BusinessDay

Udom’s presidential aspiration and the rest of us

The presidential aspiration of Governor Udom Emmanuel, a reputable professional banker-turned politician is no longer being discussed in a hushed tone. It is now clear that the Akwa Ibom Governor is seeking the highest office in Nigeria, having accepted the call by many Nigerians to do so.

First, it all began when the Brekete Family Radio was wowed by the governor’s sterling performance and decided to purchase the Presidential Nomination and Expression of Interest Form for the governor who has acquitted himself creditably as a man of a remarkable vision in the discharge of his responsibilities.

A few years ago, precisely in 2019, the odds weighed heavily against Udom Emmanuel as he sought re-election having been out of favour with his benefactor, Godswill Akpabio and it seemed impossible that he would have a second term as governor.

The sing-song during the period was that he would not be re-elected since his kinsman, the late Dr. Clement Isong could not do so in 1983. But as it is said, the rest is history and he did not only win a second term, he scored one of the highest votes ever in the history of Akwa Ibom State elections.

His decision to join the presidential race must, therefore, have been borne out of his growing support base across the country, his sterling performance while in office and his desire to replicate his achievements in Akwa Ibom State at the national scene.

In the industrial sector, it was unthinkable many years ago that Akwa Ibom would boast of such factories as a flour mill, a syringe manufacturing company and a vehicle assembly plant, but today, the reality is that apart from the aforementioned ventures, other privately run businesses are operating and thriving in the state. In air transportation, what seemed impossible for a state government to float an airline became possible with Udom as the governor of Akwa Ibom State.

In seeking to be the President of Nigeria, Governor Udom Emmanuel has proven many critics wrong that something good and most profound cannot come from Akwa Ibom State. Akwa Ibom as the highest oil producer can only contribute to the national collectable revenue but cannot seek the country’s highest office because of age-long stereotypes.

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Being the highest contributor to the country’s foreign exchange earnings from its vast oil and gas resources, yet without any petrochemical project like a refinery, a petroleum depot or a fertilizer plant confirms an old adage in Ibibio that no other person can help you reach your waist why taking your bath except a known person, which means that if Governor Udom Emmanuel becomes Nigeria’s president, the dream of Akwa Ibom State having petrochemical projects would be a reality.

For instance, if Katsina State could have a specialised University of Transportation courtesy of President Muhammadu Buhari and several other federally funded projects, then Akwa Ibom state under Udom’s presidency would equally boast of similar projects even more.

So, it is against this backdrop that his presidential aspirants should be seen and appreciated. A mission to turn things around for the better, a determination to make a positive impact in “rising to the faith of greatness,” and the courage and thoughtfulness to “rise above ethnic and parochial sentiments.”

Indeed, Governor Udom Emmanuel has made a statement and has sent a strong message that Akwa Ibom people can longer be ignored in the political development of the country. Just like the late governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Clement Isong was saddled with the responsibility of managing the finances and the economy of Nigeria during the civil war coming out unscathed with Nigeria not being thrown into debts, Udom Emmanuel seems to be pursuing the same vision of coming to rescue Nigeria in its darkest moment of history.

In this wise, supporting his presidential aspirants should be the focus of all well meaning people both in Akwa Ibom and beyond, to rally around him and rise in unity to support a committed nationalist and a new breed politician who seeks nothing for himself but for the collective good of Akwa Ibom and the country at large.

Having consulted widely, toured the country and met with key political heavyweights including former President Olusegun Obasanjo, former military President Ibrahim Babangida and former Head of sState, Abdulsalami Abubukar, religious leaders of all faith, youth and women groups as well as traditional leaders, he has left no one in doubt about his determination to secure the presidential ticket of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and eventually emerge as the country’s first president from Akwa Ibom State.

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