PRESS RELEASE -
MOSES ESSIEN: A GUBERNATORIAL INTERVIEW TO REMEMBER
Going through the correspondences written by patriotic citizens of Akwa Ibom State, saluting the courage, foresight and vision of MOSES ESSIEN, a PDP gubernatorial aspirant in the State, gives one some measure of hope amidst the ongoing political frenzy in the state.
But of particular interest are the views of MR. UBON MARCUS, a political scientist in training and writer of one of the letters. Mr Marcus, whom I am sure, will be proud to publicly identify with the gubernatorial aspirant given the tone of his letter, made allusions to some matters of interest, which ESSIEN raised and addressed during his last live interview on the NTA Channel 12, Uyo.
Although this writer listened to the interview and was impressed by the passion and vision exhibited by ESSIEN in the interview, MR. MARCUS’S sentiments as exhibited in his letter further drove home the salient points of the interview. Just as PROF. GEORGE MANGKAKIS alluded that we sometimes need another’s mind to keep in working terms with our own, the thoughts of MR. MARCUS quickly struck a similar chord in mine just as the said interview stirred something in the hearts of many across the state.
The Television programme in question is dubbed “60 MINUTES”. It is a programme transmitted live to the people of the state every Friday at 3PM. This particular edition was held on Friday, the 26TH of September 2006. The interviewee, MOSES ESSIEN was resplendent in flowing traditional attire popularly called “NIGER DELTA” with a fitting cap to match. Though sartorially turned out, he did not attract so much attention by his outfit, as much as by his rhetoric. MR. MARCUS agrees with this fact when he said: “I had previously seen (his) posters but did not pick interest in (his) candidature---- because it has become obvious that majority of (the aspirants) are aspiring due to parochial/selfish reasons, not based on ideology and the desire to serve”. He concludes that point by saying: “I am sorry to admit that I had generalized (him) into that category.”
Truly as observed above, ESSIEN’S profile rose astronomically after those 60 minutes at which time he was able to show his grasps of the vital issues and his empathy towards the down trodden and voiceless in the State. Politicians, orators, and demagogues have a way of stirring emotions in the masses. These could either be for good or bad. In this particular case, the pathos in ESSIEN’S voice dispelled every trace of guile in his words or intended actions.
ESSIEN succeeded in not only stirring sweet emotions in the people, but in also drawing great attention to himself. The People of the state are obviously more interested in his aspiration now than previously, and it is expected that he will live up to his present billing.
Some of the projects the aspirant indicated priority interest in include a 300 Unit Housing Scheme in each of the 31 L. G. Areas of the state; revolution of the agricultural sector given our generous and arable land; repositioning of the educational sector; innovations in science and technology, massive industrialization of the state, and other such projects that will have a direct and positive bearing on the suffering masses of the state. He also spoke on the need to establish a seaport given the fact that Akwa Ibom State has the longest coastline in West Africa.
His detailed analysis of the benefits of these projects to the state shows his understanding that youth restiveness and crime can not be stopped through legislation, but through deliberate effort on the part of government and Policy makers in the creation of jobs and economic opportunities for the people. On the issue of empowerment, he rightly observes that it creates rapid development in society, but that it should be properly defined. Empowerment is not all about award of contracts to a select group of party stalwarts or citizens as the case may be. Empowerment involves sound education of the citizenry, it involves giving them other forms of training, be it vocational or otherwise, exposing them to relevant information at the right time, inspiring them to believe in themselves and in their abilities, and letting them know that Government is behind them at all times as long as they are proactive and living above board.
On the issue of empowerment, MR. MARCUS, further emphasized that LATE CHIEF AWOLOWO used his offices as both premier, and Finance Minister under GOWON, to empower his people by providing them free education. Today, there is hardly any field of human endeavour that the Yoruba have not dominated- Politics, Academics, Banking and Administration, law Commerce, etc. MR. MARCUS further advised: “If you (MOSES ESSIEN) fulfill your promise of human empowerment you will not only be providing for the present but sowing seeds into the future of which posterity will always remember you.”
Another issue broached by the gubernatorial aspirant, ESSIEN, was that of the capital projects of the OBONG ATTAH Administration. He commended in generous terms the vision of the present Government in birthing this projects whose completion will place the State on a sound financial footing and offer her some measure of economic interdependency with the Federal Government. He promised to the admiration of all viewers of the programme that he would complete all ongoing projects of the present administration, if elected governor, and even extend an invitation to OBONG ATTAH to commission them even as an ex-Governor.
And come to think of it, this last statement may even be more prophetic than the author thinks, for if OBONG ATTAH eventually becomes President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and he Governor of Akwa Abasi Ibom State, does it not follow that only “President” VICTOR ATTAH would be invited to officially commission a project he started as Governor?
The gubernatorial aspirant equally scored high in his plan to build for the Sports and fun-loving people of the State a FIFA standard Stadium fully equipped with up-to-date facilities, an International Conference Center and a multi-purpose hall with more space and versatility than the present Ibom Hall…
The TV programme 60 MINUTES is a welcome innovation on the NTA and the producers should endeavour to bring more gubernatorial aspirants on the programme to enable the people have a firsthand knowledge of those who want to be their leaders.
The interview of MOSES ESSIEN on the programme was a delight to listen to and quite memorable. He should hold on to this vision and not let it waver. At the same time citizens of the state should begin to show more than a passing interest in matters like this that concerns all, like MR. MARCUS has done. A times, the greatest impetus genuine leaders need is encouragement from their people. And as the great NNAMDI AZIKIWE did say, we equally say in paraphrase to the good people of the state: “independence in all things, but neutral in nothing concerning the destiny of Akwa Ibom State”.