TOP 20 PROBLEMS WITH BEING AKWA IBOM’S NEXT GOVERNOR
Maybe this is a letter to whosoever aspires to govern Akwa Ibom state next. But it may not make sense to you the 3rd party reader until you’ve been to Akwa Ibom state of late, and you saw the place couple of years back. Especially if you’ve also seen other states in Nigeria – in the last, say, 20 years.
And then if you consider that Nigeria’s politicians represent the most selfless-less of our fraudulent sub-community, you will easily appreciate that there are problems with becoming governor over a people who are becoming acquainted with visible (palpable, see-able, feel-able) development. These days, on visiting some cities in Nigeria, you want to run back to Uyo – that’s more of a confession to me than a testimony. And, yes, that’s what Akwa Ibomites are feeling like right now.
If your greed, as aspiring governor, is worse than feared, these problems will mostly likely become curses for your diet. That’s why I changed the title from “Top 19 Curses…” to what it is – the possibility of you getting it right. While I’ve personally had no direct benefits from the state government since the Military handed over, I can’t deny enjoying the sight and the news of Akwa Ibom’s makeover; which makes this write-up pro-Akwa Ibom and not pro-anybody in particular.
- You’ll have to continue paying the school fees of poor Akwa Ibom school children.
The administration of Akpabio has successfully introduced and funded free education for Akwa Ibom kids schooling in public schools. One may argue over the quality of Education those kids receive or the effectiveness of implementation of the policy, but truth is that kids are going to public schools for free in Akwa Ibom. Not good enough? Well, you’ll know when (if) you get there.
- You’ll have to maintain the AKS image and enhance it further in the perception of majority tribes
The present governor and his immediate predecessor have shown Nigeria what Akwa Ibom could do. The former led campaigns for Resource control going against the fury of giant ‘opposers’ of the concept – what others shied away from; the present has practically dismantled that disgusting “Calabar” tag that uneducated majority tribes foolishly gave to hardworking Akwa Ibom born who live and work among them. That tag meant that the Akwa Ibom person had neither a distinct nor respectable identity to majority tribes. [Meanwhile, ‘Calabar + Uyo’ > their best cities (in many aspects)]. Any governor who does not recognize this inter-tribal predicament would be a failure. It’s not completely solved, but there’s progress that must be sustained.
- Keeping AKS in the news for positive events
Several states in Nigeria are in the news for political, religious, environmental, financial, cultural or social crises – Akwa Ibom has been in the news more for good than for evil. Governorship aspirants should consider that the Akwa Ibom people have had their fair share of fame for shame in the past. If you can’t reverse things, go back home.
- An excellent relationship with the federal government in order to secure goodwill for state initiated projects.
“She stoops to conquer” works in Britain too. There’s no way you can get the centre to favour you if you won’t work at it. And I don’t mean doing dirty deals or whatever – even though, you should get your gloves ready ‘cause there will be dirty deals. What I believe in more than Amaechi’s style of opposition is Akpabio’s style of persuasion. Which one has worked? Amaechi’s? Visit Port Harcourt.
- Must harmonise with the police or else...
If you leave our friends in the uniform to themselves, they’ll more likely become less preferred to enemies in the neighbourhood. I understand that both the NPF and Nigeria directly share the same oga-at-the-top; which makes it menial labour to get them to do their theoretical job of ‘protecting the obodo along with the eze-obodo’, for “who are you to ‘interfere’?” So, getting them to not see your interest in state security as ‘interfering’ could be the equivalent of menial labour. Study current affairs. But if you can’t work with the police, or other like agencies run from above, the Akwa Ibom environment, as it is today, will be distorted; it’s a guarantee.
- You’ll have to maintain and increase funding for the green brigade so that the state doesn’t become a filthy, untidy place.
When in Akwa Ibom, Uyo mostly, I drive at all possible hours of God’s day. And I’m not about to accept some caution for moving at night – for in no time have I run into those fears that come to mind immediately and it doesn’t look like things may change for bad. It’s so calm, peaceful and so unassuming that even the po-po doze off in their vans. What I see mostly is the Green Brigade at work cleaning the city all night; and I think it’s beautiful to meet clean roads every morning. These guys must never lose their jobs.
- You MUST approve funds for the completion of mega projects already begun by past administrations.
MUST remains emphasized; nobody wants to hear crap concerning the Tropicana project, the Industrial area or whatever mega project you hope to put a stop to that you didn’t initiate. If there’s something wrong with them, say it now and say it loud. As it is, the people see prospects in those projects; if there’s something they don’t know, SAY IT NOW and SAY IT LOUD, I repeat. Otherwise, when you get there (if you do), surprise our witches and complete those projects. If you get there and you don’t, you’d be portraying the under-development that your inside is.
- You’ll have to prohibit the Nigerian culture of poor infrastructure maintenance.
Imagine the Akwa Ibom stadium handed over to the federal department or agency in charge of maintaining post-Nigeria ‘99 National stadium – the one at Surulere, opposite Teslim Balogun. Even the blind are horrified at what has become of that sports-facility. That place exemplifies an appalling culture of facility mismanagement in this country, and if you listen to some brain-dated critics in AKS, you’ll hear them make promises about those new infrastructures going the way of other Nigerian structures. So, even though the situation is not as bad as it used to be, what you have is an on-going battle.
- If you bring back the long forgotten transgression of owing civil servants…if you dare!
