Listening to a song titled: “bring it on” by a famous Nigerian Hip Hop dual, P-Spare, I reminisce few great Akwa Ibom persons who rose from the clutches of nothingness to become one of the most celebrated in Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria and the world today.
Godswill Akpabio was at a very tender age disadvantaged by circumstance he could not control. He lost his father who happened to be the bread winner of the family. His intention of attaining quality educated was almost thwarted. Though, he would hide in the bush when his age mates go to school because he could not pay his school fees like others, but he kept his hope burning.
Placed on a podium of hopelessness where he had beautiful excuse to furnish for failures in life, Godswill did not lose hope. He moved on with the zeal of a lion on a journey to greatness. He completed his elementary education and was resilience in his desire to become useful in life even in a disadvantaged position.
To Akpabio, his desire in life is limitless. This prompted him to tell people earlier in life that he would become the governor of his state one day. In one of such promptings, his friend had retorted back at him: “How can you become a governor when you are from a minority?” Though what Godswill’s friend could see then was a huge obstacle called minority, but to Godswill, dakkada was has no limitation because being a governor was not a function of tribe or location but one’s ability to believe in one’ self and overcome the burden of impossibility.
Godswill Akpabio later became a governor for eight years and is currently a senator of the federal republic of Nigeria and the Minority Leader of the country’s opposition party, the PDP.
Ufot Ebong was almost caught by the scourge of juvenile delinquency after his elementary education. As he while his time waiting for admission into university and in the ambience of idleness, a childhood friend suggested to him that they should break into a government facility in Calabar and “obtain” chemicals which can be sold for a good price at the black market. On the scheduled day, and with the help of his elder brother, Uffot declined joining his friend on that evil trip and vouch to work harder as well as wait for his admission into the university. The friend who made the trip was caught and never got out of the matter alive.
Mr. Uffot Ebong went on to complete his university programme, worked and held several executive positions in shell petroleum for more than seventeen years and has travelled to more than twenty-nine countries of the world. Today he has been appointed by the State governor, Mr. Udom Emmanuel to contribute his wealth of experience as the Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Technical Matters / Due Process.
Godwin Ntuk Udeh was into carpentry business. He only mustered the courage to obtain an Ordinary National Diploma, OND, from the Polytechnic Calabar, in the late eighties. Godwin refused to be limited to his flourishing furnishing business. He saw a space of greatness inside him. Even when he had updated and digitalized his furnishing business and was making millions of naira from the business which was way beyond a decent means of livelihood, people call him a carpenter. Godwin refused to be limited to the name “carpenter”. He knew the route to success did not only lie in the accumulation of wealth but also of sound education.
Godwin enrolled for a degree programme at the University of Calabar in 2002 and upon graduation in 2005, applied for masters (M.Sc) in Policy and Administrative Studies. Today, Ntuk Udeh is not only a proactive Commissioner of Transport in the Akwa Ibom State Executive Council; he is also a holder of a Doctorate Degree, Ph.D in Public Administration.
Sampson Akpan aka “Politics Today” lost his father who was the bread winner of their family at the age of six. He had no one to sponsor his elementary education. He did not give up hope of being educated. When every means seems deem, he decided to work as a houseboy in order to earn money and pay for his school fees. He did not join bad company who obtains money illegally from innocent people because he had to pay his school fees. He did not steal neither did he constitute himself as a nuisance or a political thug. He worked hard sweeping and running errant for families because he knew doing that were temporary gesture to bring him out of the woods.
Today, Sampson Akpan owns a degree, has been a fine and successful broadcaster and is currently a Special Assistant to the Governor of Akwa Ibom State.
Onofiok Luke was a Student Union leader. As a budding law undergraduate, his bloodline was filled with the “Aluta Spirit”. He galvanized students to stand for their rights. He opposed some policies of the school management and in the course of his avowed role as a student leader; the school suspended him from studies almost at the end of his school year. He sulked. Many friends deserted him. Many of the staudents he led graduated while he was at home. Some got jobs while he remained as an undergraduate.
Luke did not allow the decision of the university’s Vice Chancellor affect his composure and target in life. He did not grudgingly abandon the study. He protested, waited, continued reading and got back to school to complete his programme. Today, Luke is a barrister, a former Personal Assistant to the Akwa Ibom State Governor and a current two-time Member of the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly who almost became the number three citizen of the State.
There is only one peculiar thing about all the above mentioned cases: “the I can do spirit”. That is what the Udom Emmanuel administration calls dakkada, today. Dakkada is not just a word. It is a spirit. Its embodiment is inscribed in oneself, one’s ability, one’s strength, one’s character and one’s reach. Dakkada, for me is the best gift this administration can offer to her citizens.
In the first 100 days in office, the Udom administration exhibited leadership of purpose. The administration showed flashes of her preparedness to empower her citizens with skills, and technical knowhow. About 100 youths were sent outside the country to acquire skills on mechanized farming, 1000 to be trained in oracle technology management, thousands to be trained to acquire skills on photography, editing, welding, tailoring, etc. These are good gesture of the Udom-led government.
However something was missing. You cannot force a horse to the river and force it to drink water. With the abundant training and skills acquisition programme lined up for youths in the state by this administration, it is foolhardy to think that empowering the youths end there. How will the youths excel in these trainings when their spirit of conviction and commitment is dampened because of prolonged neglection by the Nigerian state?
How would the youths believe that acquiring skills is not a waste of time, after studying and paying huge amount of school fees including one to three years of strike by the ASUU? How can the young struggling boy and girl in that little village at the outskirt of their local government area believe that he can make it to the top without a godfather, godmother, and political connection or cash to influence decisions to their favour?
Hence, the dakkada philosophy is to motivate one that no matter how disadvantage one is today, no matter the situation and how bleak the future seems, you can make it on your own, only if you can rise to the challenge of greatness. Dakkada is not just about rising; it’s about standing up with determination. It’s about aiming at something. It’s about setting a goal for accomplishment. Dakkada is about going back to that particular thing you once did and failed; check and re-examine to know why it failed and attempting it a second, third and if the need be, a fourth time. Dakkada is about attempting till you succeed. It’s about if Peter, Paul, Jacob, Isaiah, Michael can do it, then I can make it.
Dakkada is about saying no to failure and permanently deleted the word “impossible” in your dictionary. It’s about helping your brother in need, showing care and concern to your neighbours, relatives, friends, classmate, colleagues, employees and subordinate.
Dakkada is not blackmail, jealousy, sycophancy, pull-him-down, gossip, examination malpractice, prostitution / runs, political thuggery, human and character assassination, tribalism, political affiliation, begging for tips, doing assignments from one church to another, not aiming to become a P.A at all cost, not subjecting one’s self to little intention.
Dakkada is rising above your fears and those vices that have hindered you in the past. Dakkada is adopting the aphorism that “heaven help those who help themselves” and that no one can help you order than yourself. If you have allowed littleness to dampen your courage of conviction, it’s time to arise to the fact that, your present condition is a starting point of the greatness that is to come, if only you can rise now; it’s never too late, you can be who you want to be.
Tom FredFish is a media consultant and public policy analyst wrote in from Uyo.