By Osondu Ahirika
In his habitual way of being very expressive, Mr. Udom Emmanuel, executive governor of Akwa Ibom State, on Saturday, February 12, had his ‘The Governor Speaks’, a live radio, television and online interactive programme. It was the 10th in the series.
He said so many striking things I will be analysing in the coming weeks. First though, let me start with what I consider his most important and enduring legacy, which is restoring and institutionalizing peace in Akwa Ibom State.
It should indeed be a study for the social sciences how Governor Udom Emmanuel has been able to keep Akwa Ibom State as a bastion of peace and tranquility amidst the turmoil of wanton killings, kidnappings, ritual murders, abductions, criminal violence and banditry many states and parts on Nigeria have been subjected to.
His idea of governance is about political inclusion, and this as a philosophy, has engendered tolerance for the opposition, respect for people with political differences and ensuring the tenets of democracy are upheld in the state. His words on the political direction he has given Akwa Ibom State going forward is telling.
He said, “I have one vote, just one vote. That my vote is for peace, that my vote is for economic prosperity, that my vote is for progress, it is for education, health care and more developments for our unborn generations. That my vote is against a man who wants to use violence to grab power. Any man who uses violence to grab power will rule by violence.”
This statement made while being quizzed by his interviewers on his endorsement of the commissioner for lands and water resources, Pastor Umo Eno, as his preferred successor come 2023, speaks a lot about the mindset of the governor. As the scripture says, out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. It is incontrovertible that peace like a river abounds in the heart of Governor Udom Emmanuel.
Recall that in a bid to consolidate his peace advocacy and entrench same in the polity, Governor Emmanuel, on Friday,November 19, 2021, officially unveiled the pan-Akwa Ibom socio-political group called Maintain Peace Movement (MPM), with Mr Emmanuel Enoidem and Prince Enobong Uwah as national chairman and secretary respectively at the GodswillAkpabio International Stadium.
Truth be told, the MPM has become his succession plan platform. The conscious exertion to emphasize peace advocacy as the prime objective of the organization with the theme, “That Same God,” is a welcome consolation.
Giving his agenda setting speech for the MPM, Governor Emmanuel enunciated the essence of pursuing peace, noting as the scripture affirms, that the prosperity of the people as well as unity, development and investors can only be attracted to the state when there is peace.
Now that he has shown direction by unveiling who he believes is an agent of peace, the best we could do is to support him to succeed with his completion agenda. We should continue to pray for the peace of Akwa Ibom State, for therein lies our prosperity.