While you have to open up AKS for industrialization, you have to appreciate the fact that our people are affectionately attached to their civil service jobs. Akwa Ibom is predominantly a civil service state – the kind where workers calculate their allowances for the next month while receiving the present months. For some time you haven’t heard that civil servants were being owed in AKS – at least not like it used to be. Now, they’re looking all dignified and are faring better, even encouraging their fresh graduate kids to ‘apply for government work’. If some new governor restarts that error of playing down on their salaries, his family will hold him responsible for whatever ensues.
- You’ll be under pressure to wipe out keke from Uyo without having an appropriate or better solution to transportation in the state.
Nobody enjoys keke in any city; even the riders don’t. But that tricycle has eliminated robbery on motorbikes, a phenomenon that was just about to settle in in AKS. Amongst other successes, the introduction of the keke nipped the bike robbery strategy in the bud, but it has cost much in terms of traffic congestion. Impatient drivers, of which I’m sadly one, particularly don’t find the keke funny. The more impatient ones are going to be in the corridors or around passages that lead to the corridors of your government. And they will want the keke out of Uyo. The proper thing to do will have to be…you’ll have to figure out. But if the keke must leave the city, there must be a better plan to ease traffic in the city while not bringing back whatever the keke kicked out.
- Do you even know what next after the popular construction of pre-industrialization road network?
Everyone is shouting “Industrialization”. That comes naturally to every educated Akwa Ibom mind, even if it ended with Social Studies. But how are you going to approach it? That’s where the next governor will have some hard nut to crack.
- Will you keep quiet over child rights abuses?
It hasn’t been clear to many people the definition of Child Abuse in Akwa Ibom state in the last few years. We have to understand that that concept manifests in the funniest and most cunning manners. For a case in point, AKS kids still hawk along the streets and then fall asleep at plaza only to wake up by 11pm and start begging adults with the excuse that they’ve misplaced cash. Some of those kids live with non-relatives who allow them go to school by day in order to play with existing child’s rights laws. What I mean is, there are no strict-enough laws and no ethics in the fight against child abuse in this country. The present AKS government have done their fight to the level they either could or would. The destiny of those kids will be watching the next administration.
- If you resurrect kidnapping, you’ll be the scape goat.
And we mean that in Jesus’ name. And you’ll be surprised how many ex-kidnappers will say ‘Amen’ when they read this; not to mention how many ex-victims. Actually, this is coming after thousands of curses were placed on the soil of AKS by angry victims, sympathizers of victims and fathers (from Christian to cultural) of the land. The next governor has those pronouncements to deal with if he ever imagines giving room to kidnapping. And just in case he wants to reason scientifically, he should please ask informed AKS residents if curses work or not.
- How about constructing many more roads?
How many roads have Akpabio not constructed? How many have not been repaired? How many should be created? If you add the results all up, you’ll have thousands of kilometers more than what the man has achieved in the aspect of road infrastructure. Yet he has done so much already. Wherever people acknowledge his administration’s strides in the country, they usually mention ‘roads’ with the same breath.
- Give us the drainage system project.
Roads have been constructed and the landscape has been tampered with; which has further strengthened a problem of flooding. But you see, it is never as horrible when it floods at the uplands as it usually is at the coasts and at sea level. Should someone’s administration not solve that problem as an example to Lagos, Port Harcourt, Warri etc? A smart governor would. And there’s a pathfinder drainage project on ground – we’ve seen the photos – which means that the job should be easier now.
- You’ll have to award contracts; but without following up to ensure execution, you’ll be an early failure.
There was an administration not long ago that spent their first tenure awarding contracts to thieving indigenes in the name of empowering the Akwa Ibom man. The contractors embarrassed the government immensely – by not doing the job and not running away with the cash either. They courageously ‘chopped’ the contract mobilization cash and then went back to collect what was owed them. Many of them did the contracts haphazardly handing over shoddy projects that wilted away as soon as they were commissioned. You mustn’t make that mistake; the present government didn’t condone it, to the best of our knowledge.
- There’s an unspoken league of states; position AkS at the head
If you watched the opening of the Akwa Ibom stadium, you’ll confirm that no other state governor showed up. (Or was there? He must have hid somewhere). Intimidation is the explanation. Place Akwa Ibom where we truly should be – at the head of a disoriented league of states, so we can show Nigerians a muted documentary of what to expect from leadership.
- There is a trend of non-indigenes relocating to Akwa Ibom.
Yearly, thousand members of our multiple ethnic groups are on the move for greener pastures – and this is literal for our nomadic northern fellows. But as things haven’t been as peaceful in Nigeria of late, our people are looking for safer pastures. This is what Akwa Ibom has offered Nigerians of late.
- To do: 24 hour water if not 24 hour power.
Why can’t we have 24 hour electricity? Ask the Federal? Ask Prof why the IPPs in Rivers state, Akwa Ibom and others are either not producing to full capacity or are not supplying the national grid like we had heard they (the federal) wanted the plants to. But you can expect the answer to be some time in coming – we, in faith, are actually waiting for that answer – which puts you in position to strengthen focus on some other crucial amenity; focus on water. If the people can’t have 24-hour light immediately, give them 24-hour water. And make it potable, affordable and accessible; let it flow in their bedrooms if they so desire.
- Time to get new-look public schools.
At present, what we have back there are the commonest Western media images of sub-Saharan African schools. And that’s an upgrade from what our “leaders of tomorrow” were studying in. It’s time we made our public schools look as cool as school should be.
Leading a state like Akwa Ibom shouldn’t be any more difficult than leading your family; all you need do is enlarge your capacity. Basically, if you are faithful in little, you should be faithful in much – faithful in the sense of what people say about your leadership against what people know about your leadership. The secret to success is in this piece of advice: don’t just be a governorship aspirant; think of being an aspiring governor after (if) you win.