Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Enoidem at 50: The journey so far BY JOE INIODU

Enoidem at 50: The journey so far
There is a common saying that a good child is a source of pride to the father and by extension the family, while an unruly child brings reproach to the mother. Barrister Emmanuel Moses Enoidem remains a sustained source of pride to the mother, family, community, local government area and the State. An elated mother who was all smiles confirmed this when she was asked of her wish for the son at 50. Many people spoken to within his community and outside have also expressed kind and glowing sentiments that underscore that they are proud of him.

 Born on July 27, 1964 to the family of Chief Moses Enoidem, a produce buyer from Utu-Ikot Eboro village in Etim- Ekpo LGA, Emmanuel Enoidem was one of over forty siblings. In such a large family, he needed to carve a niche of identity for himself. That he started from his primary school where he shone with outstanding brilliance. 

He completed his primary education in 1976 at Primary School, Afaha-Obo, Ukanafun LGA where he bagged a distinction. Infact it is said that he was the only person to coast home with such result that year as candidates generally performed poorly in that particular examination. His childhood friend and primary school mate, Barrister Sunday Ukanga said that such feat was not unexpected as Emmanuel Enoidem had seized the proprietary right of being first from elementary four when they met through elementary six. According to him, the position of first was Emmanuel’s fixed asset leaving him and one Benjamin to jostle for the second and third positions. Curiously, the mother said that through his Primary School, he never ate food before going to school. He had aversion for eating before going to school and was contemptuous if prodded to do so.

 He obtained his Secondary education at Northern Annang Secondary Commercial School where he also bagged Grade 1 in 1981. His extraordinary intelligence which his classmate, Barrister Chris Okorie confirmed gave him a level of fame in the School. The fame earned him an alias, Chemical, a name he acquired in Primary School and which underscored his capacity to effect change anywhere he was. The name still seems to haunt him especially if viewed against the backdrop of how he has internalized the vision of His Excellency, Chief Godswill Obot Akpabio, CON, in the lines of timely and clinical execution.

 In 1984, he gained admission to study Law in the University of Science and Technology, Port-Harcourt, Rivers State . He graduated in 1988 and proceeded to the Nigerian Law School , Victoria Island, Lagos and was called to the Bar in 1989. He started his practice stint as Legal Adviser, MAMSER, Benin city and moved on to join Victor Oviosun & Co also in Benin city . He left Benin City in 1990 for his home state and joined Dr. Aquaowo Essien and Co to continue his private legal practice. In 1992, he founded Enoidem & Associates to further his practice. Again, that same 1992, something dramatic that can only be interpreted as an act of providence happened in his life. Barrister Emmanuel Enoidem had obtained a postgraduate form from the University of Uyo to pursue a master’s degree in Law. He filled and returned the form with his credentials duly attached. When the Dean of the Faculty saw his credentials, he agreed within himself that Barrister Enoidem was a material for the academia. He sent for him and handed down an advice that was to change the course of his life for ten years. He advised him to take up the job of a graduate assistant while studying for the master’s.

 And so in November 1992, he joined the University of Uyo as Assistant Lecturer in the department of Public Law. This phase of career life which lasted for about ten-years saw him teaching courses like Contract, Labour Law, Evidence, Commercial Law, Administrative Law, Criminal Law etc. Many of the students attest to his brilliance in knowledge impartation. Barrister (Hon) Onofiok Luke, Chairman House Committee on Appropriation in the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly had this to say of him: “He was a good lecturer. He taught me criminal law. I still recall many things he taught me because of the method of impartation. His teaching technique was businesslike. With Enoidem, there was no room for what is today called “sorting” or action suggesting the taking of advantage of a female student. He exuded a high moral integrity and discipline”. The current deputy governor, Her Honour, Lady Valerie Ebe was also his taught and has often expressed kind sentiments about Enoidem, the lecturer she knew.

 It was his abiding integrity that made him to leave the job of teaching in the University. His hands were full with a job with the party, a private Law Firm and a teaching job. With a great demand on his time, he knew that at least one of them was going to suffer. And the benefit of hindsight indicated that the teaching job may be the victim. As a principled person and an adherent to high moral values, he considered not giving due concentration to the job to be morally reprehensible. He therefore had to give up the teaching job to enable him pursue practice and politics.

 In Jeremiah 1:5-10, God in addressing Jeremiah said: “Before I formed thee in the belly, I knew thee…” This postulation applies to all creation. God in creating Barrister Emmanuel Enoidem and imbuing him with a penchant for generosity saw the need to vouchsafe him a platform to exercise the noble calling of giving and selfless service to the people. For these to be accomplished, the political platform beckoned. And so the lawyer and teacher had to veer into politics.  

