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2023: Deconstructing the Next Governor of Akwa Ibom State



By Michael Effiong

We are just five months into the year but the fever of the 2023 elections is already enveloping and gripping every part of our polity. There is no doubt that there are mixed feelings among our citizenry regarding the performance of our federal and state governments, one thing is sure, however, like spilt milk, it will be impossible to get our past back but we have the chance to determine the look, feel and shape of our future by our action or inaction in the next couple of months.

Just like in a few other states, 2023 will be a defining moment in Akwa Ibom State because once again, there will be a transfer of power after an 8-year reign of an incumbent. Expect drama, hire wire politicking and more.

As expected, a few gladiators have indicated interest in occupying the Hilltop Mansion but what exactly should Akwa Ibom people be looking for in the man who will occupy such a high office?.

Before I am crucified by gender activists, I have used the word “man” here because as at the time of writing this, no woman has thrown her hat into the ring.

Being one of Nigeria’s oil-rich states, Akwa Ibom State is well positioned for greatness, but a lot of creative thinking and sacrifice is required to take it from where it is presently to where it should be.

The present Udom Emmanuel government has laid a strong foundation in infrastructure and investments, some of which may take years to bear fruits that is reason the people need a steady hand to steer the ship at this time.

It is my considered opinion that the next governor of Akwa Ibom should not be a dyed-in-the-wool politician. The state should not be left in the hands of the ex-this, ex-that class, those whose only claim to fame is holding public office for donkey years with little or nothing to show for it.

This is not the time to compensate anyone, it is not time to think of men who only discuss today, but a time to choose a visionary leader, the kind of leader that loves his people and is passionate about their welfare.

It is time to get the kind of kind of leader that we can trace his trajectory, not one with questionable wealth who throws handouts left, right and centre or one who is just desperate for power just for the sake of bearing the toga “Governor”.

The next governor of the Land of Promise must act as a corporate titan/CEO, someone with the ability to manage men and resources.

He should be someone who has shown the capacity, character and competence to run a successful business. Someone who understands the dynamics of profit and loss, someone who has built an enterprise from zero to its zenith.

Someone with a track record of performance, like it is said, you cannot give what you don’t have or as they say on the streets “if e didn’t dey, e didn’t dey”.

Why is it necessary for the next Governor to be private-sector driven? Everyone knows that the greatest problem in the world today is paucity of funds available to nations and by extension states.

A state governor who only knows how to spend and does not know how to create wealth is not a good fit in today’s world that has been hit by recession.

Apart from funds, anyone who has run a business before, will know what it is to be innovative and would have developed the penchant for adapting to new realities.

Again, anyone who has ran a business will know the pains and needs of SMEs-who are the major drivers of any economy.

What the state needs is the kind of leader highlighted by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President & Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates, one who is able to crystalize his vision, define its objectives, navigate its development and supervise its implementation.

He should have clearly defined ideas for agriculture, tourism and hospitality, rural development, health care and education. He should have a plan for the elderly and women.

The best man for the job should be one who envisions an Akwa Ibom beyond oil. He should be the man who has been outlining his ideas, and not the one who has been grandstanding on the soap box.

I am not a fan of abandoned projects. It is therefore good that there should be some form of continuity in vision. After all, it is a common saying that government is a continuum.

Nothing exemplifies the truism of continuity than the birth of Ibom Air. Governor Udom Emmanuel did not build the Victor Attah International Airport. What he did was to improve on it and then expand the use of the facility by creating an airline.

Each time I board the airline, I cannot help but commend governor Emmanuel and the team that dreamt and executed this project. Apart from its excellent corporate culture and efficiency, this is one government investment that is a job-creating machine.

The other day, I was having an argument with a friend who said the airline was a misadventure.

I knew immediately that this was sour grapes and I took time to highlight what such an enterprise means for the state.

Apart from creating easy access for investors and tourists, today, it flies to six destinations.

Now check this out. At all its destinations, it will have ticketing officers, people at the check-in counters, ground staff from cargo handlers, cleaners to engineers, it will have a full compliment of crew for shifts, it will serve refreshments which means that producers of bottled water, beverages and bites will have an outlet for their products. Imagine this kind of multiplier effect from just one business. That certainly is no misplaced priority?

Another area that Mr. Emmanuel should receive kudos is his decision to have a data base for all farmers. I am told that at the touch of a button, you can find out specific details and number of maize, poultry, cassava farmers e.t.c in the state.

That is not all, he midwifed the Akwa Ibom Geographical Information System (AkwaGIS), which will enable the state manage her land in an organized and digitalized manner.

We all know that data is king, without the right data, proper planning becomes like groping in the dark. In deed, these two projects show the forward-thinking nature of the present governor and it is therefore necessary for someone who shares this kind of vision to continue in 2023.

Furthermore, His Eminence, Dr. Sunday Mbang, an Akwa Ibom indigene, had once said that the next governor of Akwa Ibom should not be a cultist or someone who is associated with violence, I totally agree with him. He must be a man of proven integrity with impeccable character. Not one who has an EFCC case hanging over his neck or one who has been running in and out of court rooms over past misdeeds.

In addition, the next governor must dare to thread where others dread. He should be the kind of man who is not afraid to have his hands dirty.

He should be dogged, tenacious, courageous and resilient yet humble and amiable. He should be open-minded and be able to to bring the best and the brightest stars together for the common good of the state. I therefore, call on the people of Akwa Ibom to take this points to heart as they head to the primaries and eventually to the polls to choose their next Chief Executive.

