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[Opinion]: Killer Herdsmen and Akpabio’s Scathing Message By Kenneth Jude

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There is little doubt that this year has a lot stuffed in its belly. It is a year with a bulging tummy that will birth several issues that will make and equally upset the apple cart.

Already, some clerics have given us a glimpse into the year with earthshaking prophecies, most of which border on doom and gloom.

For politicians, it’s a busy year. It’s a pre-election year. There’ll be horse trading, defections, character assassination, friends will turn foes, there’ll be accusations and counter accusations, blackmail will find a good space, there’ll be newspaper rejoinders, open letters, unsolicited advise, and, of course, many will morph into emergency philanthropists.

At the federal level, President Buhari and his party appear to have lost it. By appointing dead people into boards give a clearer picture yet that the Daura born ascetic general has lost touch with the times. When he said he belongs to everybody and belongs to nobody, was the dead included?

In the outgone year, he spent more time in the hospital than Aso Rock. One holds nothing against him in this regard because anyone can fall sick irrespective of age or gender, but at 75 even when he said he thought he was 74, he is prone to giving in to one health challenge or another. It is an age concomitant with health issues. Add this to the rigours of presiding over the affairs of a large multi-lingual, multi-ethnic and multi-religious country like Nigeria; it’s a knotty nut to crack entirely.

Even when many Nigerians have queried the change mantra upon which they rode to power, plans are already afoot for the re-election of Buhari as president in 2019. Whether he has the mental wit and age supported by sound health and mind for another shot at power matters little to his acolytes so long as he can breathe.

Under Buhari’s watch, herdsmen have turned parts of the country into killing fields. They maim and slaughter human beings with beastly impunity. All we get is condemnation of their actions, their dastardly acts and all that crap. But when IPOB ‘sneezed’ in the South Eastern part of the country, all hell was let loose. All manner of dance found a home in that region. While we were only used to Azonto, Etighi, Skelewu, ‘one corner nonsense’ and the rest, the military launched a new dance code-named Operation Python Dance.

Naturally, pythons don’t dance. Do they? So, when the military left their base and decided to stage a dance in the South Eastern part of the country, not a few people were startled. “What kind of dance is that?” many had asked. While Nigerians were caught in the web of wonderment, the Python dancers, displaying not the dancing skills like those we see in the casino and owambe parties, danced in a manner that sent IPOB agitators and their lieutenants into oblivion. It was not a dance of peace but war. It was a special dance from the stable of the military. Nnamdi Kanu, the ethnic entrepreneur, who described Nigeria as a zoo, bolted. To date, no one knows where he is.

At the end of that dancing expedition, the military had succeeded in sending IPOB members away with their cutting edge dancing steps and war-ridden drumbeats. Since then, IPOB and all what they stand for has gone underground. Will they crawl back to life? The passage of time will tell.

As Commander-in-Chief of the armed Forces, it is not impossible that President Buhari had given the milliary marching orders to hit the Southeast with that peculier dance. That was commendable – even though some persons frowned at it. Pronto, IPOB was branded a Terrorist Organisation. Whether that was apt in the circumstance or not is not the focus of this piece.

Today, Herdsmen have held the nation by the jugular – killing, maiming and slaughtering innocent Nigerians with murderous glee. And it is startling if not unsettling that Buhari has yet to deem it fit to  declare these ratag gang of murderers, TERRORISTS nor ask the military to, again, take up their dancing gears, head to these troubled parts of the country for a dance.

Any dance, it must be stated, will do. Crocodile had Smiled in the South South and South West regions – there was a semblance of order in those parts. Mr. President, send the troops to go and dance in these troubled areas. If the president or the Army have run out of ideas on what to tag the next kind of dance. As a patriotic Nigerian, I suggest the following dance styles for the North.

Operation Snake Dance; Operation Lion Dance, Tiger Dance, Hippopotamus dance, Monkey dance – and every other dance. This, to me, is a task that must be done with military dispatch. Those in support say aye!

