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Akwa Ibom v Udofia: Of ‘ideas’, secrecy and deceit

Akwa Ibom v Udofia: Of ‘ideas’, secrecy and deceit
November 21
15:08 2022

BY UDO SILAS

My friend, a very close friend, a thoroughbred tourism expert, had called me about two months ago, angry that an idea he had put forward years ago to agents of the present Akwa Ibom government had since been appropriated without recourse to him.

He said even though this was a long time ago, he had woken up irked in his spirit, because the seeming success of the idea, gave him both delight and pain. Whereas he was delighted in the fecundity of his mental construct, he was nevertheless pained that the world may never know his role.

He reminded me of the day, I, in company of a present Special Assistant to His Excellency Udom, visited the abode of a serving big boy in Udom’s government to present and discuss the idea. He said he had spoken to the serving Special Assistant, who, even though remembers the said visit, told him plainly that he would deny everything, if our mutual friend started any controversy on the matter. This is a true story.

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I understood at the time, why our mutual friend, the serving Special Assistant would threaten denial if our mutual friend, the tourism expert, should go public on the matter.

He was a serving officer, so couldn’t do or say anything that may put his government in bad light.

This recollection became the spur when the serving Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice in Akwa Ibom State decided to pen a rebuttal on government letter headed paper, concerning the now viral video, where Obong Akan Udofia made public his fact, that the idea of Ibom Air was his.

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It was important that the Akwa Ibom state government deny. It was crucial to maintain the public perception that this Akwa Ibom state government is the origin of, indeed, the sole originator of any action or policy, sold to the public, as flying on the wings of success.

But not all ideas of governance, policy and service emanate from government. This is a fact. It is also a fact that Udofia had in a video that preceded the video under discourse stated clearly that he has nothing to do with the ownership of Ibom Air.

So why would the government threaten sanctions against a man who while not claiming ownership, only alluded to being the origin of an idea? Why was it that important?

The reason is simple. It is to reinforce and reiterate the cacophony of government ownership of all and everything in Akwa Ibom state, thereby creating assonance of belief in all Akwa Ibom sons and daughters.

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“The idea of Ibom Air was conceived and executed by His Excellency, Governor Udom Emmanuel, who worked with aviation consultants led by Captain Mfon Udom to birth and sustain the operations of the Airline to this day. The Airline is owned 100% by Akwa Ibom State” said the Attorney General.

Truth be told, the secrecy of company or industry ownership and the deceit of non-accountability in funding, expenditure and revenue, is not an exclusive preserve of the Udom administration.

But how else do we judge a revered church deacon, who has publicly exonerated himself of taking one kobo of Akwa Ibom money, except by asking the Attorney general, to just as he has quickly done in the matter of Udofia versus Akwa Ibom state, to expressly furnish the state, with the said ownership structure of Ibom Air and indeed all other audio industries of this government?

I am not holding brief for Udofia. I am sure his media handlers can do that. But I wager that Udofia, a Captain of industry in his own right, was not being flippant. He was quick to dispel rumors of being the owner of Ibom Air. It is in the same vein of responsibility that he sought to tell the truth of his mental association ship with Ibom Air so that Akwa Ibom people, whom he seeks to govern, would have a glimpse of the Udofia phenomenon.

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It is understandable that such candor, especially coming from a man of means and an opposition to boot, can hurt in a time of politics.

But it is also in a time of politics that Governor Nyesom Wike nearby is speaking truth. He has spoken truth concerning the backlog of derivation since 1999 paid by the Buhari government to oil producing states, including Akwa Ibom State.

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It is indeed trivial, laughable and absolutely mind boggling that the fast writing Attorney General has not deemed it wise to refute Governor Wike’s disclosures, especially as Akwa Ibom sons and daughters have variously demanded of him.

I must remind my brother, the governor that legacies of truth must be verifiable beyond doubt. Threats of sanctions on the origin of ideas, the kind made viral by his famed Attorney General, only speaks to the lower rungs of statesmanship, promoting a sense of the all-knowing only ascribed to The Almighty.

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Udofia’s truth has set him free. May all Akwa Ibom be set free?

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Views expressed by contributors are strictly personal and not of TheCable.

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