Monday, December 18, 2017

Does Udom Emmanuel really care?

By Osondu Ahirika 

On December 9, 2017 the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, held her National Elective Convention which yours sincerely, made the dash to Abuja to witness. 

Of all the politicking and realigning that transpired in the course of that historic event, something that, on its face value, Imay seem insignificant stuck in my mind. 

Governor Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom State, in an interview with the African Independent Television crew, made several statements which caught my attention. One of such sound bites goes thus : "You can never see me mount a podium to discuss persons or individuals. I discuss development. I am concerned about the economy of my people. That is what matters to me.'' 

For a moment, this line struck a synonym with the a trending online lingo that screams, #UDOMcares. I couldn't help but reason that, such confession in words and deed may have inspired this trend from his admirers. 

Back home in Akwa Ibom after the PDP National Convention, I retreated to my role as a Panelist, on the Radio, Television and Online intellectual thriller, 20 Questions, anchored by the ever creative ace broadcaster, Michael Bush. We(I and the crew on the programme), were out to record our special Christmas editions of the suspense filled and engaging show, and it remained so until a stunner came. 

Bush, announced that, gifts will be handed out to deserving persons; and all that made it to the studio, as part of the audience, in the spirit of the season. Pronto I became on of the recipients of a 32 inch LED Flat screen television for my years of service on the programme. For the record, I debuted on the Show in 2006. I never contemplated nor saw this coming. 

Like me, four other Panelists got a 32inch LED Flat screen television too. They are, Mr Raphael Edem, Special Assistant to Governor Udom Emmanuel on Public Affairs, Barrister Ini Ememobong, Publicity Secretary of PDP Akwa Ibom State Chapter, Pastor Idorenyin James, General Overseer of Salt of the Earth Ministry, Uyo and Evangelist Saviour Ekpe. All four have laboured on this programme for more than a decade, motivated solely by the sheer passion for it and nothing more, keeping millions entertained and informed. Alas a 'Thank You day' finally beckoned. 

Folks', did I tell you that these gifts were sponsored? They came courtesy of a threesome that simply wanted to be identified as, Friends of Deacon Udom Gabriel Emmanuel. The trio are- Mr Linus Nkan, Mr Okon Okon, Pastor Uwem Andrew-Essien and of course, Akparawa Michael Bush the facilitator. They tagged the gift session and items, #UDOMcares. I immediately recalled the governor's comments in Abuja. Oh my! So he Cares and his Friends know it, and/or are amplifying it?

It is significant to note that, this gesture which from our cultivated practice here ought to be political, was clinically executed quite apolitically. The sponsors should forgive my hype, as indeed, they never solicited same. 

I was surprised, they didn't meddle or interfere on who got what? Rather, they were simply using the governor's name to reward education, loyalty, consistency and excellence. They obviously didn't want to score any political mileage with the goodwill. 

 Two, that unlike what we always see, the gifts were not misappropriated by Michael Bush. He could have decided to divert them to his relatives, hangers-on and cronies. No, that's not his character. The gifts were there in the open house and dispensed to all comers, many of who, he was meeting for the first time. 

Furthermore, the sponsors did not throw themselves out there. They simply wanted to be identified as Friends of Deacon Udom Emmanuel (not of Gov. Udom Emmanuel), and never wanted or insisted on coming on TV to present the mouthwatering gifts by themselves: TV sets, home theatres, washing machine, cookers, handsets, freezers, water dispensers, etc. I have never seen this happen before. They did not play politics with Caring. I was touched. 

The presentation that perhaps pricked my deepest faculty was that, accorded to the  20 Questions Fan Of The Month(December 2017). An entrepreneur  who runs a Laundry business, Mr Kennedy Johnson. He  walked  away with a brand new washing machine courtesy of friends of Deacon Udom. 

Interestingly, the Children of Kings Kids Christian Academy, who were also there in the studio to enjoy a live interaction with the 20 Questions crew all received gifts. Indeed, every guest that witnessed the recording went home with at least a gift. That this is the kind of clean stuff we want seen and celebrated moving forward. In turning this page on the programme, one can only hope this continues as a permanent feature of the total package in the show. 

We have witnessed Governor Udom Emmanuel demonstrate his care to school children, our youths, women groups and the physically challenged, the girl child, the widows, traders and transporters in various ways. We have seen him pursue development by expanding road infrastructure and pushing his industrialization agenda with tenacity and focus. Supporting that passion of his by well meaning individuals and associates is a good thing to do. 

More friends of the governor can show up and be counted, including Corporate organizations and groups to demonstrate to the world that #UDOMcares. This initiative could get another sponsorship for 2018,  putting a smile on more faces and joy in more homes. Why not? 




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