Besides Infrastructure, Gov. Emmanuel Has Enthroned Policy Of Fairness, Justice – Bishop Emmah Isong


Bishop Emmah Gospel Isong, the National Publicity Secretary of Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN), says Abuja, Lagos-based politicians have not only given Akwa Ibom peace, but have taken her to the next level.
Isong, who doubles as the founder and President of Christian Central Chapel International (CCCI) based at Eight Miles, Calabar, hailed Governor Udom Emmanuel for his excellent performance and called on all stakeholders to support him in this exclusive interview with Crystal Express.

Looking at Akwa Ibom politics, some critics say since 1999, the State has been controlled by Kaduna and Lagos-based politicians. Obong Attah for instance came in from Kaduna and Obong Godswill Akpabio came in from Lagos and so the people want a home grown governor. What’s your take on this?

That’s an important question and I will give you the answer. Any time a gubernatorial election in the state is underway, the people on ground will fight to the finish with machetes and guns. At the end the stakeholders will say instead of some people to lose their lives, let’s look outside for a son of the soil that will save us as an empire. That has been the scenario. For instance, during Attah’s time, he was ready to hand over to his in-law, Dr Udoma Bob Ekarika, but 57 candidates came out from one party. If you were Attah, won’t you settle down for the former commissioner for local government affairs, former adviser on petroleum who was a lawyer in Lagos, schooled in Calabar and had a fair knowledge of the terrain of the environment from Annang even though it was against his will? Again, during the Godswill Akpabio Administration people like Umana Okon Umana and many others were lining up and PDP alone had up to 100 aspirants. They came from all the local governments and even councillors wanted to be governors. Then Akpabio decided to use Attah’s formula by going out to source for a local material and bring back so that there will be peace. Has there not been peace since then? He imported Udom and the coast became calm rather than trying to kill ourselves again. We now had a pivot in which all other candidates were able to revolve around. So what some people are complaining of now is the scenario they themselves created. They conscripted and arranged this issue. I’m telling you nothing but the truth. So, one can say Abuja, Lagos-based politicians have not only given Akwa Ibom peace, but have taken us to the next level.


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So are you insinuating that even 2023 indigenous governorship might not really work out?

I wonder what the meaning of indigenous governorship (laughter) is. The thing is that Akwa Ibom has always been lucky that the non-home-based indigenes who have been their governor have developed their state more than the home-based indigenes and it is really very funny. I wish the governor will read this and realize that even though he is from Onna Local Government Area and his parents are from Akwa Ibom, he is being called a non-indigene.

There is a plan by the Federal Government to set up a nuclear plant in Itu Local Government Area. Do you welcome this development?

It was resisted by the indigenes. The indigenes said bring us industries where we can be employed so as to provide food for our children. The indigenes resisted because they are thinking of chemical emission, environmental pollution and several other potential hazards. What about if it explodes? It’s not the first time the Federal Government will site an industry in Itu. The Nigerian Newsprint Manufacturing Company, Oku Iboku, was sited in Itu Local Government Area but the indigenes had to come into an agreement as a result of the potential side effects. The plant can emit some cancerous substances.

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What is your impression on the just-concluded re-run between former governor of Akwa Ibom State, Godswill Akpabio, and Senator Chris Ekpenyong? What does this entail for the people of the district?

Chris Ekpenyong and Akpabio are my friends. The decision of Chief Akpabio to let go has made people to respect him the more and come to see him as a real politician. Akpabio has forgotten that mandate and moved on. Don’t be deceived, Chris Ekpenyong is the god-father of Godswill Akpabio and also like Akpabio’s father and it’s one of the reasons why Akpabio will not want to fight on. If you watch photographs and read news, during the last convocation at Ritman University, they danced together. I have met both of them on a flight and despite the cross fire, they are still good friends. If it was not the first instance of him wanting to be a senator, Akpabio would not have contested elections with Chris Ekpenyong. Those who gave Chris Ekpenyong the PDP Senatorial District ticket for Ikot Ekpene knew what they were doing to Akpabio. They bring your grandfather to come and contest elections with you. When Chris Ekpenyong was deputy governor, Akpabio was commissioner and at a point he was not even in government. Do you know the local name for Chris Ekpenyong? He is called Ukarakpa, that is the ruler of principalities.

Bishop, how can you rate Governor Udom Emmanuel in terms of infrastructural development?

You should not be asking me questions about Governor Emmanuel. I’m not his commissioner for information. I know Governor Udom is succeeding in industries and infrastructure. It is because he is not a professional politician. With credit to Godswill Akpabio, he found Governor Emmanuel and brought him into the political system of Akwa Ibom. Governor Emmanuel would have been something else other than governor of Akwa Ibom. He was a bank director and is now bringing back home his experience in the banking sector to help his own state. At his age, he is not an old man; he was able to articulate the Dakkada philosophy that was able to harmonize Akwa Ibomites to look inwards. Besides infrastructure, he brought the policy of fair play and justice. Imagine a journalist was abused and he went there, rescued the journalist and apologized. That is an element of fairness and justice. Also, he is recognizing God by dedicating the state to God every 2nd day of January, every 27th of September lifting up the spirit of Akwa Ibom. I attended the last carol night; it’s in the Guinness Book of Records. A place people used to urinate was transformed within three months and used for the carol.

Security-wise, he has banned cultism that many governors cannot try because they themselves are members. He is the first governor in Nigeria that came out openly and listed the cult names and proscribed them. Minus having a flair for reconciliation, whereby he is the first governor that after winning his case at the Supreme Court to stand on the podium and extend an olive branch to all those who left the party. To me, I think Governor belongs to APC, PDP, APGA because after winning his elections, he has taken more people into his government than those who were even in the PDP. He is relating to the Presidency very well, he is a good son of Mr. President; he is a good friend to the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, and he works well with other political parties as well as the international community by bringing in the Diaspora. So I pray he continues like that and not relent.

There is this allegation by some Akwa Ibomites that the governor does not practise stomach infrastructure. Do you agree?

He practises it even more than Godswill Akpabio but does not flaunt it, that’s the difference. You see the advantage of former Governor Akpabio is that he was an orator and had the political vocabulary to advertise his uncommon transformation. Emmanuel and wife are introverts that can change your life and will not tell anybody. Recently, Martha built houses for widows and my wife attended. We had to go and take photographs to be sure it’s not a gimmick. Emmanuel’s wife has empowered over 600,000 students and girl child. She has discreetly empowered people with scholarship and school fees. All these are not advertised. The same thing applicable to the governor; he is a silent achiever. So the difference with Udom is that he does not know how to carry micro-phone and announce his projects and does not even permit his media handlers to blow their trumpets. He believes in the biblical admonition that in whatever you do, do not let your left hand know what your right hand has done. That’s his major weakness; if you look at his personality composition, you will know that he is an introvert.

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