8 Promotive Lessons From Mr. Udom Emmanuel’s Address At AKISAN 2015 Philadelphia Convention

      1. He’s a Team playing Leader

Team-playing leaders are indispensable from the top echelon of management to the bottom of organizational operations, and in political leadership - for their abilities to establish networks of partners with single focus. World renowned Leadership trainer, John Maxwell teaches that “…leaders work with people”. This is why model leaders use the team-word ‘We’ in place of the self-term ‘I’. And all through the Governor’s address, every phrase that talks of responsibility and credit is led by the word ‘We’. In other words, on the one hand, he creates room for all to participate in the task of advancing Akwa Ibom, and on the other, he attributes his successes to ‘us’ and not ‘me’.

 2. He’s a Man of Strong Memories

A high profile politician in Nigeria recently showed some poverty of memory; he forgot his running mate’s name. And the media feasted on him for it; understandably so.  

Dr Tracy Alloway, from the University of Stirling, Scotland, discovered, in a study she carried out on 1,200 people within the age category of contemporary leaders, …that people who have a high working memory tend to be more optimistic, more hopeful about life, more confident that they can cope with problems and adjust to situations” And the governor’s speech is replete with amazing references to events you could easily forget, but which shows, 1. The things that matter to the man; 2. His impressive grade of mnemonic capacities; and 3. His leadership competence. Alloway also found that; People with a poor working memory tended to be more brooding and to spend more time fixated on problems when they arose in their life”. Nigeria, as we know it today, needs the quicker leaders than the later.

3. He’s Committed to Political Inclusion 

Every speech the Governor has made since he decided to throw his hat into the guber ring, has maintained the refrain of Political inclusion along with other keywords that have come to mark his brand. And in Philadelphia, he repeated this refrain to the Akwa Ibom community once more. In Public Relations, it is believed that if you keep sounding a thought to a person’s hearing, you get them to accept it. The astute professional he is known to be all over Nigeria, it is apparent that the Governor doesn’t just believe in political inclusion, he wants Akwa Ibom to become known for it – for a concept that Nigeria has struggled with since colonial days.

 4. Togetherness Is Everything

How do you know a man who values unity? He uses the words ‘unity’, ‘together’, ‘us’, ‘our’ in his public addresses. Governor Udom Emmanuel went further to demonstrate just how crucial this concept is to his administration by using these words a whopping 58 times in his Philadelphia speech. He used those 4 words to a minimum total of 58 times. Togetherness is everything to the Governor; and Akwa Ibom is lucky.

 5.  Governor of Both The Left & The Right Wing

It was Africa’s (arguably) greatest leader, Nelson Mandela, who said “If you want to make peace with your enemy, you have to work with your enemy. Then he becomes your partner”. Now, here’s what Mr. Udom said about working with both supporters and opposers;
“Quite a number of you traveled to Nigeria to participate in the exercise and to show total fidelity to our cause. I remain eternally indebted. I know there are some among you here who did not support us, but as you guys say it here (in the US) “that’s the nature of the beast”.  Let us eschew zero-sum game approach… the real job of governance has started. I am not standing here just as a PDP Governor of Akwa Ibom state, but as a Governor for all Akwa Ibomites, irrespective of their political affiliations.”
This address is truly a case study for Nigeria’s and Africa’s leaders. We would have fared a lot better if our leaders had this mindset.

  6.   How To Hit The Ground Running
The Etymology of the idiom ‘Hitting the ground running’ points at troops being dropped onto a combat zone. And the task of developing Nigeria is one that must be approached with combat mentality. There really is no time to frolic about. And Mr. Udom is one of [less than a handful of] Nigeria’s leaders who hit the ground running. He approached his elections with industrialization written all over his brand; and then he went to work moments after being sworn in, revisiting Akwa Ibom’s moribund factories, setting up committees and even laying foundation for a mega auto industry; like he is in a hurry to see Akwa Ibom people wearing helmets all over her streets. In his Philadelphia speech, he said; “We came prepared to work”.

Operation Industry

  Akwa Ibom has been ripe for industries since the geographical region that we were created out of was discovered. A land blessed with abundant natural resources, a habitat with an auspicious climate-gift, inherently hardworking and creative indigenes and enviable logistic advantage; the disappointment of being ignored by past Nigerian administrations is best left in the past. The man, Udom Emmanuel, who promised us industrialization has already begun to fulfill his promise – and with fire in his belly.

8.  The Role of the Diaspora

Mr. Udom is a man who has done his research homework and understands the role of the Diaspora in developing homelands. The term ‘Diaspora’ literally refers to the community of Jews living all over the world, outside of Israel. This community have, throughout history, shown loyalty to the cause of the Jewish nation. They travel round the world, carrying their culture, values, mores and pride along; they develop the places of their sojourn – as the Bible records; and they never forget their homes. One of their fathers prayed; “If I forget Jerusalem, may I lose my creativity”. This concept has brought about not just the survival of their nation, but also mind-blowing prosperity to their land. And lots of other nations have adopted the model to help develop their countries. Mr. Udom successfully enlightened the Akwa Ibom community out there on their role in Akwa Ibom’s vision for industrialization, empowerment and development, making a strong emotional appeal to people who did not know what to expect as at when they assembled at the event – he had them on their feet as his speech ended with; 

“…the seeds we have indeed planted in this fertile American soil will bear fruits in Africa, and the world shall pick them from Akwa Ibom State in Nigeria.”

Uduak Umo