This will be a new edition of this piece I wrote originally with the title, OPERATION SAVE UYO, after Prince Enobong Uwah ran for and lost his bid to represent Uyo State Constituency in the Akwa Ibom State Legislature.
It becomes apt for repeat as he makes another major big sacrifice to achieve his dream of a Greater Uyo, that her people and politicians can truly maximize the benefits of mainstream politics.
The Uyo Federal Constituency Elections for 2015 beckons, which way forward for Uyo? Enjoy this version.
He came unto His own; but they received him not. What a way to begin this piece. The phrase above is actually lifted from the Holy Bible. It describes the life, mission and ministry of Jesus Christ.
Dispatched from above on an operation to rescue the humankind; He was rejected, mocked and treated like a scoundrel by the very people He came to save.
That is a transcript of the April 26, Uyo State Constituency election, which Prince Enobong Uwah participated in as a candidate. I shall shortly explain myself.
First though, come with me on this “excursion.” Between the nations of Zambia and Zimbabwe, there is a Dam called Kariba, which cost a whopping 128 million dollars to build with about four hundred lives lost in the process.
The Kariba Dam construction necessitated the relocation of 57,000 indigenous Tonga people from both countries. They had to forfeit their ancestral homelands, farms and communities they occupied for hundreds of years.
They agreed to relocate to new homes just to ensure that the benefit of electricity and development could be theirs. Yet, there was a problem.
The wildlife of Tonga land and their livestock needed to be resettled too, to prevent their destruction by the imminent flooding. Then came a rescue plan.
Alluding to the Biblical Genesis story, skilled personnel in animal rescue operations were assembled. Code – named Project Noah, their sole objective was to save the animals that inhabited the sprawling greenery and rain forest to Tonga land, including lions, antelopes, elephants, buffalos, rhinos, monkeys and all that.
It was a great nature-friendly plan. Trouble is; the animals did not understand that. The rescuers prepared well, equipped their boats with cages, nets, harmless traps, just about anything that could help get the animals.
The animals saw the gradually rising waters of the lake. They even kept migrating from one threatened habitat to another as more and more land kept being swallowed by the surging river.
Still, they did not and could not realize that, the men on the vessels were determined to save them alive and give them another home. The animals rejected the volunteers on a mission to deliver them.
Their ignorance constrained them to rebuff the lifeline freely offered them. In between, there were some successes, but at great cost of peril to the volunteers. Some were attacked, wounded and killed by the undiscerning but frightened wild beasts. Few of the animals were saved.
The rest, limited as it were, by their lack of understanding; met their demise in the deluge of the rampaging waters. It is this amazing tale, retold by Lutheran cleric, Rev. Ken Klaus, to which I draw similarities to that verdict of the Uyo people from the outcome of the 2011 elections. Prince Enobong Uwah is a study in compassion.
A budding star, surfeit with a good heart and humble carriage, it is difficult if not impossible, for him not to force an impression on you on a first demonstrated immense leadership potential tempered by loyal service to his boss and cheerful generosity to his people.
His explosion as a beloved of His Excellency, Chief (Dr) Godswill Obot Akpabio did not lure him to mad carousal and feeling of self importance.
Remaining level headed, disciplined and flaunting an assuring, self – respecting comportment, Enobong Uwah astonished the high and the mighty with his competence as the Protocol manager of the Akwa Ibom State governor in Abuja.
It is from that lofty comfort that he resigned to offer himself “a living sacrifice” for Uyo people. I wondered why he left a secure zone to the uncertain and murky turf of politics.
He gave no teaser, but I found the answer. Entangled in the thick of his campaign organization, I afforded to spy into his mindset. The discovery was sobering. Enobong Uwah has been sleepless, inconsolable, refusing food and drink, flushing in contemplation of the plight of Uyo people.
By every standard, he is a made man. In hip-hop parlance, him don hammer. Still, he was engulfed in the thought of his people out there in Uyo.
As a Senior Special Assistant to Gov. Akpabio, he had doled out N 5 million in revolving loans for small scale businesses to the womenfolk. Eleven youths benefited from his car gift.
Two widows have had 2 bedroom flats donated to them and countless numbers have received big cash assistance from him. In his low estate, he was faithful with little. If scriptures cannot be broken, I dare vouch that, given much more, he would still prove faithful.
He ran a robust campaign. When he routed his opponents, in the People Democratic Party (PDP), primaries, he was surprisingly conciliatory in success. He rallied his conquered opponents and made them decorated insiders of his victory run.
Historians will remain sucked-in by his brilliant management of his political exploits. He consciously obliterated and erased the blot of those who did not identify with his aspiration before he won the primaries.
As an act of uncommon gesture in victory, he embraced them all and recognized their right to their first love of other aspirants they initially supported. For the sake of introducing a paradigm shift in the permanently factional politics of Uyo, Enobong Uwah fostered a united front. Political foes wined and dined together. He campaigned far and wide, touched every clan, Ward and critical population of Uyo.
He knelt and danced in the community squares. He sang with and hugged the people. He pleaded, promised and backed his words with goodwill.
It was all in a bid to save Uyo people from the political miasma of poor, inefficient and unaccountable representation. Enobong Uwah is ideally a man of the people with a curious mix of sympathetic messianism and philanthropic spirit who emerged at an opportuned time. Politics in Uyo was set to be redefined and a saviour’s advent was nigh.
Right? So it seemed. Alas, the people of Uyo aborted that dream. In their disruptive indecision about what is best for them, they rejected the life jackets thrown into their political ocean.
The story of the Kariba Dam and the fate of its rich animal kingdom best approximates the story of Uyo. As we speak, the man Uyo elected to represent them in the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly is missing in action.
Uyo people have had nothing and heard not much from him. While Nsit Ubium, Ikono, Urue Offong, Uruan, Onna, Abak, State Constituencies among few others are booming, with their members doling our car gifts and multi-million empowerment packages, Uyo is in a coma.
Enobong Uwah has nothing to lose. He wanted to run for the Federal House of Representatives in pursuit of that dream. His trusted men betrayed the cause and split Uyo into factions. Something Uwah’s spirit, with consistency, vehemently abhors. He has made a sacrifice yet again. To unite Uyo, he has dropped the ambition.
His reason, so he can be free of distraction and unite Uyo to one fold for their political revival and benefit come 2015.
As Honourable Commissioner for Environment and Mineral Resources, an office he was appointed to by the Grace of God Almighty and the magnanimity of his boss, His Excellency, Chief Dr. Godswill Obot Akpabio, Enobong Uwah has used that platform to serve Uyo like no political office holder of Uyo extraction before him.
Just that, he doesn’t blow his trumpet about. But Uyo people who have good conscience know this truth. I pray, Uyo people can also see the light, rally around, stand by and join hands with him to reposition their fortunes in the politics of Akwa Ibom State.
Uyo has always lost it, because of its republican nature by rejecting the ‘PROPHETS’ sent to liberate them. Perhaps, this is why Governor Akpabio crafted the catch-phrase ‘OH UYO!” This time around, may they not miss it again.
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