Ex Governor Godswill Akpabio recently stirred the hornet’s nest recently when he aimed a new year dig at his ‘student’ and governor of Akwa Ibom State, Mr. Udom Emmanuel.

Akpabio, Nigeria’s Senate Minority Leader and ‘great teacher’, hit out at the banking mogul turned politician for marginalising Ikot Ekpene senatorial district and abandoning some of his cherished projects, prominent among them being the Four Points by Sheraton Hotel in Ikot Ekpene.

Said he: “2018 is less than one year to election, all is not well o; don’t allow anybody to deceive you that all is well. If the hotel in Ikot Ekpene (Four Points by Sheraton) rots after so much money had been expended, would that be a good thing?

That road from Uyo to Ikot Ekpene, is still the way it was (when I left office). In the 2018 budget, what is the percentage for Ikot Ekpene Senatorial District? My job is to say the truth because if at this level I cannot say the truth, then I am not doing well. So please I want us to start the hotel because when the Commissioner for Works addressed the youths in August, he assured them that the hotel would be opened in December, it will soon decay if urgent intervention is not given to the  facility.
Please, let us check the budget to know what has been earmarked for that place. I am not interested in what I did and what I did not do, I am only interested in what I am going to do.

“The truth is that Godswill Akpabio expects us to set our path straight so that we can take one route. Even when you are going for communion, you must be in a state of grace, so let us have something from the Senatorial District to use in talking about election; to use in convincing the people to stand by us. We are in opposition, we don’t have government, we don’t have Police, we don’t have INEC.”

Understandably, Akpabio’s comments has set off a firestorm of reactions from across the state with many holding the opinion that both men are no longer having the best of relationships.

Some observers have questioned Akpabio’s moral standing in saying that his area is being marginalised, pointing out that he, the great teacher, set a grand record in this respect hence had better kept mute.   Others insist that Senator Akpabio would have devised a better way of passing the message to Gov. Udom since they are mentors and mentees without bringing it to public consciousness.

All said, for the politically conscious, it is not overly surprising that such issues are beginning to arise. It’s expected that as the next election gatheres steam, diverse issues will certainly crop up – some of which shall border on interest and all that. It is now left for the governor to, if he is truly in charge of his government, take the bull by the horns and see to it that as much as he can, some interests, especially those that concerns his mentor (Akpabio) and his people aren’t treated with levity.

Of course, the governor need not be told of the influence the Senate Minority Leader wields in Akwa Ibom politics. Having lumped him to the number one seat singlehanded despite the groundswell opposition at the time,  Udom, having benefitted immensely from the Ukana political czar is condemned to remaining beholden to his benefactor if he must keep his seat in peace.

But people should not be carried away by Akpabio’s submissions. That he has said his mind does not mean that both men are at loggerheads. Though, it would have been wise to have done that in the closet with the governor. Akpabio certainly had reasons for his actions hence one should not get overly agitated. If their once rosy relationship has hit hard times, as many have suggested, let’s keep our gazes on both men and see how events will pan out in the coming days, months.

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Would posterity tick or asterisk your tenure? By Michael Bush

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In Nigeria and indeed all of the Third World, nothing carries more weight, paraphernalia and perks than a public office. That is the only reason people steal, kill or destroy to take the seat. It is an automatic ticket to sudden wealth and impunity. However, like a double-edged sword, public office in this part of the globe doesn’t only dispense carrots 24/7; it also carries a stick -a big stick!

Public office has and can deploy the power to rubbish memory. Many men and women who ran the show yesterday are today anonymous pedestrians in the power space. In spite of their stupendous wealth which itself was a trophy they helped themselves to while in office, most of these many live in abject poverty that isolation or loneliness at that height represents. The children’s children of one who abused public office know that posterity transmogrifies into karma.

