By Ekerete Udoh
In your column of February 14, 2016 entitled “Devaluations and its Discontents” and in your ‘Four Things… section with the caption “Church and State” you stated that “something revolted in me when I saw the gathering of PDP supporters at the Uyo Stadium last Wednesday to celebrate the victory of Governor Udom Emmanuel, in his election litigation”. You went on to say that you found it “very objectionable the way politicians hide behind God to waste scarce resources” and that Governor Emmanuel can “simply kneel down in his bedroom and thank God rather than hold a politically-charged service” and you termed the event “wasteful”.
First and foremost, I don’t think you have the right to suggest to Governor Udom Emmanuel how he should proceed to give thanks to God over a consequential moment that occurred in his life. It amounts to gratuitous insult to suggest such. Governor Udom Emmanuel has the right and spiritual latitude to praise God in any manner he deemed fit or to gather faithful to praise God for what He did for him, the good people of Akwa Ibom State and for the deepening of our democratic ethos, values and tradition.
The Supreme Court decision that affirmed the mandate the good people of Akwa Ibom State had given him, last April 11, helped restore confidence and strengthened our democratic norms; this was a great moment for our democracy and as a man of deep Christian faith and masculinity, Governor Emmanuel felt he needed to give thanks to God in a decidedly expressive and expansive manner. His motivation for doing such should not be questioned or be put through unnecessary layers of scrutiny.
Secondly, Simon, you are known to be dispassionate and thoughtful in your columns, but you allowed that element to take flight by making baseless and unfounded assertions. You termed the thanksgiving service “wasteful”.
How did you come to such conclusions? Do you have facts and figures on how much the event cost? The State Government did not have to expend huge amounts of money to host the event- it was a victory of the good people of the state over the forces of darkness, it was triumph of equity, justice and fairness over the drip-drip claptrap of satanic propaganda, vile rhetoric and of evil designs and once the mandate was affirmed, the people of Akwa Ibom State rose in unison and turned up in their thousands to thank God.
They came out of their own free will and volition. Our brother Governors from the South-east and South-south, who were also in the crosshairs of the most vile and morally objectionable political machinations and blackmail by the other side of the political divide turned up in solidarity to join in thanking God for His intervention through the sound judgment of the Supreme Court. The same joyous mood was evident in the erudite and fearless Governor of Ekiti State, His Excellency. Ayo Fayose.
Where then is the ‘wasteful’ part as you stated in your right up? Was the optics of thousands of people singing and praising God for His manifest love and blessings something that ‘revolted you’? If that was your contention, then we can’t help you there. Akwa Ibom State is the only state that is named after God, our people are deeply religious, and we sometimes wear our Christian values on our sleeves as badges of honour and let me make a pledge here : we will continue to hoist our Christian bonafides for the next four years, and by His grace another four years. So my brother Simon, brace yourself, for you will be severely ‘revolted’ by more of such events in the coming years.
•Udoh is the chief press secretary and senior special assistant, media to Governor Udom Emmanuel