UDOM’s INFORMATION COMMISSIONER’s INVITATION TO DOOMSDAY IN AKWA IBOM STATE
•••• NUJ DARES HIM TO SACK MEMBERS IN MINISTRY FOR VOTING AGAINST ‘SYSTEM’s CHOICE’
•••DESCRIBES HIM AS WORST INFORMATION COMMISSIONER EVER IN THE STATE
By Edidiong Udobia
Honourable Commissioner for Information, this is not a friendly note, so I’ll skip all the protocols.
Some time last year, I was appointed as secretary of the 2018 Workers’ Day/Press Week planning committee by the Akwa Ibom State Council of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, NUJ. As courtesy demands, there were certain persons (by their positions) that the committee had to give special invitation, like the state chairman of NUJ, House of Assembly Committee chairman on Information, and yourself as the state commissioner for Information, etc.
Preparatory to the event, you granted us audience in your office. During the courtesy visit, we informed you that you were chosen as the keynote speaker, which you accepted. We apprised you of other plans for the events and as well, appealed for your support and by extension, that of the state government. In your response, you told us that NUJ cannot organize an impromptu event and expect the government to support immediately because, according to you, the government already has a long lineup of events to support. You even advised that in subsequent events, we should give the government one year or many months pre-notice. True to your words, you came, gave the longest speech at the event and left without giving any financial support (at least, to the best of my knowledge). We didn’t bug you a bit.
Sir, I needed to refresh our memory a little because of the events surrounding the just concluded NUJ elections. First of all, it was quite surprising that the same you who said that the government will not be able to support the union’s event because it was impromptu, could bring out a whooping N20, 000,000 (twenty million naira) from the government coffer to ‘support’ an impromptu NUJ election. Secondly, there has never been a time when the Union bullied, threatened or coerced neither you nor the government, to support any of her programmes. The best we do is humbly appeal. So, it was an affront on the union for you to dish out all manners of threats to members of the Union under the state government employ in order to compromise them. We have heard of your threat to deny some, their promotions, slam some with very harsh transfers and other forms of workplace victimization.
Well, it seems that your position as the State Commissioner for Information has given you the delusion that you have your hands on a plug that you can pull and light just goes off in the world. Sir, I DARE YOU TO PULL THAT PLUG. Sir, go ahead and make life miserable for members of the Union you never employed, or who were employed long before you became the commissioner, and will still be having their jobs long after you are gone. You claimed to be doing all you did on the governor’s orders. Well, just like the governor heard of the ‘system’, he will also hear of these allegations you leveled against him. Of course, we both know what the governor’s response will be, but what we however, do not know, is how freezing you will be when you are left alone in the cold.
Sir, just in case you are not aware, let me inform you that you have not done anything for NUJ to deserve the kind of loyalty you crave. The NUJ ICT center bears the name of Barr. Emmanuel Enoidem since his time as Commissioner for Special Duties. The state commissioner for Works, Akparawa Ephraim Inyang-eyen is the grand patron of NUJ Zone F, an honour he earned from all his visible supports to the union. As the then Commissioner for Information, Mr. Aniekan Umanah facilitated the donation of hundreds of GOtv decoders, laptops and other gadgets to members of the union. As commissioner for works, Mr. Don Etim donated a lister generator to NUJ which is still serving the union till today. It was through the partnership of some state government officials that Elder Patrick Albert led NUJ received about 7 Hiace buses from former Governor Godswill Akpabio, which were distributed to chapels. These people and many others, have made their marks in the union, but never has any of them assaulted the union like you have done especially in the build up to the just concluded state council election.
We recall how you crossed off names of journalists from the NUJ accredited list for the governor’s media parley last year, and you firmly stood by your action despite repeated pleas from the leadership of the union. However, the leadership of NUJ impressed the aggrieved members to shelve the humiliation in order not to hit up the already tensed polity (as it were). It has always been our silent prayer that this marriage of convenience between you and journalists in the state will somehow survive till the end, but like an insecure, egoistic and ill-mannered partner, you have displayed attributes suggestive of domestic violence. For the sake of being even, I hope that those were not mere empty threats you made, because even in their emptiness, the threats will be profoundly responded to. You will be our bold statement to the ‘system’ that the feeble strength of one of us anchors on the solidarity of the Union. I am sure that before you made yourself a King Kong, you must have known the kind of Godzilla you’re going up against. I had to make this brief because it is only an invitation to the main event.
Sir, I wish you what you have already wished for yourself.