Even with no books on the tenure, this natural stratagem ensures that future generations never allow someone from that lineage to smell power again. Consider how nearly impossible it is to name, of the truckloads of families that have ruled Nigeria in over a century, say one or two that should or can stage a comeback. Can anything be worse than that, to be locked out of the power loop forever just because your parent or family messed up earlier? This is one tragedy of power that mankind continues to ignore, to its chagrin.

Now is the perfect time to recalibrate the laissez faire that attends our in-office performance. People should stop toying with their name and that of their family as happens when they abuse the public trust embedded in every office. Holders should start knowing that just as their actions and inaction today would have an impact on tomorrow, future generations also reserve the right to hold their descendants accountable and responsible. We must go to every length to bequeath a worthy memory.

Public officers should carry out a no-holds-barred self evaluation, as regularly as possible. Those who at every turn tell themselves even the bitterest truth can upturn any tide. Mistakes can only be corrected when committers are smart-humble enough to come to terms with the fact that as human beings all the aces (especially when it comes to time) are not in their hands. Let’s see how the following three randomly-selected incumbents would be remembered, long after?

Starting with President Muhammadu Buhari’s, do you foresee this epitaph: here lies a tenure that changed Nigeria and Nigerians; that defended brand Nigeria at home and abroad; that left the country and her citizens better off? Through the middle, when posterity thumbs the performance of a Simon Lalong on the plateau, would it be up or down? And down south, after all the deafening cacophony what mental picture would Rivers people have of their fire-for-fire governor? Our answers can resolve the horrendous leadership challenge that has stunted the growth of our society!

As people angle to sell their souls to the devil to secure a fresh or second term or even anticipatory appointment next year, the masses need to cut a pre-emptive deal now by putting the what-would-your-tenure-be-remembered-for question. Aspirants who become candidates must tell us in black and white what they would do once they take office. We are tired of unpleasant surprises and the attendant post-tenure frustration of inability to measure performance because the holder promised nonsense or nothing. 2019 offers Nigeria a window that Nigerians must exploit, if we truly desire a better country.

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As Pioneer Newspaper celebrates Emmanuel Ekon

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A native of Iwukem village in Etim Ekpo local government area of Akwa Ibom State, a business guru, a pragmatic and an erudite legislator, Emmanuel Ekon is one fellow I feel, has been unfairly under-celebrated in Akwa Ibom State.

A consummate politician, a legislator par excellence, a philanthropist by calling, who has bagged variety of awards such as the Nelson Mandela Pan African Exemplary Leadership Award, is currently the member representing the people of Abak/Etim Ekpo/Ika Federal Constituency in the green chambers of the National Assembly and is the Chairman, House Committee on Local Content.

Permit me to mention that, Emmanuel Ekon’s pedigree can by no means be encapsulated within his rising political profile. He is, without an iota of a doubt, a go-getter of uncommon achievement in business, human capacity development, community service, youth empowerment and an outstanding philanthropist of his kind.

Emmanuel Ekon in his role as the Chairman House Committee on Local Content, has recorded enviable successes, having established that the local content law is strictly adhered to, by international oil companies and players in the oil and gas sector of the Nigeria economy.

As a young erudite and pragmatic legislator, he has similarly delivered sterling commitment to achieving results in a manner unambiguously establishing his status as a performer rather than a mere benchwarmer in the National Assembly.

As for his achievements as the Chairman House Committee on Local Content, they crucially signpost a paradigm shift in a representative governance and true democracy in a nation where scant attention is paid to real development of human capacity and effective service delivery by a National Assembly member. His contribution to Nigeria local content development  and the oil and gas sector of Nigeria economy at large sufficiently sets him apart as the best House of Representatives member we have ever had from Akwa Ibom State.

Emmanuel Ekon’s approach to human capacity development, youths empowerment, infrastructure development and legislative business obviously incorporates an astonishing zeal to produce results in defiance of the most profoundly contradicting odds, even to the extent of denying himself and family some pleasures for a service to constituents and the people of Akwa Ibom State at large.

