By Daniel Akwatang
Akwa Ibom State has become a cynosure of all eyes as a shinning example of a state blessed with visionary leadersovertime. These sterling leadership attributes make the world look at Akwa Ibom State with awe and respect, attracting commendations from eminent Nigerians, just as other distinguished global citizens hail the excellence in leadership that Akwa Ibom State has become synonymous with.
The icing on the cake is the unmatched leadership provided by Governor Udom Emmanuel who has passionately hatch accomplishments for the state since destiny thrusted on him, the task of leading the state in 2015. Governor Udom Emmanuel has sustained peace and prosperity of Akwa Ibom State and has won the hearts and support of the people for pitching his tent on the side of the masses.
While it is pertinent for the people not to take the gift of a good leader for granted because such are not readily found everywhere, Governor Udom Emmanuel is also conscious of the fact that the highpoint of his achievements for the state shall be predicated on the quality of his successor because there is no success without a good successor.
In achieving this feat, one question that must be on the lips of every Akwa Ibom person is: What could have been the secret of Akwa Ibom State in blazing the trail of having good governors? The answer is in their closet with God as well as their unsentimental and dispassionate choice of governors. God calls the shots.
Evidently, no one relies on God for guidance and actions without succeeding. This is even more pronounced in choosing leaders, particularly in this build-up to electing a governor for the state.
When in May 2023, Governor Udom Emmanuel will be replaced as the pilot in the cockpit of Flight Akwa Ibom State, that same God in ages past, and our hope in years to come, is preparing another gifted hand to sustain the flight on the altitude of peace, security and prosperity; he is the “Eno Akwa Ibom”, which literarily means God’s gift to Akwa Ibom State. This gift from God is hardworking and God-fearing Pastor Umo BasseyEno. In all ramifications, Pastor Eno will be God’s greatest gift to Akwa Ibom State when Governor Udom Emmanuel bows out in 2023.
All of Governor Udom Emmanuel’s success story in Akwa Ibom State will be sealed by his succession plans.
Therefore, Governor Udom Emmanuel from his vantage position owes Akwa Ibom State that duty of pointing at a preferred successor that will be in the overall interest of Akwa Ibom State. He sees clearer than any other person. Good enough, he is alive to that responsibility.
It would have even been a big disservice to God and the good people of Akwa Ibom State if a governor as patriotic, passionate in service, visionary and Godly as Governor Udom Emmanuel abdicated that critical role by leaving the saddle without asking God for a successor fit for the job, and in the best interest of Akwa Ibom State. Governor Emmanuel deserves commendation for living up to expectation. This can only come from a man who loves his people. This Godly succession will be likened to Elisha taking over from Elijah, and it is germane to the sustenance of peace and development of Akwa Ibom State.
The truth is that as a governor, Mr Emmanuel is better positioned to know who will be best for the State. Good enough, he has worked with everyone who had or still has interest in the governorship of the state. No doubt, everyone of them could have made good choice in their own right but one is preferred by the governor based on his inner conviction and communication with God. This underscores the saying that he who wears the shoe knows where it pinches. While everyone has the right to complain about the preferred successor, we should be reminded again that what a father sees sitting down, the son cannot see even if he climbed the tallest iroko tree.
It then beats imagination when people say that the governor does not have the right to choose his preferred successor. Who can be more Catholic than the Pope? Who should be more concerned about a good successor than a passionate incumbent? Who in all sincerity will finish building a sky-scrapper and set fire on it? The governor has taken Akwa Ibom too far to engage a reverse gear now.
Or would Governor Udom Emmanuel had only been hailed if those spearheading agitations and crying foul were the lucky preferred successor? Then it will be dismissed as biased judgement of allowing sentiments to becloud objective reasoning.
Let us also ask: who among the supposed aspirants would have turned down the offer of being the preferred successor? If none, then, we lack justification in vilifying Pastor Umo Eno and crucifying Governor Udom Emmanuel.
