UDOM EMMANUEL’S MPM INITIATIVE: A TEMPLATE FOR NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT
By NSIKAK ESENOWO
“Peace cannot be kept by force; it can be achieved by understanding’’- Albert Einstein
In recent time Nigeria has experienced an upsurge in insecurity, ranging from abduction of women and children, civil unrest, other forms of violence and tension across the six geo-political regions. This situation has raised concerns by the international community, which has often rendered assistance in one way or the other to tackle the menace.
These violent incidences, having hindered the nation’s economic growth and development, should be given prime consideration by our leaders through conscious efforts geared towards resolving the challenge before it gets out of hand.
President Muhammadu Buhari, has demonstrated commitment towards addressing insecurity by giving attention and necessary support to the Ministry of Defense in its fight against this scourge. But the urgency of the situation requires that, government at the three tiers need to work in synergy for better intelligence to assist the Nigerian Armed Forces and other security agencies. In other words, for us to achieve the desired results, all hands should be on deck because issues pertaining to the security of our nation should be made the responsibility of all citizens.
It is obviously in recognition of the necessity for joint-action that Governor Udom Emmanuel, since assuming office in 2015, has worked assiduously to change the security fortune of the state. His approach has been to industrialize the state, with simultaneous efforts in peace building in order to consolidate on the gains of his leadership to the people and get them engaged that they are unavailable for criminal activities.
Governor Emmanuel’s Special Purpose Vehicle for conveying his peace message is the Maintain Peace Movement (MPM). As the progenitor of the MPM initiative, Governor Emmanuel inaugurated the National Executive Committee of the Movement on the 19th November, 2021, at Godswill Akpabio International Stadium, Uyo, with a rallying-cry centered on peace, unity and brotherhood, a message expected to be taken beyond the shores of the state.
Thereafter, the MPM has inaugurated chapter and ward executive committees in the 31 Local Government Areas of the State, with emphasis on the need to consolidate on the achievements of Governor Udom Emmanuel.
This peaceful ambience which has become synonymous with Akwa Ibom State under the Udom administration should be a strong reference point and model for the rest of the country. This is because peace is an imperative to the development of society. Without peace there cannot be any form of advancement economically, politically and otherwise.
Governor Udom Emmanuel’s developmental strides are yielding positive impact and result in the State, particularly in the education sector, where he has by a bold and decisive steps addressed the rot in the system. It began with the first Education Summit in 2019 which focused on the physical rehabilitation of infrastructure, capacity building for teachers, employment of new ones, including security of school facilities.
Currently, the State education is tailored towards producing entrepreneurs and craftsmen that will add value to the society. The vision is to birth an educational system where the products can graduate and become employers of labour themselves. This way, the people gradually become stakeholders in the system without prompting take ownership of the process of its security.
Another instance where Governor Udom Emmanuel has practically offered a sustainable template for national development is the various investments in the State, such as the construction of a 21 storey building (Dakkada Towers) which will accommodate different International Oil Companies as they relocate their administrative headquarters to the state; a good road-network constructed across the State for ease of access into the State and businesses; and the Governor’s initiative to float a sub-national airline: ‘Ibom Air,’ which is the pride of the country, with seven aircrafts and a deal for 10 new A220-300 additional aircrafts for commencement of regional operations.
An assessment of Governor Udom Emmanuel’s performance in office, reveals uncommon commitment and the passion to translate great vision into reality in tandem with a viable economic roadmap capable of not just repositioning of Akwa Ibom State, but the nation at large.
Governor Emmanuel has therefore endeared himself to stakeholders in the Nigerian project at the national level, for instance the Arewa leading lights whom he impressed at the Arewa Media Interactive and Development Forum at the Arewa Research House, Kaduna. Where as a keynote speaker, the governor lectured on theme: ‘Unity in Diversity’.
Governor Emmanuel described Nigeria as a nation with a common history, possessing unity in diversity, and a country which has retained its identity and purpose though faced with some challenges. He reechoed the statement of the late Sardauna of Sokoto, Sir. Ahmadu Bello, that ‘’in Northern Nigeria, we have people of different races, tribes and religion who are knitted together by a common history, and that the things which unite us are stronger than those that divide us.’’
These sentiments shared by our great patriots and statesmen were indeed the galvanizing myth behind national consciousness in pre and immediate post-independence Nigeria.
Said Governor Emmanuel: “Our forebears built foundations strong enough during our struggle for Independence, which eventually helped secure our Independence as a nation. In the same vein, as a nation, we need a galvanizing force to strengthen the cords of unity by eschewing tendencies of tribalism and divisive narrative that will create enmity among our people. It is only when we rise to this reality and fortify those foundations laid by our forebears with the bricks of faith, patriotism and love that we will confront the challenges of today’’.
Impressed by the governor’s preachment and vision, the Coalition of Northern Groups, paid a visit to the state and affirmed that Governor Udom Emmanuel’s leadership approach is top-notch and worthy of emulation by other state governors in the country, if we are to create an inclusive governance with sufficient personal stake for the citizens in order for him to help secure the commonwealth.
During their visit to the state, the leader of the delegation, comprising 19 Northern States, Alhaji Balarabe Rufia, called on Nigerian leaders to adopt the peace model of Governor Udom Emmanuel as a sustainable template for national peace and development. He also advocated that the peace template be established across the country.
With the inauguration of the MPM, there is no doubt that the message of peace will be carried to all the nooks and crannies of the country. The National Chairman of MPM Barr. Emmanuel Enoidem, believes that the peace and development enjoyed in Akwa Ibom State can be replicated across the nation, if only our leaders can be selfless. As he puts it: “The problem of Nigeria is leadership, injustice and unemployment, once we have the right leaders other things will fall into place. We cannot pay lip service to issue of insecurity. Insecurity is a function of poverty, injustice, unemployment. Peace on the other hand results from good governance, competence and the ability to organize the human population’’.