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UMO ENO: Coming On Board With A Rich Governance Blueprint

Men make history and not the other way around. In periods where there is no leadership, society stands still. Progress occurs when courageous, skillful leaders seize the opportunity to change things for the better. Harry S Truman

History is in the making as May 29, 2023 approaches slowly but steadily. On that historic date, there will be change of guard as occupants of Hilltop Mansion will take the backstage for another occupant. This of course will happen after the electioneering, approbation and reprobation, alignment, realignment which follows the emergence of a governor. Akwa Ibom state having been a PDP state from onset, is 100% of surety going to retain power and by extension have Pastor Umo Bassey Eno, the preferred choice of the incumbent governor sworn in as Governor through the support of Akwa Ibom people.
Once this is done, the next line of action will be to face governance and implementation of whatever development agenda he came with.



As a research scholar and an Akwa Ibom resident with interests in development having been a keen observer and indirect participant in politics and governance between 2005 to date, there are critical areas I know Umo Eno will anchor his governance Blueprint on. I foresee Umo Eno’s Blueprint summarized into:
• Infrastructural Development and Industrialisation
• Adoption of Knowledge Economy and Entrepreneurship
• Agricultural Revolution
• Health is Wealth
• Moral and Attitude Reorientation through the Dakkada Philosophy

Having listened to Umo Eno address issues severally and having studied his antecedents, the aforesaid 5 points agenda are areas I strongly believe he has developed to help drive development of the state.

First is the fact that Umo Eno already has the big picture of the kind of government he wants to operate. He has an idea of the kind of Commissioners and Aides he needs to drive his vision given his expertise in managing men, material and financial resources. I foresee an admixture of tested professionals and politicians with the requisite experience to contribute to the development of the state. I see him travelling round the world in search of successful Akwa Ibomites in their chosen fields; bring them home and create the congenial environment for them to ply their trade and contribute their quota. Development does not happen in a vacuum. I see him putting in place a dynamic structure that will drive his policies. I see him applying the 20/80 percent pareto principle in identifying key ministries that will give him 80 percent of the results he needs. This imply that leadership will be needed at all times.
There is no doubt that Umo Eno will continue with the industrialization drive of Governor Udom Emmanuel by intensifying efforts to attract foreign direct investment. This was the strategy of the late Lee Kuan Yew that transformed his country from a third world to a first world economy. He will follow through with the efforts of the present government to actualize the Science Park project. There are enormous potentials in that project capable of pushing the state forward in the terms of knowledge and ICT. The Ibom Air fleet will be expanded with more regional and international routes created. I need not mention the huge impact and value chain the Ibom Deep Seaport will create in the state. Provision of basic infrastructures that will open up the state for further development will be taken to the next level.

The 21st century economy is knowledge based, private sector driven and entrepreneurially oriented. There is no doubt that Umo Eno will bring his more than 20 years business expertise to the fore in transforming the Akwa Ibom economy to be knowledge and entrepreneurship based.

Umo Eno a tested, tried and consummate industrialist, has taken to heart the words of President Paul Kagame of Rwanda who said, “we must create economic opportunity, build a culture of entrepreneurship, get people to take responsibility for improving their lives, rather than putting them in a position where they sit back in poverty and blame others for it”.

By this the Progenitor of the Royalty Group has plans to create an entrepreneurship village in the state like the Ariara in Aba, Computer Village in Lagos and Silicon Valley. The main aim of this hub will be to create entrepreneurially minded citizens, ICT wizards and skilled citizens who would be self-sustained job and wealth creators. He has plans to create digital zones in the federal constituencies of the state. Akwa Ibom state is blessed with brains interested in science and technology. Creating technology village becomes the hygiene factors these brains will need to explore, exploit their talents for the good of the state. The incoming has laid emphasis on encouraging skills education where apart from undergoing conventional studies, students will be encouraged to learn life enhancing skills that will put food on their tables rather than depending on white collar jobs, government for survival or public office holders for handouts. He intends to raise the next generation of self-reliant and self-sustained citizens.

The importance of agriculture to the development of any nation cannot be over emphasized. It must not be lost that Umo Eno aside being Commissioner for Lands and Water Resources still serve the state as Executive Director, Agricultural Investment, a new directorate that was created in the Akwa Ibom State Investment Corporation. It has the duty of ensuring sustainability of all government investments in agriculture and turn them to agricultural businesses. Therefore, he is sure to reinvent his track record as Head of the Agricultural Investment by ensuring that Agriculture takes the centre stage of his administration when finally given the nod. This is to ensure food security, sufficiency, foreign exchange earner and providing raw materials for the many agro-allied firms that will dot the landscape of the state.

Umo Eno once said, “I know how to connect the dots. I know how to fix issues from scratch to completion. I will bring same experience to the fore in fixing challenges facing Akwa Ibom. I have a blue print that will encourage job and wealth creation”. From this prism, I see him creating Ministry of Innovation and Entrepreneurship. This will help promote skills education, talent hunts and supporting innovative minds in science, ICT and knowledge economy.

On youth development, Umo Eno is turbocharged to make a difference. Recently he said, “Let us go beyond the days our youths carry placards and wait at Plaza for those who share money. The monies shared there won’t last a day. We must equip our youths from now own with requisite skills to compete intellectually and become job and wealth creators. We must teach our youths how to fish and not depend on others for fish. I started from the streets of Lagos before relocating to Akwa Ibom State. I started my business from the scratch. Today I employ more than 500 persons. That is my story and I challenge our youths to engage in meaningful ventures that will help their families and society grow”.

To ensure support from foreign donor agencies, Umo Eno is likely to enlarge the Department of Multilateral and Donor Agencies and transform it to a full fledge department and ensure that all the opportunities and benefits from international Donor agencies are judiciously tapped to the benefit of the State.

Finally, the Umo Eno I know will engage local economic leaders and organisations in a new conversation about the state economy, identify opportunities for new Transition-oriented enterprises, cooperatives & social enterprises, begin to build networks of existing businesses, by sector, support the growth of key resilience-building sectors, such as food, renewable energy, and the informal sector. This is in a bid to broaden and appreciate the workings of the state economy and know how to intervene when I eventually come on board.

Make no mistake about it. Umo Eno is no overnight sensation. In fact, he achieved success the old-fashioned way: he earned it. He worked hard and stayed humble. He lives the right way; he plays the right way. But however, you choose to see him, the story of Umoh remains the stuff gallant dreams are made of. Unlike many of his peers, his rise to eminence is as much a product of unrelenting will and his astounding ability to pirouette himself from obscurity to entrepreneurial acclaim by the jockstraps and now heading towards an unblemished public service.

The summary of the Umo Eno blueprint represents a government that will not depend on monthly allocation alone to drive the state but will explore other avenues of raising funds such that the state will be self-sustain most of its development efforts. One key factor that is already working for Umo Eno is the fact that he is peaceful and unassuming. He has no excess luggage neither has he been corrupted by the system. He is as clean as crystal having not been tainted with the nuances of politics. He comes on board with time tested principles and values of hard work, honesty and integrity; always ready to get the job delegated not minding who gets the credit. He earned his wealth from his personal labour and sweat, yet has remained an epitome of humility, with a common touch, and a compelling grass to grace story.

Aluu Vincent, Policy Scientist and Publisher Naija Eye Witness News contributes this piece from Dept of Political Science/Public Admin, Univeristy of Uyo. 08036688375.

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