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Friday, November 19, 2021

Udom Emmanuel’s MPM: Consummating A Succession Strategy for 2023

By Uwemedimoh Umanah, PhD.

I mentioned in one of my earlier commentaries that the MPM is the most ‘clinical’ succession scheme and structure by any state Governor in Nigeria, since the inception of the Fourth Republic, in 1999. The reason for this line of thought is that, the organization is founded on an issue that impinges on the collective psyche of the people-peace. Of course, everybody wants peace, or don’t  you? 

Peace is a social asset, because, without it , no sustainable future and development can be attained. The Peace Movements of the 80s and early 90s believe that Peace is the most treasured and,  the greatest asset of man. The capacity of Peace to harmonize a polity and system was reechoed by John Kennedy, an American statesman and leader: “Peace is a daily, a weekly, a monthly process, gradually changing opinions, slowly eroding old barriers, quietly building new structures.” What Kennedy connotes by this is that, the enthronement of peace in a society was capable of promoting tranquility, justice and equity; and these are prerequisites of a sustainable future. 

It was in consideration of this, that Udom Emmanuel, the Akwa Ibom State Governor made ‘political and economic inclusion’, a cardinal agendum of his administration. There’s no gainsaying the obvious, that the last six years of his administration was saturated by all the manifestations of a peaceful society: security of lives and property, tolerance of opposition, management of diversities and improved political participation for all, among other indicators of a healthy society. 

The evolution of the Maintain Peace Movement, Governor Emmanuel’s brainchild,  in July 2021, was therefore,  a Grand Strategy aimed at aligning opinions, deepening public conversations and participation in governance and above all, consummating a succession agenda. Like in War, the strategic level focuses on defining and supporting policies which relate directly to the outcome of a campaign.

The Movement which has Barr Emmnauel Enoidem, a political ‘warhorse’ and immediate past National Legal Adviser of the Peoples Democratic Party as Director General, uses “that same God” as a slogan. The imperative of of an emotional tag line was reinforced by W. Chan Kim, a Reputation Management Consultant and author of “How to Create Uncontested Market Space and Make Competition Irrelevant”,. According to him, “good way to test the effectiveness and strength of a strategy is to look at whether it contains a strong and authentic tagline”.

The authenticity of ‘That Same God’ slogan underscored by its emotional connection with the people, who are believed to be God’s people in God’s state (Akwa Abasi Ibom State). Brand experts are in unison that, the stronger the emotional connection of a tagline, the higher it’s changes of success”. Therefore, it suffices at this point to investigate the extent to which the message of peace propagated by Udom Emmanuel’s MPM  has established connection with the emotions of the people of Akwa Ibom State? 

The belief and political assertion that “politics is local” cannot be overemphasized. The people are the locus of political power, and Akwa Ibom state is about 70 percent rural. What this means is that the grassroots play an important role in the outcomes of every elections in the state and Nigeria in general. Taking this fact into cognizance, in juxtaposition of the obvious, that the MPM has a viable machinery and structure in all the 368 wards and the 31 Local Government Areas of the state (consisting of tested hands), it’s as sure as the dawn that the movement will play a pivotal role in determining who succeeds Governor Udom Emmanuel in May 29, 2023. 

Secondly, is the issue of performance. A leader’s ability to transform the livelihood of his people through sound and visible policies garners him goodwill. Governor Udom Emmanuel’s industrialization policy has led to the emergence of an explosive business climate in the state , resulting in numerous jobs and better livelihood for the people of the state. Akwa Ibom people will not forget in a hurry that it was under Udom Emmanuel that their state became the first to own an airline in the entire West African subregion. Ibom Air and the numerous industries such as the syringe, metering and flour mill, among others, have  created jobs, and would create enormous wealth for the people of the state in the medium and long term. These are the issues that would be at the front burner of discourse of 2023. 

A few political pundits have advanced arguments legitimizing the aspiration of certain persons and federal constituencies for the gubernatorial election of 2023. This is not out of place, as such characterizes every democratic space. However, what should engross the minds of people is, how the economic structures that Governor Emmanuel will be  leaving behind can be sustained. The answer to lies in supporting Governor Udom Emmanuel as he consummates his succession plan through the instrumentality of MPM, because he knows well where and how he got the wand to transform Akwa Ibom. He too, will give Akwa Ibom direction on who would sustain the transformation. 

As the Maintain Peace Movement is unveiled with the inauguration of a National Executive Committee at the Nest of Champions on Friday 19th November, 2021, it behoves every Akwa Ibom person to reflect more than ever, on the peace that has brought the state to such a great height, and how it can be sustained, because sometimes it falls upon a generation to be great, as noted Nelson Mandela, the South African Statesman. 

Uwemedimoh Umanah, PhD, is an Expert in Governance, Peace Science and Conflict Research

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