Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Nsima Ekere and pan- Akwa Ibomism 

Nsima Ekere and pan- Akwa Ibomism

I was at a function the other day when I over heard a group of young men ask what is so special about His Excellency, Obong Nsima Ekere, that most people are rooting for him in the coming PDP governorship primaries. That happened to be the third time I chanced into such debates and on the same subject – Nsima Ekere. 
What pleases me most is that our people have departed from political passivism and are poised to play active roles in the gubernatorial selection process. That also throws a challenge to well- informed and well-meaning sons and daughters of the State to avail the public of information on the candidates so as to arm the electorate and better educate them on the choice they are to make. The choice we make depends on the information available to us.

The change of baton from one governor to another every 8 years (they usually stay the second term) should not be seen as a routine exercise. The destiny of a people is tied to its leadership, particularly at the executive level.

Akwa Ibom people within and outside the State are coming to appreciate the role macro-economics plays in their lives. They have become inquisitive about who should be their leader and what approaches such leader would use to navigate the murky waters of development so as to escape from predatory and slave-driven culture into the challenging, but desirable, waters of advanced economy made complex and competitive by globalism. 

We know, almost as an axiom, that most advanced and growing economies today are products of quality leadership that matched rhetoric with stellar performance. Examples abound in history and include Ghana’s Kwame Nkrumah and Rawlings, America’s Abraham Lincoln, China’s Mao Tse-Tung, England’s Winston Churchill, and many others. Leveraging development in Akwa Ibom State to match the pace of the world would require a leader with a high dose of selflessness, empathy, and grace under fire which Drasgoslav Neskovic describes as the three most valuable leadership traits (www.inc.com). 

These qualities are not stand-alone; they are products of the inner mind made manifest in the outer. It comes out of deep introspection and is bedded in reasoning arising from logical thinking as against mere emotions and sentiments.

As I examine our landscape, I see that we are in dire need of a Nehemiah, a Moses and a Joseph (possibly all three rolled into one). We must come to the reality that although the present government has done its best, there is still a lot to be achieved before we get under the shower. And only someone with the right leadership qualities with a sound philosophy of life should wear this crown. We need someone who will weld us into one big family in peace and harmony. This is where Obong Nsima Ekere appeals to our psyche.

The PDP maxim “Power to the People” is apt; but should be better interpreted and understood within a global concept. A hungry man without a job cannot wield power.  A decent means of livelihood is the first condition for power. No weapon of warfare is as potent as hunger. Even the most sophisticated weapon would pale into insignificance when left in the hands of a hungry soldier. In other words, stomach infrastructure is the greatest of all powers. To give power to the people and make the slogan meaningful, we must create jobs, open up opportunities and help the people to live decent lives and realize their lifelong ambitions. Thus we must modernize our agricultural practices to put cheap food on our tables, energize the people to engage in micro-enterprises, medium-scale businesses, and industrialize the State to provide options rather than just the civil service. 

Imagine this scenario: a community needs a health centre and appeals to the government for its provision; the President passes the request to the Minister of Health who awaits allocation from the Minister of Finance. The Minister of Finance is waiting for money to come from the people so that he can distribute it. But the people are waiting for the government. In a well-ordered society, everyone has an obligation; and because we are all waiting for the government here, our pace of development is slow.

Let’s make no pretences about this. Today, it is either government does something or nothing happens. This is not what it should be. Public-private partnership entails a kind of symbiotic relationship where we rub each other’s back to grow our society. There should be a healthy relationship between the government and private people and organizations. As the saying goes, you cannot clap with one hand.

The difference between us and modernity of the developed world is much. To see it otherwise is self-delusion. But we can catch up within a very short time span. This we can do by bringing in a leader, I mean Obong Nsima Ekere, who has the cognition and experience to raise the bar of our development efforts, translating our present resources to wealth and developing our people to become the repositories of the knowledge and skills that will sustain the wealth.  That is the import of Pan-Akwaibomism as our philosophy; and it is rested on the tripodal socio-economic determinism of People, Peace, Prosperity as the mantra. We can express this, if you like, hyperbolically as economic, social and political inclusivism. Iki nyeyie owo ifan no itop usuk iduok?

Etokowo Owoh is a Researcher and Management Consultant

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