When A Governor Speaks, It’s God That’s Speaking Through Him – Capt Ekong (rtd.)


Capt. Iniobong Ekong (Rtd) is a security expert and Senior Special Assistant to Governor Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom State on Security Matters. Ekong, a former chairman of Nsit Ubium Local Government Area, speaks on Governor Udom Emmanuel’s administration at five. He told Crystal Express that the governor, who has great passion to develop the state, has already delivered on his manifestoes among other salient issues.

Governor Udom Emmanuel has put in five years in the governance of the state, what is your take in his performance?

I am opportune to be part of the story from the very beginning. I started working with the governor right from when was secretary to the state government with oversight function on security apparatus in the state. That was when I saw the passion in his heart for the development of the state. I remember my discussion with him at a time when he sincerely appealed that we work together to move the state to the next level. The next level he spoke about had been concluded in his first term as governor; whatever we are witnessing today is additional. There could not be any better governor than Udom Emmanuel at this stage.

One of the cardinal promises he made was industrialization of the state. In your candid opinion, has he delivered on the promises?

Yes. He has done so beyond expectation. That is because I also know when our expectation on industrialization was very high and we didn’t have it. Now we have industries and not ‘drawing board’ industries. During the Covid-19 palliatives period, the flour mill came in strongly. If not for the issues of lockdown, the coconut factory could have been on trial production now. The syringe industry cannot even meet market demand. What we need to do as Akwa Ibomites is to form cooperative where we pull funds together and utilize the benefits of the industry. We need to positively engage ourselves to tap into the enormous benefits of these industries and not to start asking whether there are industries when the people are here for serious business. We must find a way of collaborative engagement to be part of the ongoing industrial revolution.

The current administration is said to have brought security and peace to the state since 2015. Could it be that the security was porous before 2015?

No, it’s not true. I am versed in this particular field. We had security and did our best within the circumstances of the time. One of the major differences between then and now is the spiritual involvement of the current leadership to the administration of the state. What we had before in terms of security was perfect. But today we have a leadership which does not only ensure adequate security but hands over the entire security of the state to God. As a Christian, I know that whatever is placed in the hands of God is safe. If people know the various fora at which the state has been dedicated and rededicated to God and still wonder why there is peace then the person is a stranger. The state is God’s own state placed carefully in God’s hands.

Covid-19 is ravaging the world, Nigeria and Akwa Ibom state not exempted. Are you satisfied with the way and manner the governor has contained the pandemic?

If after three months of the so-called “ravaging” and we have just 2-digit number and more than 50 per cent of the patients discharged, then I will score the governor excellently. The stories we heard, the predictions we had and things we have witnessed have made us want to believe that Covid-19 does not exist. We have able hands working and dedicated medical practitioners, dedicated security professionals and others in different fields including dedicated leadership. The entire machinery here is working simultaneously for the good of the state.

The governor in his bid to stay ahead of the situation spent so much money to build the isolation centre at Methodist Hospital, Ituk Mbang. But some sections of the state believe tents could have been used to save cost. What is your take, please?

Let us keep N2 billion down as money we have utilized to fight and prepare to contain the ailment or lose 200,000 people. I don’t think that could have been a better option to lose lives. Anybody who looks at the isolation centre as a corridor for just Covid-9 is being myopic. It is infectious disease isolation centre, Covid-19 inclusive. We will defeat Covid-19 and it would one day become history and we must narrate that history to our children. That structure will remain for the medical benefit of our people and historical reference. We all know the benefit of history to the foundation and direction of the society. History is what developed nations use to craft principles and culture for the development of their society. That building will stay 100 years and above and our great grandchildren will not only hear of coronavirus and the fact that we defeated the virus but they will see a receptacle of the coronavirus and every other bacteria or viral infections that get the patients insulated from the general populace for the purpose of quarantine, rehabilitation, treatment and reintegration of the person back to the society. No amount that government spends to save one life can be quantified to any savings that anybody envisages. Government does not work to the applause of arm chair critics. Government looks for the social contracts they have with the people, sustenance and protection of lives and property. That is where we are.

