By Manasseh Umoette
I ONCE read a story of how a thief went into a personâ€™s Â farm and Â Â Â was harvesting crops he did not sow and all of a sudden, the farm owner visited the farm at that moment and was shocked at what he saw.
The farm owner stood speechless watching the thief whom he probably thought may have done that out of ignorance or poverty but when the thief realised that the farm owner did not utter any word, the thief shouted: â€œThief, what are you looking for in my farm?â€
What an irony? The thief was the one that was the first to call the farm owner â€˜thiefâ€™ just because the farm owner delayed in dressing him in the proper robes.
This scenario played out in Akwa Ibom State recently when the former Governor of the State, Obong Victor Attah and his son-in-law Dr. Udoma Ekarika attended a rally for the declaration of Senator John Akpan Udoedeghe for governor at St. Patrickâ€™s Primary School, Uyo.
The irony clicked when Udoma Ekarika allegedly apologised to the Ibibios on behalf of the Annangs for producing a bad leadership in the state.
For Dr. Ekarika, the present administration in the state led by Chief Godswill Akpabio has failed and disappointed Akwa Ibom people. An ironic comment, isnâ€™t it?
I was so furious when I heard the comment. I began to wonder if it was the sameÂ Udoma Ekarika that I know; a former Commissioner and son-in-law to the former Governor Attah. While I was pondering over this, one of my uncles drew my attention to an earlier publication that summarizes the said man.
A respected elderstatesman, Prince Godwin Ntuk Udeh had on January 27, 2010 published an article in the Midweek Pioneer titled â€œA Rejoinder To Udoma Ekarikaâ€™s Outburstâ€. The article reads in part, â€œUdoma Bob Ekarika in the eyes of right thinking persons lacks the credentials to attract attention on any issue or opinion credited to himâ€.
The comment by Prince Ntuk Udeh, I must say, is apt of the man Udoma Ekarika. I first met Udoma Ekarika in 2006 on the heat of the governorship race of 2007. Afe Annang, the apex socio-political organisation in Annang land had summoned all its sons, especially those interested in the governorship race to the Afe at Afaha Obong in Abak.
The aim was to advise them on how to go about the struggle for governorship ticket without jeopardising the peace that existed in the state. After the event, as is usual with journalists, some people they adjudge to be relevant are always interviewed.
This was the thinking of these gentlemen of the press, including my humble self when Dr. Ekarika, the then Commissioner for Works and Transport was approached for comment. Disappointing, that was the first interview I conducted on a personality without publication. Reason? Ekarika spoke without making any sense; he was talking without saying anything.
To say that I was disappointed by Ekarika is an under statement. I could not understand why such a fellow was made a Commissioner that made him dream of becoming a governor in a state with over a million intellectuals. With such illogical utterance, Udoma is portraying himself as a symbol of failure that is merely playing an orchestrated script of his father-in-law.
As a matter of fact, Attah is the problem. He is misleading his son-in-law. Sadly,Â Ekarika has refused to learn his lessons even after failing to succeed in the 2007 election. Attah, even with the power of incumbency could not install him as governor but now is promising to make him deputy governor to Udoedeghe at a time that he is fast losing political relevance.
How-be-it, the voice we heard that day was that of Jacob; only the body was that of Esau. Ekarika was remote-controlled by Attah and as such he should be pardoned.
To say the least,Â Ekarika is not qualified to speak for the Annangs but rather he should apologise to Akwa Ibom people for failing to deliver as Commissioner for almost eight years. If he wants to be running mate to Senator Udoedeghe he should keep quiet and go ahead with their selfish agenda which is bound to fail soonest. He should know that it is only the wise that can act the part of a fool but a fool cannot act the part of a wise person.
Akwa Ibom people are wise and as such cannot be distracted by jokers. Our brother Ekarika should know that if a man wants to growÂ long teeth, he must have the lips to cover them.
As for my in-law, Senator Udoedeghe, I have no issue against him; he has the right to contest any election provided he deems it fit to do so. My only worry is the saying, â€œshow me your friend and I will tell you who you areâ€; now that he has shown us that Ekarika is his friend, someday, I will tell him who he is.