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Thursday, December 24, 2020

Udom Emmanuel: A media-friendly leader

Thomas Jefferson who served as the third President of the United States from 1801 to 1809 is reputed for his statement on the need for a free press. In a message written from Paris to Edward Carrington, whom Jefferson sent as a delegate to the Continental Congress from 1786 to 1788, on the importance of a free press to keep government in check, he concluded that if he had to choose between “a government without newspapers or newspapers without a government, he would not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter(Newspapers without Government).

Jefferson went ahead to warn Carrington that all governments, even the new American government of which they themselves were members, unless checked by a knowledgeable citizenry, would inevitably become wolves.

It is widely acclaimed that the press which is known as the Fourth Estate of the Realm is a core partner in the building of a democratic society, and the freedom of the press is one of the pillars of the democratic form of government, one that guarantees the greatest possible freedom to every individual and the greatest protection to minorities.

The above understanding of the essentiality of the press in a democratic society can only be acknowledged by a leader who has nothing to fear; a leader who knows his onions as far as leadership is concerned, and a leader who is ready for suggestions. One of such leaders is Governor Udom Emmanuel.

Yesterday, the Akwa Ibom State Governor in a session with publishers of state-based newspapers and correspondents of national newspapers reverberated on his industrialization agenda, including the Ibom Deep Seaport project and the need for the media to partner with him in the actualization of the agenda. He equally accorded the media professionals the liberty to ask questions about anything, and provided clarifications on all their enquiries.

Before now, the Governor had already met with members of the Nigeria Union of Journalists in the Executive Council Chambers of the Government House.

However, the meeting was on a representative capacity in line with the COVID-19 Pandemic protocol, where the Governor took time to field questions from Journalists on a wide range of issues.

Mr. Udom Emmanuel is one governor that is so media-friendly. Unlike other leaders who could be described as being mediaphobic, the Akwa Ibom State governor savours the hot seat and is often at the mercy of the press at every given point in time.

During the heat of the coronavirus pandemic in the country, he was engaged in media chats at regular intervals and entertained questions from citizens and media professionals,  giving updates on the activities of government. This can only be done by a responsible leader who has nothing to fear.

Governor Emmanuel has shown rare boldness in delivering his mandate as a leader even in the face of economic oppositions amplified by the dreaded coronavirus pandemic. He has touched almost every sector of the economy, and made mind-blowing strides in repositioning the state on the path of economic renaissance.

He is so focused in governance that he gets rarely distracted by myriads of attacks from those who are intimidated by his achievements so far.

However, he has vowed to remain loyal to the people of the state in the discharge of his duties, and would continue to do so. His focus on his development blueprint, even in the face of extreme provocations, has made even the most ardent critic to simply like him.

Rev'd Richard Peters

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