Effiong, a journalist writes from Lagos


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Labour Party Denounces Suspension of National Chairman Abure




The leadership of the Labour Party on Friday denounced the purported suspension of its National Chairman, Julius Abure, by the executive members of his ward in Edo State.

In a statement signed by the National Secretary of the party, Mallam Farouk Umar, the LP said the purported suspension is illegal and of no consequence.

According to the party’s constitution, Umar said it is only the National Convention that can suspend the national chairman and this must be through a convention called for the purpose of the suspension.

“Again, our Party Constitution is clear on who can suspend and who cannot suspend the National Chairman. They should go and read the party constitution. Only the National Convention can suspend the National Chairman of the Labour Party. It also must be through such a convention called for the purpose of the suspension of the National Chairman,” the statement read.

“We think that the sudden suspension was an afterthought of some opposition parties purely to distract the leadership of the Labour Party at this time. There is no reasonable party member now who will be thinking of such a thing when we are pursuing our presidential mandate in the court and all other mandates including the governorship, Senate and House of Representatives that were brazenly stolen.

“Who will be contemplating the suspension of any national party official now? It is on record that for the first time in the party’s history, the Abure-led leadership has succeeded in changing the country’s political narratives.

“A party from the blues competing with the top two political parties and in the process, winning eight Senate and 34 House of Representatives as well as numerous House of Assembly seats. We also won a governorship seat while we are in court to retrieve other mandates including the presidency.”

Channels TV

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Datti-Ahmed: NBC Slams N5m Fine on Channels TV




In a March 27 letter addressed to Channels Chief Executive Officer and obtained on Friday in Abuja, the NBC said the television station violated broadcasting code.

Titled “Broadcast of an Inciting Interview, A Sanction”, the letter was signed by Balarabe Ilelah, the commission’s Director-General.

It read in part: “The NBC monitored the broadcast of a live interview of the running mate of the Labour Party Vice presidential candidate, Dr Datti Baba-Ahmed, by the anchor of Politics Today, Seun Okibaloye, on Wednesday, March 22.

“Dr Baba-Ahmed said it will be unconstitutional to swear in an elected president on May 29, 2023, because of election irregularities,” Mr Ilelah said in the letter.

He noted that the broadcast was volatile and capable of inciting public disorder and therefore violated some sections of the broadcasting code.

This, according to him, includes the section that said no broadcast shall encourage, or incite, be repugnant to public feelings or contain offensive reference to any person or organisation, alive or dead or generally be disrespectful to human dignity.

Mr Ilelah added that according to the broadcasting code, broadcasters shall ensure that no programme contained anything which amounted to subversion of constituted authority.

He recalled that the NBC had engaged Channels Television severally to consider public interest before any programme is broadcast.

This, he said, was to ensure that the country was not plunged into anarchy.

“Consequently, on the following infractions, Channels Television is hereby sanctioned and shall pay a penalty of N5,000,000 (five million naira) only in the first instance,” he said.

He added that any further infraction by the television station would attract higher sanctions.

“You are advised to pay within two weeks from the day of receipt of this letter or the penalty will be graduated,” the NBC Director-General said.


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Olowu Spare Parts Fire: 19 Shops, Goods Worth Nmillions Destroyed




No fewer than 19 shops were burnt and goods worth millions of naira were destroyed on Thursday when fire engulfed the Olowu Spare Parts Market in the Ikeja area of Lagos State.

PUNCH Metro learnt that the fire started at midnight.

It was later put out through the joint efforts of emergency responders, including men of the Lagos State Fire and Rescue Services.

The spokesperson for the agency, Amodu Shakiri, said a call was made to the Ikeja Fire Station at about 3.19am.

He said, “We got there in three minutes of the call time. Unfortunately, we lost 19 shops. The owners of the shops along the street all trade in combustible materials. Most of them are condensers for refrigerators, air conditioners and the like.

“All these are volatile combustibles. It aided the widespread of the fire but we were able to curtail it in time so that we did not record further losses.

“We also asked Alausa Station to join us. Despite the combustibles that were involved, there was no injury because the traders were not around.”

It was further gathered that some of the traders rushed to the scene of the fire early in the morning to salvage remnants of their goods.

Shakiri, however, attributed the fire to power disruption.

He said, “The cause is basically negligence because some people probably left their electronics on before they left the shop or maybe as a result of power disruption.

“People are advised to always switch off their electronic devices and installations. It should also be unplugged from the wall socket when closing for the day.”

The Coordinator of the Lagos Territorial Office of National Emergency Management Agency, Ibrahim Farinloye, on his part, said the fire affected 13 shops, four warehouses and one restaurant.

He, however, said no injury or death was recorded in the fire.

Farinloye said, “A fire outbreak at Olowu Automobile Spare Parts Market was recorded early this (Thursday) morning.

“The fire disaster which was reported to have started at about 2.30am affected 13 shops, four warehouses and one restaurant.

“The Commandant 9th Brigade, Ikeja met the NEMA team while he was on an assessment visit to the scene. The cause of the fire cannot be determined as of now.

“But the Chairman of the trader association, Bassey Ikpendu while narrating the situation applauded the efforts of the State Fire Service that prevented the escalation of the incident due to the combustible materials that were involved.

“The chairman narrated that one of their apprentices slept in the building and noticed the fire but by the time he got out, the chairman said, the fire had engulfed the building and immediately fire service was contacted which responded promptly.

“No injury or death was recorded.”

The Punch

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