This refrain on the lips of blackmailers that Pastor Umo Eno is not qualified is declaring war with God. Who can battle with the Lord?
God chooses leaders for reasons best known to Him alone because He sees the end from the beginning, and myopic men lack what it takes to disqualify one another based on their earthly criteria. The Bible says in 1st Corinthians 1:27-29 that “God has chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, that no flesh should glory in his presence.” The ways of God are not the ways of man.
However, these baseless complaints from some quarters are not unexpected. It is rather an affirmation that the preferred successor, Pastor Umo Eno is from God because there has never been any leader anointed by God that has ever been greeted with 100 per cent acceptance by the people. But God who knows what is good for us will always ensure that eventually, His perfect will must prevail for the good of Akwa Ibom State.
God’s leadership design can never be distorted by any builder no matter the workmen hired, and God’s structure can never witness any cracks no matter the atmospheric pressure and disruptive elements.
God made the world, and at His voice, they obey, including raging seas and troubling storms. God alone can pour oil on troubled waters, and He has done it for Akwa Ibom State.
In all our sentiments and complaints, we should be conscious of the fact that power comes from God, and He alone gives it to whom He so desires.
The criteria of God in choosing leaders will continue to elude mankind as long as they put on the binoculars of ascribing God’s exclusive power to themselves, and Akwa Ibom State cannot fit into such contra-myopic bill.
Akwa Ibom State is over seven million people, and everyone cannot be governor at the same time. We may all have the intimidating credentials to fit for tenancy of Hilltop Mansion but God is an unbiased house agent.
He knows who will occupy the apartment and give peace and security to the landlords and neighbourhood.
Therefore, the choice of Pastor Umo Bassey Eno as potential successor of Governor Udom Emmanuel is a product of foresight by the all-knowing God.
With astonishing credentials of hardwok, humility and godliness, Pastor Umo Eno will continue with the steam and flame of the fire of development kept aglow by Governor Udom Emmanuel. Pastor Umo Eno will not dim our peace and security because he has had a long walk and partnership with God.
Having given his life to God at the age of nine, he always relies totally on God for guidance in all his endeavours. And the results are there; nothing has ever perished in his hands.
Such is the secret of his successful running of a private business, fitting for a conglomerate.
Pastor Umo Eno is an excellent entrepreneur who has employed nearly 1000 Akwa Ibom sons and daughters, and lifted hundreds out of the dungeon of poverty as a private citizen. This can only come from a man who means well for his people. Akwa Ibom State needs the experience and responsible disposition of a mature and level headed businessman like Pastor Umo Eno.
It is therefore bare and ridiculous for anyone to peddle the banal political strategy that Pastor Umo Eno is not qualified. It is God alone who qualifies. Whoever He prefers, He qualifies.
Pastor Umo Eno is a loyal party man, he is from Akwa Ibom State, he is from Uyo Senatorial District where the governorship has been zoned to. Above all, Pastor Umo Eno is God-fearing. He is born out of aggressive and consistent prayers from both the leadership and good people of Akwa Ibom State.
Pastor Umo Eno has come as God’s gift to sustain God’s covenant with Akwa Ibom State. There could not have been a better way than bringing another visionary leader after Governor Udom Emmanuel.
Good enough, Pastor Umo Eno is a shinning example of unity and patriotism. He is a complete Nigerian, having lived literally in all parts of Nigeria owing to his disciplinarian parents’ background. He is a loveable Barracks boy, a free mixer who accommodates everyone irrespective of tribe, social status and gender. These are the compelling attributes of a man who will lead Akwa Ibom State. He will be a uniting factor, a rallying point and a governor for all.
The shocker is that in all of these, Pastor Umo Eno is not desperate. He has totally handed over the ship to God to stir. He relies solely on God which he calls the captain of his destiny, and that wherever God leads, he will follow. What a gift from God to Akwa Ibom State!