The depth of patriotic stewardship Ekon has displayed in his sterling legislative business as the Chairman House committee on Local Content can easily be recommended as a template for rejuvenating sincere, committed, development oriented and purpose driven representatives governance as a tool for development in our unfortunately critically under developed nation.

This he has proven beyond all reasonable doubt that he is indeed a legislator of exceptional commitment, profound patriotism and uncommon resourcefulness. Indeed, his preparedness to regularly make personal sacrifices for the purpose of achieving results that end up benefiting all of us recommend him as a legislator in a class by himself. It is most admirable that these are rare qualities he has deployed to the benefit of the entire nation in the management of local content, a disposition that must be recommended to everyone desirous of making a mark in governance and service to the general public.

Always unassuming, never rushing to the front to be noticed and obviously too busy and focused, finding no time for self-aggrandizement, Emmanuel Ekon comes across as a man who is simply too purpose-driven to bother about hugging the limelight or blowing his own trumpet. What I would any day consider a tragedy with respect to our interface as a state with Emmanuel Ekon, is the fact that such a remarkably resourceful fellow who put smiles on the faces of Nigerian youths has clearly not been celebrated as much as he deserves nor accorded the quantum of honour he has undoubtedly earned. In fact, it is safely asserted that Ekon has most commendably effected a renaissance of leadership in Nigerian legislative business, an approach to legislative development that incontestably places him in the Hall of Fame of Nigerian legislators.

In the process, Ekon exemplified genuine leadership as service and personal sacrifice powered by a vision for the common good. He is a realist, simple but sophisticated in all facets of life, a strategist with wide experience and exposure and a compendium of knowledge on contemporary issues like human capacity development and youths empowerment.

Not withstanding a nation notorious for celebrating mediocres, while performers to whom honour is due are denied their entitlement to well-deserved glory, Ekon, since embracing politics and public life, has certain qualities nobody can ignore- courage and focus. But what is more visible in the last few years is that he has clearly been consistent in the pursuit of excellence while not allowing distraction, manufactured and sold to the public, by his traducers to distract from the goals he had set out for himself. For this reason, many elect to misunderstand him. For the same reason also, some credible organizations which go after substance and reward efforts to make positive impact on society, chose him to receive it a meritorious award.

According to the Management of Pioneer Newspaper, Ekon will today be officially conferred with an award of excellence.

It also stated that, “Ekon is being recognised for his great commitment and contribution to human capital development in Akwa Ibom State”. The letter also eulogised Ekon for “developing the capacities of young people, not only in his constituency but different parts of the state and ensuring that people have access to effective representation”. The above lines speak volumes about Ekon’s leadership in the constituency as well as his desire to ensure that no one is left behind in the quest to bequeath a better constituency.

The award is a further confirmation that despite a seeming nasty opposition, Ekon has remained focused in pushing to deliver the promises he made to his people.

Emmanuel Ekon is on a roll. He is moving on without looking back. He sure has learnt lessons on how to satisfy the desires of the people. The mandate they gave him pushes him to do more. And he will do more. I have no doubt that the Pioneer Newspaper award will open the floodgates of other such awards.

CONGRATULATIONS SIR ON THIS WELL DESERVED HONOUR!

Mr. Emmmanuel Ibok, International Coordinator of Emmanuel Ekon Support Group Writes

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Dr. Emmanuel Ekuwem: A true Patriot of Oro Nation

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http://www.nigeriatoday.ng/2018/04/dr-emmanuel-ekuwem-a-true-patriot-of-oro-nation/

By Meflyn Anwana

There is no better time than now to celebrate a true patriot, a man whose public service credentials, intellectual prowess, stellar characteristics among others necessitated his appointment by governor Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom state as the secretary to the state government.

