There is no joy in Akwa Ibom at the moment, owing to the devastating happenstances that have befallen the land. Akwa Ibom is presently in a serious state of coma and divine must ‘look down’ on her, if the consequences of today’s realities must not stand. Divine Mandate could not have brought Divine Judgement on a people named after God, such that their RULER becomes their own PROPHET OF DOOM. For how long shall a people whose hope had blossomed in the past be twisted out of shape by the presence of a TERRIBLE BEAUTY?
A look into a fragile article which is a rejoinder to an enquiry made against government programme attests that the sense of patriotism and probity has completely dried up in the brains of some floating humans in the state. It unfortunately shows, also, that clear sense of reasoning has abandoned some persons, leaving them with nothing better than a fractured capacity to think. A piece entitled RE: N1.7B LOAN FOR CCTV CAMERAS: A TAKE FOR PRIORITY: FRANKLYN ISONG’S NAKED DANCE IN THE MARKET is already trending in the media. This and the rest have betrayed the sensibilities of right thinking persons in Akwa Ibom society.
The article is supposed to have addressed issues raised in Franklyn Isong’s enquiry on the recently approved N1.7 billion loan for the state government. Apparently lacking in idea and being in want of cogent reason to tackle the facts contained in the article, the supposed rejoinder wonders in the wilderness of rationality, pumping insults and abuses on the writer.
For the avoidance of doubts, Franklyn Isong is a journalist and a public affairs analyst. He is a publisher and a human rights ambassador. In his well drafted piece, Isong raised very sensitive issues that a responsible government should rather address. He admitted that CCTV is a lofty idea, as far as the need to tackle criminality is concerned. But he expressed worries that, as a matter of fact, the project was not so important as to attract the urgency of borrowing by the government. He noted that the state is highly publicised as being peaceful, especially in the present administration and that having concluded a major ‘crisis ridden’ activity like the general election, it should not be so important for the state to start borrowing money for such purpose.
Franklyn Isong took time to ask how possible the CCTV will work in Uyo metropolis, when major roads in the city are suffering deficiency in street lighting. He asked why a government which cannot fix street lights can be trusted for proposing to capture activities around the area in cameras. The analyst raised questions on what the Akwa Ibom State government was doing with the huge monthly allocations, internally generated revenue of the state, as well as the 58 billion naira returned recently by the Buhari administration as refunds for federal government projects done by the Godswill Akpabio’s leadership in the state. He submitted that it was wrong for such hurried borrowing to have been undertaken by government for a project which was ‘apparently’ not a priority.
Sadly, the rejoinder obviously written by a paid agent of government, committed serious fallacies by unskillfully evading the substance of Franklyn Isong’s discourse. The article which bears no writer’s name, because of the writer’s knowledge of his derailment wrongfully stated that Franklyn Isong had refused to accept that mounting CCTV in Uyo was important. All the article could achieve was accusing Franklyn of biased disposition, insincerity, partisanship and seeking attention. The rejoinder forgot to state why it was so important that a government known to be among the richest in the country was seeking a loan of N1.7 billion to undertake a project just after two days of spending so much money for election.
Meanwhile this writer was the first to condemn the loan approval. In an article entitled ‘Udom’s early N1b loan, are we safe?’, I pondered on the ugly situation of vote buying that may have crumbled the state financially. I cited issues of nonpayment of salary arrears of civil servants for nealy four years. I recalled the anguish of poor people who retired from active service without receiving their entitlements. I reasoned that, “If Akwa Ibom State government was borrowing as little as N1 billion just two days after so much money was wasted on vote buying, it was apparent that the state is as empty as a hall. I concluded that such borrowing which was done few days to the monthly allocation from the federation account was a clear case of empty treasury for Akwa Ibom people. Yet, instead of getting like minds who should be curious to ask similar questions, I had slings of mud from all corners. Name callings, abuses and all what not, were my punishments for daring to question a government which was imposed on Akwa Ibom people on the plank of INTEGRITY.
Situations of this nature can only propel one into a place of solitude to clearly figure out what could be responsible for the delusion of a people. It is in such moment of pensive reflection that yours truly recalled the PROPHETIC declaration of Governor Udom Emmanuel about the very people he rules over. I got it clearly in the voice of that Solitary Reaper whose intercourse with the music gave him a fulfilling company to execute his task. As the peot could not forget the melodies of the solitary reaper’s music, so was the voice of my governor played in my mind. And guess what, I heard him say, AKWA IBOM PEOPLE ARE ILLUTRATES.
The statement was made by Governor Udom Emmanuel while having his first live radio interview on Planet Radio. This was in the year 2016 and the unfortunate statement dominated media discourse at the time. Many had condemned the Governor for such an unrestrained utterance against his people. Some were even bold enough to demand that the Governor should tender an unreserved public apology to Akwa Ibom people. But as usual of our dear governor, the apology never came. Reflecting further, one sees some semblance of truth in the pronouncement by the Governor that his people were illiterate. Of how this illiterates may have given him the mandate of a governor in 2015 and the return ticket in 2019 is a subject for another day. But truly speaking, a people who refuse to think straight, simply because of the immediate benefits they get from Governor Udom Emmanuel are truly those he foresaw as illiterates.
Both young and old, who rather choose to engage in unholy romance with government are the illiterates. The people who refuse to say the truth are the illiterates. Those who do everything to stop others from saying the truth are the illiterates. They leave the subject of discussion and reign spurious scorn on those who start a conversation. They deride even their brothers and sisters for identifying with the truth. They think themselves lucky to have a tie with injustice. Curiosity can only remind us that instead of improvement, the education sector has collapsed in the hands of a Governor who called his people illiterates. Public schools have completely lost touch with current realities. We drop in WEAC and the rest. Our heads have refused to think straight, simply because our Governor called us illiterates and we offer to act the script. We have derailed and the reasoning standard of some Akwa Ibom people is greatly fallen. This can only be the huge harvest of derailment arising from the prophecy that WE ARE ILLITERATES. Isn’t our Governor among the prophets? After all, a man with a huge anointing of a Deacon should share the unction of a prophet.
Joseph Atainyang is a journalist and public affairs commentator.