By Imoh Etimudo
Memories of the Dinner & Award Night for the 2019 Press Week of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, NUJ, Akwa Ibom State Council will linger longer. It was a toast of class and glamour.
NUJ was able to parade the best of Akwa Ibom in politics, business and religion. Big boys filled the tasteful hall. Big names were announced, including some of those who have been out of circulation for a long time.
People love to see Rt. Hon. Onofiok Luke, the youthful lawmaker who is presently in the House of Representatives, preceded by an eventful tenure as the immediate-past Speaker, Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly. He was there!
Comrade Barrister Ini Ememobong, a modern day orator, renowned for tormenting press releases, with a meteoric rise to stardom was there. His Ini Ememobong Foundation won an award yesterday, and today the foundation handed over a new Church building to worshippers at Ukanafun.
So also was the esteemed presence of his friend and brother, Sir Raphael Edem who saunter into the hall was caught by an eagle-eyed MC that punctuated his pleasantries. If he wasn’t who he is with microphone, he would have been thrown off balance.
Mr Nana Udom, that inspiration to the youth was equally on ground.
The list of the big fishes was endless The Idongesit Nkangas of this world, Commissioners former Commissioners including the progenitor of Orange September, Mr Victor Antai popularly called ATM, DIG Udom Ekpoudom, Mr Udom Inoyo of ExxonMobil, aides of Governor Udom Emmanuel, the ordained minister of God, Senator John James Udoedehe, and the Deputy Governor, His Excellency Mr Moses Ekpo who got what can be described as the “Award of the Night.”
The popular Senator, Distinguished Senator (Obong) Bassey Albert Akpan, popularly called OBA was a guest in style that graced the dinner He came in style, and left in style. The man in white painted the hall red and yellow!
Cheers announced his arrival, as everyone wanted a handshake with OBA. He obliged from far and near rows. His Goodwill Message pitched his tent with the people. They loved his hate speech remarks. The humble OBA stood up for a handshake with Mr Udom Inoyo when the later returned from the lectern for his Goodwill Message. OBA, Victor Antai and Udoedehe were the only ones who called the journalists by their names.
That is why it will be very difficult, if not impossible for the Lagos-based hypothesis by Senator Udoedehe risks being deflated by OBA.
Akwa Ibom people need leaders with strong connect and bond with them. The one who the power and love to say to hunger, “live this body for it is a temple of the Lord!” And hunger obeys. As he did outside of the dinner & award night hall and there were testimonies.
He shall cast out poverty, nepotism and clannishness.
Thus, for someone like this, whether he lives in the North or South, East or West, he cannot be wasted because of where he lives or does not live. Wherever OBA lives, location or any other such mundane impediment will not put a wedge between him and Akwa Ibom people.
Imoh is a writer on contemporary issues.