Udom can be spotted easily in a sea of heads. His fair complexion and trademark smile ensures that. But it is not the colour of his skin or his friendly mien that has made him unique. The peculiarity of his personality as embedded in his strength of character, legacy of achievements and vision in public office is what has set him apart. He has etched indelible footprints on the sands of time in every endeavour he has ventured into and since emerging on the political scene has brought a refreshing touch to the game. This is a statement of fact. Yes verifiable facts as different from opinion or mere posturing.
But where is Udom’s strength of character? Before I address this question let me put the question broadly: wherein is the politician’s strength of character in a country where the political stage is seen to be fouled by the antics of the players themselves? So if the broad perception of the average Nigerian politician by the general public is swathed in mud and dubious accolades at best, where then is the strength of character being attributed to Udom who is by every means a politician? Except it is accepted that there are exceptions to the rule, this line of reasoning is permissible within the prism of the fallacy of generalization and the reflex mentality of the mob.
History has a rich number of tecnocrats and professionals who brought their experience and honesty to bear. There are also politicians who have stood out from the crowd. And it is not because they were devoid of foibles nor had careers lacking in setbacks. In the First Republic, national heroes like Chief Obafemi Awolowo, Sir Ahmadu Bello and Chief Nnamdi Azikiwe, all of blessed memories among others readily come to mind. In the Second Republic, governors like late Chief Sam Mbakwe, Chief Lateef Jakande, and late Chief Solomon Lar, among others are icons of that epoch. From the Third and Fourth Republic through contemporary times, we have had fine politicians of heroic acclaim across the length and breadth of the country. We have had those who came, saw and conquered. This is not an attempt to canonize Udom. No, never. Rather, it is an effort to open our eyes to the rising star that the former zenith bank director is and strengthen the optimism that because of politicians like him, the political space can be perceived in a positive light.
Leadership is not a tea party. For one to get into the annals of good leadership, one must have something to offer. It may not always be praise and halleluiah songs. Sometimes, the situation is grim and solemn, but a good leader makes the best of all situations whether good or bad. According to Nelson Mandela, ‘There are times when a leader must move out ahead of the flocks, confident that he is leading his people the right way. In the Bible, Moses, a crisis leader of the Israelites made a choice whether to live in comfort while his people suffered, but he rejected princely and urbane comfort to suffering as to liberate his people. Even when he meant well, the people grumbled, murmuring in high decibels, but this did not deter him. Nelson Mandela in neighboring South Africa confronted death so many times putting his live on the line. For his stoicism and zeal to liberate the suffering South African blacks; he spent 27 years in jail. Even in democratic experience, JFK, one of the American bests agrees that one of the accepted form of government is like roses always with their thorns. ‘Democracy is a difficult kind of government, and requires important qualities of self discipline and restraint, a willingness to make commitment and sacrifices for the general interest, and also it requires knowledge.’ Such cataclysmic experiences have modern parallels in Akwa Ibom State where Udom Emmanuel has offered himself to serve. He has the safe terrain of the corporate world to the risky and near lawless and conscienceless terrain of politics. Here the rules and practices are different. He had stood still like the sun under the command of Joshua. He has remained unweavered in the midst of hot blackmail and mudslinging.
How has Udom been able to cope when it is widely believed he is not a politician? Udom through the years has interacted with the political class. As their finance consultant and an investment banker, he has been in touch with Nigeria’s richest men. It is significant to note that the Awa Iman born Udom maximized the opportunity of working closely with the who is who in Nigeria while serving as a adviser and banker to this class of persons. That is why till date, he continues to retain the confidence and trust of these men who wield enormous powers and influence at one time or the other. While building enormous country-wide political contacts during this period, he also sufficiently learnt the ropes in public service on how to make it beneficial to the electorate such that when he arrived the scene on his own right as Secretary to the Akwa Ibom State Government, he did not have to grope in the dark.
Udom has a great personality. He is sympathetic, empathetic, steady, kind, assertive, integrous, proficient, efficient, competent, aggressive, experienced, intelligent, mature, humble, attentive, generous, God fearing, broken, educated, honest, trust worthy, loyal, not greedy, and modernized. These are attributes of a great leader.
Udom Emmanuel’s life and achievements have laid down the blue print or the foundation of what is to come for the people of Akwa Ibom State in the near future, but one that without a doubt, will drum Akwa Ibom State’s industrialization and massive development scheme on the center stage of global industrialization.
Udom is ready to build Akwa Ibom beyond the blue print of current infrastructural developments laid down by the visionary and transformer, Governor Godswill Akpabio, to massive urban creation and developments throughout the state. Udom cannot wait to enhance youth empowerment in Akwa Ibom State through massive Educational Training and Investment opportunities geared towards massive Job Creation, and Employments of jobless Akwa Ibom indigenes, including those in the Diasporas. AKS is ready to embrace massive Industrialization, Human Resource Development and Creation of Middle Class Economy, Healthcare Transformation through Implementation of Innovative Healthcare Delivery Systems, Building of Modern Hospitals and Modernization of Existing Infrastructures, Construction of New Urban and Rural Roads and Settlements, and the Expansion of Existing Roads and settlements, improvement of Water treatments Plants, Environmental Control and Management, and Face-lifting of dilapidated state government structures throughout the State. This is what Udom Emmanuel stands for; a man passionately waiting to take Akwa Ibom State through the 21 st Century having been challenged by his predecessor’s uncommon transformation scheme.
Udom Emmanuel, a Performer, an Achiever, a renowned and Credentialed Financial Controller and Manager, an Agent, an Apostle of Transformation and Sustainable Development, an internationally recognized Accountant and Investor, a seasoned Technocrat, one of the most sought-after in his profession worldwide, is one whose feet I may say, have best fitted the only shoe size of the Akwa Ibom State governorship office. Akwa Ibom State does not need a successor after Godswill Akpabio that would build a bungalow on the solid foundation laid by Akpabio. The eagle has soared so high and has no other choice but to perch on top of the hilltop.