By Osondu Ahirika
Accused of purported Certificate forgery, the matter is under litigation with Mr. Akan Okon, one of the Governorship aspirants as the complainant. Umo Eno has since provided his Certificate which is now the most famous private document in the public record.
The howling mob whose obsession is chattering about Pastor Umo Eno’s Certificate won’t retreat even when truth stares them in the face. In their ungodly quest to crucify him, they have toiled fruitlessly for dirt to tar the image of the leading Akwa Ibom State Governorship candidate.
Suddenly, the narrative has changed. His few opponents and traducers are now gossiping that the result is abysmal. They are correct but they are incurable wrong. I will shortly return to the Certificate ‘forgery’, but only after this short story.
A certain boy, Derek, always came late to school and his teacher never stopped punishing him for it. Each day he came late, he will be flogged. With tears, he begins his daily routine in school.
One morning the teacher was riding his sporty Chopper bicycle to School when he saw Derek pushing a paralysed man in a wheelchair to an Old people care home. It was already 7, 40am. Derek re-emerged and without noticing his School teacher started running with every bit of strength in him to school.
By the time he arrived at the school so far away from the home, it was already 9 30am. He was late again. He walked up to his teacher as always and stretched his palms for the 3 strokes he gets each day for being late. To his surprise, nothing like that happened.
His teacher who couldn’t hold back tears cuddled him and said, “my boy, I’m so sorry, I didn’t even ask why you never came early to school. Now I know you have to help your father to the care home every morning before you can leave to school and return to wheel him back home after school.”
Folk, we judgementally so often play the punishing teacher. Lacking in empathy and bereft of any scintilla of commiserations, we run down the feeble or the erring without asking questions.
On May 25, 2022, while delivering his acceptance speech as the elected Governorship Candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Pastor Umo Eno told an abridged story of his life. He said in part:
“Standing here this afternoon, and fully conscious of this inspirational moment, I cannot help but get a little emotional. I was born in the Police barracks and those who understand how dreary life was in the barracks, especially in the years I grew up there, will understand what I am talking about here.
In those days, hope seemed a distant object and most of what one saw, appeared to be conditioned to bring out the worst instincts in you, but through the will to succeed and overcome adversities, I summoned hope and God answered my prayers. I lost my father when I was young, and all seemed bleak, but my late Mother, a true Amazon, summoned hope and went on her knees to pray and God answered her prayers.”
His lackluster background didn’t lay his back on the ground. He rose above the odds. As a testimony, he added, “…Today, God has blessed me in many ways words cannot describe. This moment, therefore, represents the ultimate vindication of those who trust in the Lord in accordance with Psalm 125 that “those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion, which cannot be moved, but abides forever.” If the child of a lowly maidservant like me could overcome and thrive, and today, has just been given the nomination to solicit for your support to be the next Governor of this great State, you too, can and you will!
Like Governor Udom Emmanuel said, Pastor Umo Eno’s story is our story. We all can relate to his story and indeed, every man of goodwill should be inspired by his story of grass to grace rather than despise it.
I have read a lot of rubbish about Pastor Umo Eno not passing his West African School Certificate, WASC on the first attempt. The fact, like Dr. Schuuler, said is that failing is not final and success is not ending.
After the first attempt in 1981 as allowed by our Education System, Umo Eno went on to clear his papers in 1983 on the second attempt. That’s not something to be ashamed of, or is it? I challenge his mockers to tell us their story and educational status and publish their certificates. Let’s see if they can.
Most of them who hired someone – what we call, ‘candikots’, to write the exams for them or went to so-called special exam centers where they cheated their ways to get a Certificate are making all the noise.
In their blind folly, they can’t even ask themselves why a man would want to forge a result and still present a bad one with just one credit. Haba! People should have commonsense and try being rational beings.
Growing up for Pastor Umo Eno was rough as he was the first of six siblings and had to push through life to ensure he complemented his parents to provide for them. The beauty is that today he can exhale happily that all of them without exception are doing well and own their homes.
He had to sacrifice his early education to feign for them. Notwithstanding, he is today not a pushover as he went back to school gaining admission to the University under the matured students program.
This means there were some exemptions. The matured programme admission is not accessed through the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board, JAMB. So don’t be flippant with ignorance about how the University of Uyo, where he is currently studying for a Ph.D. granted him admission.
Let me leave a word of advice for these folks who are ejaculating in futile error over Pastor Umo Eno and his future which is assured in God – go get a life and think of improving yourself. Pastor Umo Eno is a made man whom God has helped. He can only go higher.