By Edidiong Idemokon
As the 2023 governorship race gathers momentum in Akwa Ibom State, the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Akwa Ibom Water Company, Engineer Edo Bassey Etuk has described a frontline aspirant in the state, Pastor Umo Eno as the best among equals with a passion to transform the state.
The MD/CEO stated this during his interaction with newsmen recently in his office in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State.
He described those criticising Pastor Umo Eno based on the colour of his skin as uncivilized, unfair, barbaric, and nasty adding that the world has moved beyond such stereotypes.
Engr Edo asserted that Akwa Ibom has grown to a stage where only people with pedigree, character, competence, and capacity to render selfless service to the people are given the mandate for the office of the governor stressing that mediocres and dispassionate individuals should not be allowed to lead the people.
He postulated that whoever wants to lead the people must appreciate their challenges and be ready to proffer workable solutions to them. He gave the assurance that Pastor Umo Eno has such capacity having invested and grown his business in the state since 1995.
“The Umo Eno I know is someone I can describe very well. He is literally in a hurry. What I mean is, when you give him an assignment he must make sure the work is properly done and on time.
“He doesn’t like toxic people. He doesn’t like anybody who wastes his time or someone who is not going anywhere. He is always on the move. He is humble and friendly. He applies top-bottom and bottom-top approaches in all his dealings.
“In most cases when I go to his establishment (Royalty Hotels) you will see him serving food. Then he was even bearing a name called “Governor”. Today, I am convinced that it was a prophetic declaration.
“When it comes to service, Pastor Umo Eno is excellent in service delivery. He loves listening to people, he loves to hear your useful contributions. He loves to apply his knowledge to making you comfortable.
“Imagine someone running a hospitality business which has to do with the public. It is all about meeting clients and people every day. One thing that stands out in Umo Eno is that he has a listening ear,” he explained.
He likened the emergence of Pastor Umo Eno as the preferred candidate of the Governor and other stakeholders of the state to the making of King David among his brothers by Samuel in the Bible maintaining that God did not choose other children of Jesse who were huge in size and older in age but settled for David who was seen as the least among the children of Jesse.
While noting that God has already prepared Pastor Umo Eno in the private sector as an entrepreneur just as David for a time like this, the engineer turned politician noted that though men may despise you God searches the heart and not the physical appearance.
“So, people could look tall physically, dandy, and have pedigrees but God doesn’t look at that. It was until David, a warrior needed for that specific time came that the oil was poured.
“You can imagine someone who was killing bears, lions in the bush, and by reason of that particular industry, he was the asset needed at that time to fight the war.
“Here is David who was always at the desert rearing animals and very far away from civilisation. Nobody looked at him, nobody gave him a chance but you can imagine his conquest as a King during his reign. It was amazing.
” Here we are today. When you see some people who are quick to cast aspersions on others saying that they are not qualified I think it is unfair and a figment of their imagination.
“There is always a place to start. No one has ever been a president born in the womb. There must always be a place to start from.
“I heard some statements some people made: ‘why should somebody who rules in Akwa Ibom always come from Lagos?”.
“I always challenge people who reason like that. If you ever witnessed any powerful movement globally, go and do your research. Most people who carried out the revolution and transformed a nation were always unlikely people.
“Why is it so? It is not about their location but about their passion and the burden God gave to them to stay in the diaspora and begin to labour and see the need to go back home and change their environment. Nehemiah is a good example.
“Now check the history of the state, virtually all the people who governed the state over the years were always from the diaspora; Idongesit Nkanga, Akpan Isemin, Obong Attah, Godswil Akpabio were people who went out and came back.
“Nationalists such as Ado Bayero, Aminu Kano, Nnamdi Azikiwe, Obafemi Awolowo, Kwame Nkrumah, Kenneth Kaunda among others were all trained abroad and they all came back and fought for independence” the CEO explained.
The Etinan born Engineer asserted that the Akwa Ibom people should look for a leader that understands the heritage of the people and also has the passion and burden to transform the state instead of dwelling on trivial and frivolous issues.
“One of the key things about good leadership is for someone to understand the heritage of the place and have a burden and passion to transform the place. I think that is the quality we need first before we talk about other skills,” he stressed
On the sustenance of peace in the state, Engr Etuk posited that Pastor Umo Eno is an embodiment of peace and humility who is also capable of maintaining and perpetuating peace in the state if voted into office to succeed Governor Udom Emmanuel in 2023.
With regards to the Akwa Ibom Water Company, the Managing Director enumerated some of his achievements in office as the CEO in the past year including reactivation of the comatose company, training, and retraining of staff for optimal service delivery and maintenance of equipment and facilities in the organisation.
He outlined some challenges bedeviling the organisation including lack of funds, vandalisation of public water facilities by miscreants, and how to reposition the company for proper functioning and service delivery.
Engr Etuk also mentioned some of the services carried out by the company to include water supply, water testing, hiring of water drilling equipment, welding and fabrication among others while soliciting a lifeline from the government to be able to function optimally.
He announced that the company will soon hit the market with their products such as table water, sachet water among other products adding that the company is taking time to put things in place so as to come up with a product that will make the difference in the market.