Obasanjo’s visit: Gov. Udom Emmanuel’s swansong

Obasanjo’s visit: Gov. Udom Emmanuel’s swansong

Tuesday, October 30, 2018 7:45 am

Governor Udom (centre) during his declaration for second term


By Eseme Eyiboh

Chief Olusegun Obasanjo’s visit to Akwa Ibom State on Sunday October 28, 2018 ostensibly on a Solidarity visit to Gov. Udom Emmanuel, is another of the many insensitive dark paths by the Udom Emmanuel administration in Akwa Ibom State. But one would, never the less, accept this one, as a foreshadowing of the end of the administration and the church service with Chief Obasanjo in attendance as a valedictory service to mark the end of the current administration in the state.

How else would any Akwa Ibom person react to the presence of a man, who while in office did not hide his disdain and unmitigated hatred for the people of Akwa Ibom State in particular and the entire Niger Delta region in general. One would have thought that the visit and the church attendance should have been a time for the former president to apologise to the people of the state and seek the face of God in repentance, and forgiveness by the people. But that was not to be. Instead, Obasanjo went into his famed melodrama of an all knowing, all conquering, omnipresent, all invincible enthroner-in-chief. But the people are not all so forgetful to recount the many actions and inactions of Chief Obasanjo that have continued to cast a pall over his relationship with the state. The people cannot just forget the following:

  1. It was Chief Olusegun Obasanjo that successfully resurrected the onshore/offshore oil dichotomy that the government of Ibrahim Babangida had put to rest. Obasanjo used the instrumentality of the Supreme Court to jerk the obnoxious dichotomy back to life. It took the spirited effort of Nigerians of conscience and the selfless efforts of leaders like Obong Victor Attah, Senator Udo Udoma to make the National Assembly pass the bill that many called political solution to Obasanjo’s battle against the region.
  2. The first time the legislative arm of government at the federal level, exerted its power over presidential veto under the present democratic dispensation was the over-riding of Obasanjo’s veto against the Niger Delta Development Commission bill, which the president refused to sign into law. It, again took the goodwill of Nigerians and the National Assembly to establish the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, as an interventionist agency for the development of the entire Niger Delta region.
  3. Whilst Obasanjo was president, we cannot point at any tangible development project Akwa Ibom people should have benefitted from.

All these, not withstanding, we recognise that Akwa Ibom people, being Christians are enjoined to forgive. But in forgiving, the former president ought to show some remorse and a contrite heart. But this was not the case. Obasanjo, in a highly insensitive and provocative manner, rather chose to lecture the people on how they should go about their choice of who to govern them. Obasanjo and his puppeteers forgot that the former president is an ordinary voter, with one vote; a vote that can only be cast in Otta, Ogun State.

I recognize this as insulting to the collective sensibility of Akwa Ibom people, but also see it as a further affirmation of the steady journey to political denouncement for Obasanjo’s chief host.

I advise Akwa Ibom People to disregard the well known self glorification and tendentious pontifications of a man in constant search for reinvention and revalidation. Akwa Ibom State has moved beyond the reach of Obasanjo’s political antics. The people are well aware of the need for a total reversal of the current disruptions in statutory governance, occasioned by a clear lack of vision and sinister aloofness to the realities of the state’s current political and social imperatives.

It will also be important for OBJ and his agents to be aware that Akwa Ibom State of today has completely embraced the tenets of democratic culture where individual’s rights to choice are not only respected, but the collective wishes and aspirations of the people entrenched. This is a departure from the self-seeking, undemocratic disposition, which gave rise to Obasanjo’s aborted third term project.

We in Akwa Ibom State and the entire Niger Delta region are grateful to the National Assembly for snatching the NDDC Bill from the imminent death on the hands of Obasanjo. Today the NDDC, where an Akwa Ibom son, His Excellency(Obong)Nsima Ekere, is currently at the helm of affairs,restructuring  the balance sheet, reforming statutory governance system & protocols, restoration of the NNDC’s core mandate and reaffirmation their commitment to ethical integrity and value chain management. The agency has driven development and reinvigorated the socio-economic safety net of the people of the region. Akwa Ibom has been a major beneficiary of the inherent developmental considerations that birthed the interventionist agency and we are happy that Obasanjo must have been browbeaten to see the massive development that have accrued to the state as a result of  the divine upturning of Chief Obasanjo’s anti Akwa Ibom wishes and actions.

I hope they sang the nunc dimitis during the service as a symbol of the drawing of the curtain on the Gov. Udom Emmanuel’s administration in the state.

Hon Eseme Eyiboh

Former Spokesperson House of Representatives, current Chairman, Cross River Basin Development Authority and member of the All Progressives Congress

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