It is also noticeable during this period that security officials are becoming more civil in dealing with the populace here, even those who ran afoul of the law. What accounts for this?

Development is the answer. Security is about the people for the people. You find out that education, exposure, international linkages have refined our security systems over time. So as much as you are interested in achieving your intentions, you must realise that bruising the fundamentals of the people will not get your job done as it will raise more questions than answers at the end of the day. A security official must be a professional in thinking and conduct and make room for eventualities. For instance, wearing face mask is not part of our culture and somebody may have it and forget it in the car. If you confront such persons, I expect you to educate them on the benefits of wearing their mask and let them know the risk involved in not wearing it. In security matters, there is an upper end action but before getting to that level, it is better to exhaust all civilized channels to ensure that your job is done before resorting to the fifth rule of going in the manner that is not desirable but necessary.

The governor to further contain the devastation to the economy of the state has slashed the salaries of the political appointees. What is your view on that?

It is a step in the right direction. Even if he had not said so, it should come as a voluntary action from his appointees; some of us have done so much as individuals to support the people in this dire time than what has been slashed. The issue of going to the media by some of our colleagues to express support to the governor is really uncalled for; do they even have to question government decision? The slash is the least sacrifice we can do, if giving 50 per cent of our six months’ salary will help save people, it won’t be too much to sacrifice that too. Without the people we have no government. What we have done as palliatives by those of us who are community leaders is 100 per cent more than slashing 20 per cent of our salaries, what the governor has done is just symbolic. I am even worried if it will go a long way to assist for the purpose it was meant for, which is to assist the government help the people. Life is good and sustaining it is important. No life is more quantitative than the other. My gate man, my driver are just as equal stakeholders like myself. If they don’t function in their capacities, I will experience some challenges. Even if life has not been too good with them, it doesn’t make your life superior to their own life. It is about chance, luck and opportunity and it could be anybody tomorrow. So giving 20 per cent out is no news. What we should be praying is for Covid-19 to leave so that we can have our lives back.


RELATED: Power Comes From God, Not Guns- Captain Iniobong Ekong(Rtd)


The governor told Akwa Ibom people that all that was used as palliatives were home-grown food. Can we take that to the bank?



The governor’s words are law. Anybody who thinks that the governor’s speech is a propaganda, let him try to become a governor see how far he can go. When a governor speaks, it is God that is speaking through man. Anybody who disparages the words of the governor by labeling it propaganda should run a campaign and become a governor and rule the people by propaganda let’s see how far he can go.



In the next few months we will return to the local government election. Having served at that level in the past, what should be the benchmark for those who aspire to lead the council?

Paying attention to the interest, sustenance and development of that level of government should be a better option than giving favour to political jobbers. If we look at the bigger picture and take the interest and welfare of the people at the grassroots as the deciding factor, and also bearing in mind if the people desire to develop; one thing is to take a cow to the river and another is for the cow to accept to drink. You may be here thinking that the people are in dire need of development and progress, not knowing that they prefer getting peanuts from their chairman and return home to sleep. It is too hard to walk a dead horse. Sensitization is very important. You must be able to get the people to understand that it is their government and that they have responsibility to decide who governs them, so that you can ask questions and get answers in return. It is important to educate the people to know that local government level is accountable to them. We must do everything possible to build a better government at that level. The governor I know will give the people free hand to elect their leaders and whoever they throw up manages their efforts.

People are still worried that the state electoral body, AKISIEC, rather than INEC will still conduct elections at the local government level. Are their fears genuine?

I am yet to see an informed opinion on what will make me lose confidence in the capacity of the AKISIEC to conduct the election. Today in AKISIEC we have tested and trusted hands in managing elections and across the country, the chairman has gone round the country running and organizing elections, if he has done well in several other states, why can’t he do it here for us in Akwa Ibom. We must learn to have confidence in our institutions. I have no reason to doubt an establishment that has successfully done an election in the past very well. As we speak, I have not seen any of their past elections upturned anywhere before. So you don’t ask somebody that has served 100 per cent that you don’t know if he can pass.

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