Dr. Ekwuwem who was named “the most productive individual” and was conferred with the prestigious award – the National Productivity Order of Merit – NPOM by former president Olusegun Obasanjo in 2001 will be honored tomorrow by the people of Oro nation.

Tomorrow’s celebration by Oro nation is a testimony of how governor Udom Emmanuel has changed the storyline of politics in Akwa Ibom state forever, proving beyond doubts that the Oro nation is a big part of Akwa Ibom political landscape.

It is worthy of note that Ekwuwem as a technocrat  is nationally and internationally recognised as a foremost telecommunications genius and had served as a former president of the Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria, president of Nigerian Internet Group, the immediate past board chairman of the Nigerian Export Processing Zone Authority (NEPZA) and until his appointment, was the president of the Teledon Group.

As Oro Nation gets set to celebrate Dr. Ekwuwem and appreciate governor Udom Emmanuel for his magnanimity tomorrow, this will pass a strong message to young people that hard work, consistency, and commitment is vital to success.

Congratulation! Dr. Emmanuel Ekwuwem.
Of a truth Emmanuel is with us

 

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Simple ways to becoming a credible leader

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Simple ways to becoming a credible leader

By Dr Victor Udo

Credibility is vital for management at all levels.

According to Stephen Covey in a concept called “the speed of trust” A person builds trust, and when you fully trust someone, it enables you to work with them much more efficiently and productively than if you’re constantly worrying about them and assessing their abilities. In short, trust is a positive business difference maker.

Just as credibility is a key component of trust, it’s a vital element of effective leadership. When someone is viewed as highly credible, they’re seen as an asset, a valuable team player, someone you will be excited to work with.

“So how does one become fundamentally “credible”? While there are other suggestions, these are my top five based on personal experiences in the business, government and social sectors:”

RESULT ORIENTED

Management is nothing if not a results-oriented endeavor. Whatever your level – from line supervisor to CEO – you have to be able to deliver the results your organization needs to gain credibility. No results, no credibility.

BE TRANSPARENT

Plenty of employees are every bit as intelligent as their management and they spend a lot of time observing their management closely. Transparency matters, and there’s ample research supporting it. Want credibility? You’ve got to be straight with people or you’ll always be bucking the current, a trout swimming upstream.

TAKE TOUGH DECISIONS BOLDLY

 It’s easy to manage when things are going great. Not so simple when you face tough decisions. This is exactly what management is well compensated to do. 

BE CONSISTENT

Employees respond well to consistent behavior from their management. Unpredictability can be disturbing. In an uncertain world, people understandably like things they can depend on. If they can count on you, it means people believe what you say and you’re credible.

LEAD BY EXAMPLE

Again, this is basic but it’s often ignored and there’s no good alternative to it. If you don’t lead by example – if you “talk the walk but don’t walk the talk” – you’ll alienate more than motivate. Again, employees watch their management closely. If they conclude management is playing by its own set of rules, it kills credibility.

Always an invaluable leadership asset, credibility can do that for you.

About The Author

Dr. Victor Udo is the first ever Senior Special Assistant to the Akwa Ibom State Governor on Planning. He is helping the State to establish and execute a comprehensive sustainable development planning, implementation and evaluation process across various MDAs. Before joining the Akwa Ibom State Government, Dr. Udo was the manager, public policy research/development for Pepco Holdings, a fortune 500 USA company that is now part of Exelon Energy, the biggest utility company in the USA.  Under this role, he was involved in several local, state and federal government public policy issues including energy technology, social welfare and environmental regulations/legislations. Dr. Udo was appointed by the Governor of New Jersey to the Renewable Energy Taskforce where their recommendation made the State one of the leaders in renewable energy. He was subsequently appointed into the Planning Board in Delaware by the current USA Senator Chris Coons. As members of the Planning Board, they supervised the development of comprehensive plan and approval of infrastructural projects consistent with the plan, State and Federal laws.

 

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