By Essien Udofia
MODERN theologians are quick to claim that Simon Peter almost destroyed the gospel when he took over the leadership of the Church after the ascension of Jesus Christ but were unanimous on Paul (Saul) as the one who salvaged the Church and laid the solid foundation Christianity and the Church was built upon.
This is not a religious debate, and neither my intention to start one. It is just to lay the foundation for my argument of and for the need to have a good successor who will build and improve on existing legacies and achievements and not destroy it. Many are quick to ascribe the failure or success of both men to their level of intelligence, enlightenment and background. While Peter was a fisherman, Paul was a lawyer.
In governance all over the world, who succeeds a leader matters. It guarantees continuation of governmental policies and programmes thereby creating stability in both economic and political systems of such society. The first instance I will like to cite is the Trump’s era after Barack Obama’s presidency. It was four years of policy reversals and cancellations of many trade and bilateral agreements entered on behalf of the United States of America by the Obama’s administration.
It is believed the Biden’s presidency will revert to pre-Trump era. This is not to say all actions and decisions of Trump’s administration were wrong. It gives credence to the argument of getting a successor who believes in one’s ideology(ies) especially if it is a good one.
Many Lagosians are quick to celebrate Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu for finding a worthy successor in Babatunde Raji Fashola who many claim brought sanity to Lagos. Fashola’s years as governor of Lagos State saw to the clearance of many flashpoints across the State which included Oshodi, Ajelogo, Makoko and Badiya to mention a few. Many projects and policies of previous administration were improved upon. This is another instance where the choice of successor is important in either deciding or keeping the fate of any society.
[ALSO READ] Christian Persecution in Nigeria
Lagos State is yet another instance where Akinwunmi Ambode who succeeded Babatunde Raji Fashola was believed to sideline some of the legacy projects of Fashola and Babajide Sanwo-olu is also believed to be after Ambode. In all of these, Lagosians suffered and were subjected to untold hardships due to either reversal or cancellation of many policies and projects.
To bring it closer, when Governor Emmanuel Udom took the oath of office in 2015, he promised to leverage and build on the uncommon transformation of the Governor Godswill Obot Akpabio’s administration; to transform the economy of Akwa Ibom State through industrialisation and sustained public-private sector initiative, thereby opening up opportunities for growth and improved living standards.
He promised to respect and uphold the tenets of democratic governance which the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, unflinchingly stands for, as well as respect the party’s structure, decisions and hierarchy and to ensure the security of lives and property of the people at all times, while adhering to the principle of the rule of law, thereby ensuring equity, justice and fair play. When his predecessor left the PDP for the APC, Emmanuel Udom stuck to the policies and programmes of past administrations without playing petty politics or gunning for self adulation and personal victories. This earned him commendations even from leading opposition figures with Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo leading the fray.
Efforts of Emmanuel Udom saw to the increase of gross domestic product of the state by eight percent in a five-year review. Akwa Ibom was one of the six states with the highest nominal GDP in 2017. The industrialisation revolution under the Udom-led administration is another reason why who succeeds him is imperative to the sustenance of the projects, vision and above all; selfless service to the good people of Akwa Ibom.
When I think of the largest syringe manufacturing factory in Africa with a production capacity of 400 million syringes per annum, Jubilee Syringe Manufacturing, JSM, the best and first ever digital Electric Metering Solutions manufacturing company, the Lions Plywood and Timber factory and the Ibom Air, which is the best choice for air travellers, I cannot imagine the state falling into wrong hand(s).
It is noteworthy that Akwa Ibom State has been blessed and lucky. I will humbly submit and advise the system or structure in place allow Emmanuel Udom play a role in choosing who will succeed him as his sense of judgement is proven to be for the good and in the best interest of Ibomites.
What is next for Akwa Ibom State is to build on the success story, achievements and legacies of Governor Emmanuel Udom by choosing a worthy successor.
Udofia, a civil servant, wrote from Uyo