On Thursday, August 30, 2018, a former House of Representatives Member and Chairman of Cross River Basin Development Authority (CRBDA), Hon. Eseme Eyiboh, held a breakfast ‘meeting’ with members of the fourth estate of the realm at the Ala Carte Restaurant, Uyo, Akwa Ibom State
As a policy, I do not attend meeting of political party, no matter, the coloration. So, when I got invitation for this ‘meeting’, I had to call the sender to extract commitment from him, that it was a purely media parley, and nothing more. Before I could attend.
Eyiboh, used the parley to advise Akwa Ibom State Governor, Udom Emmanuel not to seek a re-election into the governor’s office in the forthcoming 2019 general election. Eyiboh is from the same Eket federal constituency with the Governor. While the Governor is from Onna, Eyiboh is from Esit Eket.
Eyiboh’s reasons are that Emmanuel’s administration has marginalised the people of Eket Federal Constituency, especially Eket, Esit Eket and Ibeno. The Federal Constituency is made up of Eket, Esit Eket Onna and Ibeno LGAs. But, according to Eyiboh, the Governor only concentrates his projects in Awa clan of Onna Local Government Area ( LGA). He promised to start up market place campaign against the Governor’s second term bid in Eket. This is interesting!
As a journalist, I have fought so many battles with my pen and the ink in my pen has never gone dry. I elected to be a journalist with the intention to use my pen to fight the ills of the society; give a voice to the voiceless and speak for the oppressed in the society, like the people of Eket, Esit Eket, Ibeno and a section of Onna that are being marginalised by the Emmanuel’s government, going by Eseme Eyiboh’s assertion at the media parley. I did not become a journalist to be a sycophant to anybody, institution or government. I came to the media profession with my integrity intact, and I will leave with my integrity intact. I am like a lion, I choose my fight wisely and I do not run away from any battle I elect to fight. Henceforth, I have become an ally to the marginalised people of Eket Federal Constituency until the government remembers them!
Unfortunately, in Akwa Ibom state today, the media industry has been polarised with pettiness and unnecessary sentiments. Any journalist that criticises government, government agency or her official(s) is tagged as opposition journalist or accused of being sponsored by the opposition elements in the state. What a world? And my question has always been; ‘between the government and opposition political parties, who is disposed to enormous financial resources to either buy the media or sponsor same to attack(s) each other?’ I do not belong to the school of thought that the media can be bought either for or against the government. Sorry to disappoint my readers in this argument. But this is my thought, though!
Was it not the same media that fought the military regime to a standstill and secured our democracy in 1999? Was it not the same media that our forebears used to fight for Nigeria’s independence from our British colonial masters? Believe you me, the media has not changed. But the society has changed and every society begets the kind of media it deserves.
The administration of Governor Emmanuel is gradually winding up his first term. The political atmosphere in the state has been heightened. The Governor has made public his intention to seek for a renewal of his term in 2019.
Emmanuel has repeatedly told those that care to believe him that his government has performed “superlatively” in his first term. He kept on saying he has industrialised Akwa Ibom state – one of the policy trust of his administration in the Five Points Agenda. This is like an argument of the deaf. Because, the more the government strives harder to convince the people that it has industrialised the state, the more doubts it creates in the minds of the people.
The government finds it very difficult to sell his achievements to the people perhaps, because, the people are yet to see, feel and touch these mysterious achievements of Udom Emmanuel’s administration after three and half years in the state.
What more? “My government has brought Pencil and Toothpick-manufacturing Company, Metering Company, Coconut Refinery,” amongst other industries to the state within the first term, governor Udom Emmanuel struggling to market his mysterious achievements to the people of Akwa Ibom during his second term declaration rally in Uyo.
Still at the second term declaration rally, the Governor said his administration, “has done over 1,700 kilometres of roads in the state in less than three years; renovated over 349 schools, brought down the cost of garri, (a staple food in the state), at least by 50 per cent, and revived the healthcare system,”
I am from Akwa Ibom state. I live and do business in the state. I know the nooks and crannies of this state, at least, as a journalist. It is very doubtful where these 1,700kms roads are located within the geography of the state. This is one assertion by government I consider offensive to the sensibility of educated Akwa Ibom people. It falls among the mysterious achievements of this administration.
I have on many occasions, to the glory of God sponsored road grading for the people of Ifa Group of Villages in Etoi clan in Uyo, the Akwa Ibom state capital. And on one occasion, after I sponsored grading of a 2.5kms road for some communities in Ifa that are still suffering deplorable roads network, I took it upon myself to approach the state Commissioner for Works, Mr Ephraim Inyang, with a letter from village councils of these affected villages in Ifa, seeking government intervention on road construction. I got assurances of state government through Ephraim Inyang to intervene “soonest”.
Is it not the Emmanuel’s administration through its Works Commissioner who after several months of assuring the people of Ifa of good road network, failed to construct even a kilometer of road in Ifa but, turned around to retort that government had to abandon her plans to construct roads in Ifa because, Uduakabasi Ikpatt (a critic of government) from Etinan Local Government Area had written on social media that “the Commissioner for Works, Ephraim Inyang, wanted to construct roads in Ifa in order to give access to his plots?”
I and others at the event where the Commissioner made the statement were shocked to our bone marrow, that such a flimsy reason could make a supposed people’s oriented state government marginalised and abandoned a group of communities to their fate.
It will be my word versus theirs. I put Emmanuel’s administration into a simple task to list the sites and/or locations of these “1,700kms of roads” in Akwa Ibom state if these are not mysterious achievements only known to this government.
And so, to this extent, Hon. Eseme Eyiboh’s advice that Mr Udom Emmanuel should forget about his second term ambition, until he is able to fulfil his five points agenda listed in his 2015 electioneering campaign to the people of the state, is perfectly in order!
Truth be told, I hate to say that Emmanuel is living in a fool’s paradise with invisible achievements thinking that Akwa Ibomites are uneducated people.
Isong is a public affairs commentator.
Culled from Radar Newspaper online.