By Emmanuel Ndon

True to himself, Governor Umo Eno came with the “finisher’s anointing”. His rapid start, sense of direction and purpose have marked him out as someone who came prepared for his job.

Before he became Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Umo Eno appeared no less than a political diminutive – the light-weight political greenhorn – whose worth posed no threat to the ‘big guns’ in the race for the governorship of Akwa Ibom State. It was his predecessor, Udom Emmanuel after tracking the man’s pedigree, impressive acumen and his successful business conglomerate, who discovered the genius and tenacity in pastor Umo Eno. Apparently to prove and satisfy his curiosity, Governor Emmanuel brought Umo Eno into the State Executive Council, where he served in the Ministry of Lands as Commissioner. And truly, his tenacious tendency manifested during the truck load of litigations that proceeded the primaries.

As I mentioned elsewhere (in a piece I wrote on Umo Eno), signs that Mr. Emmanuel had fallen in love with Umo Eno became obvious during his thanksgiving service on September 25, 2021. Thousands of guests, friends and loved ones from all walks of life assembled to pay tributes to an entrepreneur of no mean repute and an accomplished private sector player, Pastor Umo and his wife, Patience in a triple celebration to give thanks for God’s undying love, faithfulness and benevolence over His stewards.

Pastor Umo Eno had arranged the event to thank God in memory of his mother, Deaconess Eka Eno who died a year earlier, and to commemorate his 35th marriage anniversary as well as his appointment as commissioner by His Excellency, Governor Udom Emmanuel.

Indeed, the enthralling, high-octane thanksgiving appears to have summed up the Umo Eno brand – quality, character, personality and popularity. There and then Governor Emmanuel said he appointed Pastor Umo Eno because of his capacity and impressive presentation during a retreat of the exco in 2015.

Like I stated earlier, I still remain convinced that it was at that event that Governor Emmanuel made up his mind to settle for Umo Eno as his successor.

So many people had arraigned the governor when he eventually unfolded Umo Eno as his preferred aspirant from the lot within the party. Even though a chunk of party faithfuls were pleased, others flayed the manner of “endorsement at the Government House” in the presence of a former governor Obong Victor Attah. It was at this point that all enemies unleashed their arsenals and declared war.

One year down the line, Umo Eno has distinguished himself as the beacon of good governance , exemplifying good leadership and effective service delivery.
Major players in his emergence including Obong Victor Attah are all acquittal with a feeling of excitement and ‘I said it’.

READ:  CASH CRUNCH: Sen Eyakenyi Seeks Speedy Reopening Of Banks in Oro Nation

There is also the bö enö group ( a registered non governmental organization ) who were front-runners in marketing what they believed to have been a magnetic brand. bö enö group went as far as introducing home cells in every nook and cranny of the state as a means of mobilizing voters to cue behind the PDP flag bearer. And they got it all without regret.

Umo Eno’s style of leadership is unusual. He has this charisma that evokes loyalty and friendship. All these combined, have melted the frozen hearts of his hostile party men on one side, and blurred completely any existing line of opposition politics that had dragged the state in the past.

A few instances will suffice here. When one of our illustrious sons, distinguished Senator Godswill Akpabio, was elected president of the senate, Pastor Umo flew to Abuja to congratulate him on the well deserved position. Severally, they’ve held conversations about the development of the state and its people which is the priority of any serious government. This is, inspite of the fact that Sen. Akpabio was elected on another political platform.

Interestingly, as a man of conscience , governor Umo Eno’s appointments, such as those of Ward PAs, SAs, Transition Committee Chairmen and Members etc. are from the ranks of his core loyalists who sincerely worked for his electoral success but devoid of party considerations . Numerous development projects embarked upon by his administration are evenly distributed across the state.

Another striking departure from the past can be found in the aspect of continuity. It has become a common tradition in our country for successors to abandon the policies and projects of their predecessors for vain glory. But as a shrewd business leader -cum administrator, Pastor Umo Eno understands the true essence of leadership. He is also versed with continuity in governance. Thus he has provided that uninterrupted connection between the last and present administration.

Consequently, he has inherited all abandoned projects and its accompanying liabilities. While some – like Nsit Atai – Okobo and Use Ikot Amama roads which have traversed three administrations have been re-awarded, others, such as the 160m span Nto Ide –Ikot Amba bridge with 800m Approach Road in Obot Akara Local Government have been completed.

