ibom State Lodge in Lagos. While other kicked against such creation, many of us supported the idea, little did we know that Akwa Ibom State administrative headquarters will be relocated to Lagos where my Governor will adjudicate over state matters.
Governor Emmanuel’s travelling habit reminds me of the 39th President of the United States of America, Jimmy Carter who usually travel out of states with a small bag held only by him. One day, some journalists asked why he always travel around with a small bag in his hands and he retorted; “ When I travel I travel with White House”. Unlike Jimmy Carter that only travelled with White House and returned with it anytime, my Governor has relocated the Hilltop Mansion to Lagos, leaving us in dark.
Let us believe that the negative prediction or prophecy of an English Catholic historian, politician, and writer, John Emerich Edward Dalberg-Acton, who said “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men…”,has not fulfilled in the life of our Governor.
Tell me the Governor is running an e-governance system and I will reply that Mr. Emmanuel was elected manually by the people. Akwa Ibom State doesn’t need a Governor who stays aloof to remote-control the state. We need a Governor with manual presence not electronic presence.
While we pray Governor Emmanuel remains safe in the air, Akwa Ibom state would expect his presence coupled with action to stem the tide of insecurity in the state.