SUSTAINING AKWA IBOM’S PEACE PROJECT: AN EVOLUTION FOR ALL PROGRESSIVES

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Gov. Udom Emmanuel

By Edet Okpo

With the successful launch and inauguration in not fewer than 12 Local Government Chapters in the State, the Maintain Peace Movement, another adorable brainchild of Governor Udom Emmanuel’s socio-political paternity, already manifested unmistakable signs of greater things to come.

Of course, contrary to misplaced factional cynicism or distorted views of the gullible, the altruistic movement is not for the Governor as some may have misconstrued, but for the entire Akwa Ibom people, their present and future, in the context of the Governor’s good governance template and populist political philosophy.

It therefore becomes expedient, to the best of my knowledge of the vision and mission of the Movement, to quickly observe that, it was not launched as if there was any threat to peace in the State, but to consolidate the gains already secured in the area of security, growth and industrial development in Akwa Ibom State.

In that clear light, you cannot be wrong to see the Maintain Peace Movement as an all-inclusive, people-oriented and integrated grassroots mobilization vehicle, geared towards preparing the State for greater successes and a future concreted on peace, unity of purpose, security and economic sustenance – all of which are essentially tied to growth and development at individual and corporate levels, with the government playing the catalyst.

As many have observed, I join without any reservations, the general consensus amongst free-minded and patriotic Akwa Ibom people that Maintain Peace Movement is birthed at the best of times, a time when a strategic leader and administrator of indisputable credential is firmly in the cockpit, to cruise the people to desired destinations.

Indeed, this ingenious innovation by His Excellency, Governor Udom Emmanuel, cannot surprise any keen follower and objective analyst of his policies that are always built around the people, for the people, and for their specific and diverse needs.

Maintain Peace Movement easily brings to mind that timeless postulation by the highly celebrated American Pastor and mentor, John C. Maxwell, author of The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership, that “a leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way”.

In the past six years, the Governor has lived this creed and exponentially proven that with a leader of his ilk, the people have no reason to entertain any fear about where to go even in the stormiest moments.

Seeing the people as the centrepiece of his administration, Governor Emmanuel has demonstrated in words and deeds that his greatest strength is derivable from the people as democracy demands, and he never for once has taken that verity for granted.

As expected in a free-thinking society like ours, made even freer by a Governor who cares little or nothing about contrived negativism and scepticism of the fifth columnist, some have since begun attaching disparaging meanings and trading ulterior motives to the unsuspecting public about the objectives of Maintain Peace Movement.

But common sense and sound logic should have guided them otherwise. If nothing was to be understood from this open-face initiative, I think its name alone needs no explications even to a kindergarten. For years running, local and international organizations in periodic statistics have adjudged Akwa Ibom as one of the most peaceful states in Nigeria and unarguably the most peaceful in the geo-political zone. This has never been contested.

Sociologists and political scientists have always found strong correlation between leadership and prevalent socio-political conditions in any given political space. In other words, a good leadership naturally begets and engenders peaceful coexistence and solidarity from the masses for the leadership.

Emphatically, sociologists argue that there hardly can be peace, growth and development in any atmosphere of rancour and unguaranteed security. It is therefore safe to conclude that the unprecedented massive successes recorded by the Udom-led administration in all critical areas of assessment could not have been possible if he has not, as a matter of necessity and practicable policy, given the populace ample reasons to be naturally attracted to him as a leader.

For the benefit of the doubt, we have seen the governor’s signature and policy statement in industrialization, infrastructure, agriculture, education, aviation, manpower-development and all-inclusive diplomacy that has afforded the people uncensored liberty to air their opinions on issues, without any intimidation. This in turn, incidentally, has become a feedback mechanism that influences government’s approaches to matters as well as improved performance.

These need to be sustained beyond the present to the future even as the administration is bound to exit in 2023. This is why and how Maintain Peace Movement becomes a necessity, a clairvoyant step towards galvanizing the people towards walking in one accord and direction even though government may change baton.

To crown it, the appointment of Barr. Emmanuel Enoidem, a dependable factor and formula in every workable idea, as the Director-General of MPM is, to say the least, another indication of how well Governor Udom Emmanuel thought of the people in relation to the success of MPM.
For the avoidance of doubt, without any intention to exaggerate, Barr. Enoidem, the National Legal Adviser of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), is widely known as “Mr. Fix It”. The likes of Rt. Hon.Princess Felicia Bassey- renowned Women Mobilizer,Grassroots political Specialist cum team player, Obong Paul Ekpo( Political Authority), Okpolupm Ette, Prince Enobong Uwah, Isantim Kenneth Archibong, Dr. Glory Edet, Prince Ikim, Hon. Frank Archibong, Rt.Hon. Aniekan Bassey, Rt. Hon. Charles Uduyork, Emmanuel Enoidem, Ini Ememobong, Pastor Umo Eno, Rt. Hon. Emmanuel Ekpenyong among other dependable actors , actresses and history makers who were Mr. Udom Emmanuel’s foot soldiers in his first and Second term elections are integrated to mainstream the peace project.

It is therefore with a sense of objectivity and patriotic support to state-building and the good governance policy of His Excellency, Mr. Udom Emmanuel, that I see the Peace Sustenance Movement as a necessity in times like this. All therefore should support the model, because in the words of a French poet, novelist and dramatist, Victor Hugo, “No army so powerful in the world can stop an idea whose time has come”.

It therefore can be no coincidence that Maintain Peace Movement is driven by “That Same God”.

*Edet Okpo, a Journalist and Public Affairs Analyst writes from Uyo- Akwa Ibom State*

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