It was not his first broach with politics. Whilst a student at the University of Science and Technology, he was Secretary-General of NACRIS chapter of that institution. And so when he was elected executive chairman of Etim-Ekpo LGA in 1997, it was a familiar turf with the difference being outside a campus. 

Even though there are sharp variations between campus politics and real politics, one common denominator is that it is a game of interest. It is also a pool where leaders are identified. And so Barrister Emmanuel Enoidem known from childhood to have underlying leadership trait acquitted himself creditably as Council Chairman. His era witnessed selfless service and altruistic leadership. At that time when Etim-Ekpo road had become impassable, Enoidem was often seen on that road sometimes under the rain supervising remedial works that would make the road accessible. When that sojourn came to a premature end with Abacha’s death in 1998, Emmanuel Enoidem left the office without a car. He had gone to the office without a car and walked out without one.

 But the God who rewards saw his honest service and set him apart for bountiful reward. In 2001, he joined the Exco of the party as Akwa Ibom State Treasurer of People’s Democratic Party, PDP. He held that office till 2007.  In 2006, he was made a State Caucus member of PDP and he has remained that till date. Again in 2007, he was a member of Elections planning Committee for PDP. He was also the moderator of the gubernatorial campaign. The bar of this party responsibility was raised in 2011 when he was appointed Secretary-General of Godswill Akpabio’s Campaign Organization which produce the Governor for second term in office.  Barrister  Emmanuel Enoidem had become a strong and vocal voice in the party. His commitment as a party faithful set him apart from many others and earned him great admiration among other party faithful. 

 It was why in 2007 at the advent of the Akpabio administration, the party forwarded his name as its nominee for the position of member of the State Executive Council. That nomination produced him as the pioneer commissioner of Housing and Urban Renewal. Being a pioneer commissioner in a pioneer ministry required initiatives to institute a template of administrative and service procedures. In this regard, Emmanuel Enoidem demonstrated such robust initiatives that did not only raise the bar of service delivery but also made the ministry attractive and people oriented. The remodeling of Uyo and other key infrastructure like the Government House, Banquet Hall, etc, stand as some of the eloquent testimonies of the accomplishments of that Ministry.

 In a manner bearing the aptness that it is not the office that makes the man but the man that makes the office, Barrister Enoidem seems to posses the magic-wand to turn things around. This was manifestly exemplified in his movement from Ministry of Housing and Urban Renewal to Ministry of Special Duties. With the flagship projects of the administration assigned to that ministry for supervision, Barrister Enoidem has turned that ministry into an emergency and an essential service unit, delivering an around the clock service. Today, that ministry is a beehive of activities, a departure from the hitherto drab and inactive ministry it used to be.   

Barrister Emmanuel Enoidem’s outstanding public service record has also attracted recognition, honours, accolades and even more responsibilities. For instance, as it pertains to the latter, he was member Implementation Committee on Building of the Tropicana Entertainment Centre in Uyo. He was Chairman, Committee on the completion of Le-Meridien Ibom Hotels and Golf Resort; member, AKSEXCO Committee on Revamping of State’s Industries and Recovery of Public Property and Investments; Chairman, Uyo Main Market Relocation Committee; member AKSEXCO Committee for the Take-off of Akwa Ibom University; member, Inter-ministerial Committee on Rehabilitation of Education Infrastructure and member, Committee on Recovery of Public Properties (Markets, Parks, Abattoirs, etc constructed by Akwa Ibom State government) amongst many others. Awards and accolades which are also numerous include Gold Service Award by the International Association of Leo Club, Paul Haris Fellow Status Award by Rotary, Kwame Nkrumah Role Model Leadership Award by Editorial Board of Today’s People International Magazine, Award as one of the 50 Best Performing Commissioners in the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Award of ‘Ubokudom Ikono’ by Paramount Ruler of Ikono LGA, amongst many others too numerous to mention. 

 Barrister Emmanuel Moses Enoidem at 50 provokes profound examination. He is a study in commitment, sincerity, courage, loyalty, passion for service, generosity and discipline. Known for reticence, he seems to engage more in reflection, which is the hallmark of deep thinkers. And since the deep calls to the deep, all his undertakings course through such depth of thinking which deliver quality work and service. It is this imprint of quality service and respect for timeline that Barrister Enoidem has used to define his 50 years. Would the post golden age weary him. I can hear a resounding No. May the good Lord continue to imbue him with His Grace. Congratulations Sir, as you brace gold.

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