• Thursday, July 25, 2024
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A note to Mr. Umo Eno

A note to Mr. Umo Eno

Hello Mr Eno,

With only a few weeks to May 29, and barring any unforeseen circumstances, your inauguration as the next governor of Akwa Ibom State is certain. I am therefore pleased to send you this note to guide you as you prepare to take office. For me, setting an agenda for a new administration has become a tradition. In 2000, I wrote a letter to Obong Attah, urging him to remodel Uyo into a modern capital city. I followed it up with an interview with him in his Office. I was then a journalist with The Guardian newspaper.

It was at the interview that Attah explained to me the benefits of planting trees in the middle of a town, which is what he did to the area of Uyo we now refer to as the plaza. In 2008, I wrote an article in The Guardian, urging Gov. Godswill Akpabio to continue with the airport project which Obong Attah had started.

There were rumours that Akpabio was going to truncate the development of the airport based on some advice that ‘’the airport is Attah’s project’’. Thank God, Akpabio knew better and we now have an airport. Given the circumstance of his emergence, I was too sad to send Udom Emmanuel a letter. He emerged through the most violent and bloodiest election in the history of our state.

For you, instead of recommending specific projects to pursue, I will rather give you a set of dos and don’ts that should guide your steps. First, it is advisable that you choose your own style and avoid the temptation to mimic your predecessor.

Stay humble, dress modestly and do away with billboards showing your face everywhere in Uyo. Akpabio introduced the practice of self-advertisements on billboards and Udom Emmanuel copied him and took it to a ridiculous level. I hope you’ll end it because it is indecent, self-serving and smacks of arrogance.

Your achievements will speak for you. You don’t need to erect billboards to announce the roads you have constructed. We shall see and use them. Eschew lies, boastfulness and embellishment of your claims. That’s Gov. Udom’s style. Strike out in your own unique ways and build your brand, but make honesty, humility and prudence your best policy.

Second, and this is very important, you must cancel all the deals and illegal understanding, considerations or agreements you might have entered into with the people who put you in office. I do not know why the governor chose you as his preferred candidate, but I’m old enough to know that such supports and preferences come with political and financial IOUs that you must pay.

Since the governor spent billions to put you in office, he must have some expectations from you; and perhaps, you had made some pledges to him. But make no mistake, Mr. Eno, if you facilitate any fraudulent, illegal or immoral deals to anybody in return for the favours you received, you will come to your comeuppance at the right time.

As a pastor, I am sure that you must be familiar with the Law of Nature that states that whatsoever a man sows, he shall reap. Your loyalty is now to Akwa Ibom people; not to your godfathers or Fathers of Faith or any individual or group.

Three, focus on the core problems afflicting our people and leave vanities out of governance. Akwa Ibom people are desperately poor and most of our young people are jobless. Public schools are in very bad shape and health facilities are inadequate. Do away with fancy and white elephant projects that have no relevance to the lives of our people. Uyo, brimming with over three million people, deserves two well-equipped general hospitals.

The University of Uyo Teaching Hospital (UUTH) is the only affordable medical center for the people. But it is always overcrowded, overworked and congested. In an interview with Channels TV, you said something about building new hotels to promote tourism.

Read also: Umo Eno receives certificate of return, explains ‘happy hour’ policy

You had also talked about declaring ‘’Happy Hour’’ to promote drinking. You must stop thinking and talking like a hotelier, which you have been all of your adult life. You will soon be the governor and chief executive of the state, and your focus should be solving the problems of majority of the people, which are poverty; unemployment; out-of-school children, etc. There are more tricycles (keke) on Uyo roads than private cars. I don’t see this in any of the state capitals in the other Niger Delta States. Does that tell you something?

Four, be frugal with the people’s resources. Remember that the treasury is not an extension of your personal bank account. Stop impulsive donations and do not act to impress anybody. Remember our poor widows, orphans and the millions of unemployed youths who go to bed hungry. Do away with sycophancy, bogus titles and appurtenances that set you aside as a man of vainglory.

Do not carry any cane or walking stick, and as I said earlier, dress decently, but moderately. Avoid those prophets that would ‘’bless’’ and handover a walking stick to you. They will lead you astray. It is okay for your wife to pursue an agenda that promotes a social cause. But be advised that the wife of the governor is not official of the government. I have already written on your use of the state-owned private jet. I hope the message got to you.

Finally, beware of some persons that will visit you and claim to be investors, foreign or domestic. Some may claim to have Akwa Ibom persons as partners. More often than not, they are fraudsters. They duped the Attah administration of millions in a bogus hospital investment and duped the incumbent administration of millions in toothpick factory and Mexican Cow investments. In fact, in the case of the toothpick factory, I understand that even some serving commissioners were involved in the scam.

I wish you well, Mr. Eno, but it is now up to you to write your name in gold. As a citizen, I will be watching and commenting.