For Akwa Ibom State governor, Mr. Udom Gabriel Emmanuel time is money. Once spent carelessly you can never get it back again.
This is the new culture that the man who bestrode the competitive world of corporate Nigeria like a colossus has brought to governance in Akwa Ibom. Before now many including yours sincerely had thought it was constitutional for a governor to keep his audience waiting for God knows when before he arrives.
Without any apology, I dare say the last eight years saw the worst abuse of time management by the then governor and government officials. It was a time when traditional rulers would be invited and kept in Ibom Hall from 10 am without food and water for his excellency to arrive at 5pm. Gosh! Imagine wasting 7 good hours waiting for someone for a meeting that would not last up to one hour. It was a time when the swearing in of council chairmen billed for 10 am will not take place until 8pm, it was time when keeping time was of no used. I would have loved to write this opinion without assessing the past but the more I tried, the more it resurfaces. Of course, even commissioners also learnt and copied effectively. It was not uncommon for a Commissioner to call a press conference at 10am only to surface at either 1 or 2pm for the untenable reason of attending to other state matters. Such behavior, does not only speak of someone as unorganized but it shows gross lack of respect for others.
Though Emmanuel worked under former Governor Akpabio now a Senator, one attitude he never copied from him (Akpabio) was lateness to event. Please, don’t get it twisted. It is certain that those who will rise to defend the former governor will quickly claim that since he was the PDP Governors’ Forum Chairman, he needed to work closely with the party and the former president. For that group of defenders, I make bold to say that when a certain attribute repeatedly occurs for eight years, it becomes an attitude and an attitude once formed is difficult to do away with.
Interestingly Emmanuel has formed an attitude of time
consciousness and he is gradually changing the culture of time
management in the state. Even before his assumption of office as governor, he showed in unmistakable ways that he is not only an expert in human and material resources management but also time management . For instance, I could recall on the day he was to appear on Planet 101.1 FM at 9am, to the chagrin of the presenter who was to welcome his guest, Udom as his is finely called, arrived at 8.30 am and waited, discussed, toured the facility and shared feelings of his dreams and vision for Akwa Ibom with those on hand before he was ushered in to the studio. That was not the only case. He repeated it severally as guest in NTA, AKBC, ATLANTIC FM and other times he had appeared on PLANET. The governor also shocked his guests on the day he was to inauguration his transition committee. The event which was billed for two o’clock started at the nick of time and within 25 minutes later, that event was concluded. It was such that those who had estimated the program to start about 5pm met an empty banquet hall.
Today what we have in Akwa Ibom is no longer African time but Udom time and Udom Time by all standards is the best time if we must avoid wastages and procrastination which is the thief of time. A friend once told me a story of how he missed an appointment with Udom when he was SSG. Udom, he said, had given him appointment for 8 am at the LeMeridien but by the time he got there at about 8.30, Udom was driving out. The excellent respect for time by the governor does not only show him as someone who has respect for the feelings of others, it further shows that he is someone who is well organized, knows where he is going, how he is going and when he will get to his destination. In the days of the Mtn who wants to be a millionaire, when you are calling a friend on the programme for assistance, Frank Edoho will tell you “your time starts now”. Yes, Udom’s time started on May 29, 2015. With few critical appointments that he has made, and more that will come, he knows what he is going achieved. Timeously, he has set limit for his short, medium and long term projects. For one, he has set
for himself the dateline for the realization of Ibom deep seaport
project to be 2018; he also set up a committee for the revitalization of Peacock paint with a timeline of about two weeks. Udom, within the last two weeks has also met with the traditional rulers and council chairmen to ensure they make land available for use by investors for agricultural development. I am moved to pity those who will come in as Commissioners that have not known how time conscious Udom is with no room for being lackadaisical about time. For me, Udom is a brand and one quality this brand has offered to change the African time mentality in the Akwa Ibom people is timeliness.