By Paul BASSEY
The word ‘Udom’ in the Ibibio and Efik dialect carries so much positives, the most dominant and significant being “right” Last month and for two days I had to do a tour of the state to supervise the Zonal finals of the 14th AKS/NNPC/MPN Schools athletics Championships. Spread over eight sports zones of the state, I have always found myself as the consultant of the programme, battling to touch base with all the venues.
For record purposes and to better appreciate how scattered the venues are, we had to move as follows: Abak Zone, Community Secondary School, Ikot Esop, Etim Ekpo LGA. Eket Zone, Eket Stadium. Etinan Zone, Etinan Stadium. Ibiono/Ikono Zone,Ediene Community Secondary School Ikot Ayan.Ikot Abasi Zone,Ukpom Okon Comprehensive Secondary School Okon Town, Ikot Abasi. Ikot Ekpene Zone, State College Ikot Ekpene. Oron Zone,Methodist Boys High School Oron, and Uyo Zone, Comprehensive Secondary School Four Towns.
This year was particularly daunting as Abak took the venue to Ikot Esop, a town bordering Aba in Abia State.
In the company of my colleagues Justice Udo-Usoro, Elder Andy Akpan and FIFA Referees advisor Linus Mba who decided to stay over after the ill fated Nigeria-South Africa match, we set out to touch the zones.
What a pleasant experience. Unlike years of yore we covered all the venues effortlessly, thanks to a network of very good roads linking the various local governments of the state, hundreds and hundreds of kilometers that have so opened up the state that indigenes now prefer to live in their local governments of origin and just drive to Uyo and other big cities to work.
“ It is unfortunate the Constitution limits governors to only a two term tenure. Governor Akpabio should have been allowed to continue” Mr Mba said, impressed with the infrastructural development that has turned the state into the Nation’s favoured destination.
We went into a debate, of the danger of the constitution being extended to stagnate those who do not have anything to offer their people. We then concluded that the best option in the circumstance is to ensure that one’s successor will be able to continue where he stopped.
A traditional ruler in Uyo is reported to have told Governor Akpabio that history will be unkind to him if he does not facilitate the election of a Governor who will guarantee and build on the good works and foundation he has laid.
In comes Mr Udom Gabriel Emmanuel. After His Excellency, Governor Akpabio, had spent the early part of his reign fighting numerous litigations, he finally settled down to institute what is now popularly known and referred to as “Uncommon transformation”.
Yes, this is not the forum to mention the completion of an international airport that has four airlines struggling for operational schedule, an e.library, one of its kind in Sub Saharan Africa, an international stadium, one of the best in Africa, solid flyovers and a network of quality roads of top engineering quality executed by the legendary German Construction Company Julius Berger etc.
Governor Akpabio’s time is up. He can do no more. He has to hand over and he believes Mr Gabriel Udom, banker extraordinaire can better further his cause. Those who believe Mr Udom cannot because “…he is not a politician” maybe right . I doubt whether he is. I know him to be a thorough bred professional, one with over twenty five years in the top management cadre of blue chip companies and corporations.
Just the man Akwa Ibom needs at this period of her delicate development. After Akpabio had opened up the state to investors, all Udom has to do is to focus on industralisation and the development of human capital and capacity. Who else than a man who is considered one of the best brains in the prudent management of resources, a banker of high repute who understands better the politics of development and emancipation?
With a back ground that transcends the banking and financial industry, Gabriel Udom is said to be “….a man of figures who will govern with specific statistics”
With a BA in accounting from the University of Lagos, MA in Corporate Governance from Leeds Metropiltan University, Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants, Fellow Institute of Financial management, Director African Finance Corporation, Director Zenith Bank UK, Gambia and Sierra Leone, Director Zenith Pensions and Securities Trustees Registrars etc Udom Emmanuel is a gem in a country where political office holders hide under the phantom of school certificates acquisition.
At the town hall meeting held by the Akwa Ibom Community in Lagos ( AKISCOM) early this month, it was heart warming hearing Udom talk passionately about his plans for the state. He vowed to create employment opportunities and a sustainable development programme that will enhance quality. He thanked his predecessor in office for instituting a “skyscraper foundation” and that it will take a capable hand to build a skyscraper on the foundation so laid.
Development and industralisation he said are driven by three main vehicles: water, air and road. The last two have been guaranteed. The third he said is at execution stage, as the first transshipment Deep Sea Port in West Africa will be delivered by him.
The applause that followed his every interjection left no one in doubt, that he will deliver. Udom is believed to be right. Emmanuel (God remains with us ) After His will had been done.