By Joseph Atainyang
It has become very apparent that the Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Mr Udom Emmanuel is determined to sustain his blackmail against Oron people till infinity. It is very clear that Udom Emmanuel is bent on setting up the Oro people against the rest of the state.
In the 9th Series of his “Governor’s Speak Programme” earlier today, Saturday, September 25, 2021, broadcast live on all Radio and TV stations across the state, the Governor has clearly demonstrated limitless hatred against Oro people. He has insulted Engr Nkpubre Okon Nkpubre who is well known across Nigeria and West Africa for his renowned engineering profile.
Frustrated by his inability to command loyalty from Engr Nkpubre as is conversant to the dirty politics in the state, Udom has resorted to seizing all available opportunities to telling an incomplete story about Oro. Engr Nkpubre is undoubtedly the most outspoken Oro person of late. He is the Chairman of Oro Nation Technical Committee on Ibom Deep Seaport. Nkpubre is also the former MD/CEO of Niger Dock PLC. It should be clear that other than presenting issues based on facts, Nkpubre cannot be deceived on the seaport matter, as it is the culture with this government.
A few weeks back, while addressing a stakeholders meeting convened by himself, Governor Emmanuel called out the President-General of Oron Union, His Lordship Bishop Etim Ante and thoroughly embarrassed him. He told the gathering that Oron people were writing petitions to all quarters to discredit his effort at building the seaport. Governor Udom Emmanuel said Oron people were writing to investors to stop the construction of the Seaport. He stated that the petition was informed by the name-change of the Seaport from Ibaka Deep Seaport to Ibom Deep Seaport.
Governor Emmanuel added that the “slight relocation” was for technical reasons and that it was moved to Unyenge which he said was still part of Oro land. Today on radio, instead of focusing on the issues clearly stated in the petition that was sent to him, he drifted very abnormally and unreasonably to attack the personality of a man who is respected across the globe.
In all these, Mr Udom Emmanuel has clearly refused to address the facts of the matter. But in this article, I will escape the seductive attraction towards speaking for the revered engineer. Of course, all true followers of the conversation can attest to the competence and inexhaustible energy of Engr Nkpubre. I can well predict that he will come out personally on this unprovoked insult meted out to him.
First, I must say that Governor Udom Emmanuel represents a character typology of Jacob in the Bible. But unlike the biblical Jacob, Udom has proven to be hyper-negative. Remember that Jacob meditated on his conspiracy and actual stealing of his brother’s blessing. He also tried to be kind to the brother so that he (Esau) may forgive him. But Governor Udom Emmanuel is not like that. After his palm kernel was cracked for him by benevolent spirit, making him take the position of Òrò in the 2015 governorship, he cannot regret his full manifestation of treachery and deception. The best Mr Udom Emmanuel can do is make the “labour” of Oro people “harder” than he came to meet.
One would have expected Deacon Udom Emmanuel to live up to his ecclesiastical title. Udom Emmanuel knows that Ibaka Deep Seaport was well planned. He knows the location was Okposo in Mbo local government area. Udom was the Secretary to Government of Akwa Ibom State in 2013. He knows it was that same 2013 that efforts were made to change the location. Udom knows there was absolutely nothing wrong with Okposo. Udom knows the scientific methods which favoured the selection of Okposo (number one), placed Unyenge at number four. But because of the eternal hatred of his origin against Oro, they moved the location to the tail-end of Unyenge, a disputed area for that matter.
A truthful leader would have listened to Oro people when they did a petition to Mr Udom Emmanuel as Governor of Akwa Ibom State. Òrò as a people asked him to address a number of issues listed in the petition. But as a Governor who perhaps shares the faulty belief that ‘Òrò lacks the population to effect any significant change in political decisions of the state, he refused to do anything about it.
Let it be known to Akwa Ibom citizens and all lovers of justice around the world that Òrò people only wrote to the investors when Governor Udom Emmanuel failed to address the petition. In his mind, he may have thought that any step taken by Òrò would be inconsequential. But when the investors reached back to him and asked him to clear with the host community, he ran back to Òrò people, as frustrated as can be imagined. Yet, the Governor refused to spend time to address the meeting he personally arranged with Oro people in July this year.
Before I dropped this piece, let me address the last section of this all-time-messy outing of the Governor. Those who listened to him could hear him saying Oro should be held responsible for his inability to execute the project. I must state here that only people with questionable intellectual composition would take this Governor seriously. We must all know that the Governor was successful at manipulating all factors of the seaport to his personal taste. We must understand that their manipulations scared the Federal Government away from the project. Akwa Ibom citizens should ask Governor Emmanuel why FG withdrew from maintaining it’s 20 percent equity stake in the project.
Governor Udom Emmanuel should tell the state what efforts he made at even commencing the construction of the Seaport, let alone getting to complete it before leaving office. In fact, to cut short the long story, Akwa Ibom people should ask Mr Udom Emmanuel whether he was going to use two years to complete the construction of the seaport when he spent six years (and God knows when it will end) to poorly handle the construction of the Airport-Nsit Atai-Okobo Road. Or is the Governor even serious that the seaport hasn’t been relocated with a different gateway in mind?
It is safe to announce that everyone cannot suffer from dementia. Unfortunately, the Governor who in 2016 said that Akwa Ibom people are illiterates, still believe the people of the state do not have the faculties to think clearly. How can Mr Udom Emmanuel explain his intention to build a Seaport in Òrò and in two years, but can’t finish the road that should serve as gateway in six years? It is either Mr Udom Emmanuel has a hidden agenda he is pursuing with the pretext of the seaport, or he is decisive at maintaining his hatred against Oro.
One thing is sure, Òrò people will not surrender on this issue. The fight for the seaport is not being handled by political leaders of Oro who have all it takes to frustrate the will of the people. The seaport is the soul of Òrò people dead or alive. If Udom cannot be satisfied with his long years of consistent marginalization of Oro, he could ask for something else or simply go to sleep. For the seaport, he can be assured that Oro will not go back on their stance. If Mr Udom Emmanuel has good conscience, he would leave the seaport where it was designed to be. But his unending hatred against Oro makes it clear that he is determined to do anything to curry away the fortunes of Oro Nation. Perhaps I should point it out that the accusation against Oro is Udom’s way of whipping sympathy for his all-round failures.
I can now speak as an Oracle, it was this same wickedness that caused the ten plagues in Egypt. Udom should mind his steps before he incurs the wrath of God.
Joseph Atainyang is a journalist and public affairs commentator.