READ:  Presidential Poll: Afenifere Leadership dissociates self from Peter Obi, insists Tinubu won

It was at the inauguration that Umo Eno, while making his remarks, established the nexus in the project. He intimated everyone that even though the project was started by his predecessor, he has found the grace to finish it because some people (including himself), are blessed with the “finisher’s anointing”.

One benefit derivable from continuity is the avoidance of wastage. Too many resources have gone down the drain with abandoned projects, it is the people that also lose the value and impact of such projects.

Another difference between Umo Eno and others is his penchant for keeping promises. Within his first 100 days, he delivered a refurbished Akpan Andem market, along with adjoining Ndiya and Udo Umana Streets, in fulfillment of his campaign promise to traders.

Shortly afterwards, during the launch of the food voucher programme, he added yet another impetus in the form of a N1.5 billion interest-free loan for traders in the state. These bold steps can only add up to the purposeful leadership that puts the people first.

Also, the One Project per Local Government initiative is another novelty in the political history of Nigeria. It reflects the buttom-up approach that most politicians only mouth about.

Here, the governor’s approach provides ample opportunity for indigenes to assess their uppermost need – something that can solve a very important problem in a community – and that project is undertaken by the government. Beyond the lease of life it affords, particularly for rural dwellers, this approach clearly demonstrates participatory and inclusive governance – a key ingredient of democracy – where citizens are given ample chance to proffer their own solutions to their own problems.

And still talking projects, the administration has also inaugurated road projects in Eket and internal roads in Ewet Housing and Shelter Afrique in Uyo. The administration within the first one year has also inaugurated primary health centres in Odot (Nsit Atai) and Oboyo Ikot Ita (Nsit Ibom) under the one-project-per local government initiative.

The governor has also inaugurated CKS Model primary school along Wellington Bassey Way and a similar facility in
Ewet Offot. These model schools will be replicated in all ten federal constituencies of the state. While at Ewet, Governor Umo Eno did promise to fund a one-off wardrobe allowance as well as adequate training for the teachers to enhance their outlook and capacity. All these are geared towards boosting productivity and upgrading academic performance of pupils and students of the state.

The social welfare programme of this administration is second to none. The food voucher programme has provided food for the poor and vulnerable in the state as a stop-gap measure to ameliorate the biting effect following the fuel subsidy removal. The permanent solution – cultivation of massive farmlands in the state – is already underway under the food sufficiency programme in the ARISE Agenda.

READ:  Presidency clears the air on Ministerial list, appointment

Government has also empowered thousands of entrepreneurs with skills and start-up capital under the AK-Cares and Ibom LED programme. There is also the provision of free healthcare for the elderly as well as the construction of ARISE compassionate homes to cater for the housing needs of some category of civil servants in the state.

In the area of security, the Umo Eno administration has donated operational vehicles to boost security agencies’ operations in the state. It has also established a home-grown security outfit, Ibom Community Watch, to help in internal security around the state.
Rural development still remains a key priority of the Umo administration. Its RARA programme aims at opening rural access to food transportation and infrastructure development to boost local livelihoods and restrain migration.

The governor’s peaceful disposition has ensured that communities live in peace with one another. Its intervention also ensured that the contentious traditional rulers law was settled amicably out of court.
Economically, the administration has encouraged investors to do business in the state through favourable climate and sound policies. As a further boost, it has inaugurated an 8.5km Airside internal security road as well as phase II parallel Taxiway and Rapid Exit both at the Victor Attah International Airport, aside from acquisition of more air crafts to boost the swelling fleet of Ibom Air.

For the first time, Akwa Ibom State government has a technical committee to consider its Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) paper to aid its fiscal policy planning. Another benefit of this strategy is that the state can, within the framework, make projections and determine how and where to inject funds for development purposes.

Overall, the Umo Eno administration has made a rapid start in all sectors within one year, and has expressed its determination and capacity to move the state forward.

This is just one out of four years. He only needs the support and cooperation of all and sundry to achieve more for the people.

Excitedly, It’s therefore, safe to conclude that, NNYỊN IMI bọ enọ

Emmanuel Ndon is the Founder/ Chairman, BoT, bọ enọ and Transition Secretary, Itu Local Government

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *