In this interview with a cross section of Journalists, Mr. Ime Uwah who is a a grand patron of the African Church Nigeria, former Youth Leader of PDP in Uyo, bares his mind on the drive of the Dakkada philosophy of Mr. Udom Emmanuel where he is an active team player, his role in mobilizing massivly for the re-election of Mr. Udom Emmanuel for his second term, activities marking his fourtieth birthday celebration and the recent agitation by stakeholders of Uyo Federal Constituency for him to contest. This and many more.
Q. Can we meet you?
A. my name is Ime Emmanuel Uwah I am from Atan Offot in Uyo local government area. I hold a B. SC (Hons) Chemistry from the University of Calabar which I obtained in 2004 and have attended several courses in business management, peak performance, and leadership. I also have a certificate in Executive Business Education from the prestigious Lagos Business School (LBS). I am an entrepreneur, a farmer, and identify challenges and problems and try to profer solutions to those problems. Basically, I try to create value to humanity, my business, the politics of Akwa Ibom State, to my immediate community and of course to even the environment we live in. I am the Special Assistant to the Akwa Ibom State Governor on Marketing and Brand Management, championing the drive of the Dakkada philosophy of the State governor, Mr. Udom Emmanuel through the mobilization of Dakkada Ambassadors.
Q. we are aware that few days from now, you will be will be celebrating your fortieth birthday. Give us an insight of how the journey has been?
A. At forty, I would just say that I thank God for my life, knowing fully well that all glory belongs to Him, because if not for anything, that I am seated here, wake up and still breath, I always reverence Him, for seeing me through all challenges, good days and bad days, that’s why I am dedicating my fortieth birthday to the grace of God in my life.
At forty, I would want to count my blessings, that apart from life, God has actually lifted me and has given me what I think is not common, a rare gift even as my name implies (Ime – Patience); using that, I have been able to achieve a lot of things in life. I would count my blessings in business, in my Christian life, in politics, in governance and for the purposes I believe God has made me to fulfill in this period. So I will use this remarkable day to count my blessings and tell the One who made it all possible, thank you.
Q. So what plans do you have for that day?
A. On the 15th, I will have a brief family thanksgiving and communion service at my home church in Atan Offot. My family, principal staffs, Head of Management of my businesses, close family friends will join me to thank God.
Q. At the mention of your name, what comes to peoples mind is entrepreneurship. What drove you into business?
A. Like I said, I think I am built to find solutions. I try to identify problems and I also try to solve such problems. Right from my Secondary and University school days, I had identified the basic problem we have in this side of the world and that was hunger. Just basic hunger can send someone to rob, something as little as hunger can send people into prostitution, commit small to major crimes like kidnapping, terrorism and what have you. So I have always observed that there was a problem that needed a solution collectively and I realized that on my part, I needed to do something that can assist through my own niche to help as much as I can.
So that actually inspired me to try my hands on a whole lot of things either to create an avenue that would bring financial empowerment or initiate something that would endear people to a particular project.
People do always say that they never had shoes but I reason differently because I had shoes. My parents were doing well but I never let that get into my head. I had the opportunity to go to school and in that process, I saw plenty kids that didn’t have such opportunity, so I wore shoes with both legs. But I never took advantage of it to be idle and think that I am comfortable. Whilst in University, I had a contract with SCC (pipeline implantation company) where I was given a portion to excavate; so you would see that this was a guy that was ready to go out and succeed at at the university level.
I got into entrepreneurship in 2002 and with a soft spot for preparing delicious meals, I set up a business called XL Flavours, as at then I had Beton Cooks as the major competiton in Uyo, and Just to have an edge over them, I made XL Flavours a bedspoke delivery service that could deliver food at homes, hostels, offices taking advantage of the new technology of GSM. There has been a lot in-between then and now.
Q. You are known to impact lives amongst other humanitarian services, does this also have to do with solving problems?
A. There are certain people that have gone past certain situations in their lives, and probably past the ages that they can be educated in schools, so such persons therefore would need a different way of redemption or help. To me, those people at some point might be in need of “fish” instead of being taught fishing and vice versa as the case may be, so if you have the capacity, then you give the person “Fish” because if you don’t, you might lose that person. That might be the greatest solution to the person’s problem in the short term.
I also try to make my humanitarian services sustainable because I don’t just solve people’s problems so that the world can see, but try to make them worthwhile and impactful, culminating in changing of lives.
Q. We have a State governor in Mr. Udom Emmanuel who specializes in problem solving, brought the Dakkada philosophy and you are in the team that is driving this policy. How has the journey been?
A. The dakkada philosophy of our State governor, Mr.Udom Emmanuel was a welcome development from day one. We never really had the right word, but our governor brought the word to really define what a lot of us were already doing. The word was aimed at encouraging others to get the awakening consciousness. After that launch, I can tell you the number of small business that have sprung up through that campaign. People have woken up to the realization that they have to do positive things with their hands. I have also met a lot of dakkada ambassadors that are doing a lot which before now was seen as impossible,and I am directly involved with the mobilization of dakkada ambassadors. These are men and women who believe in the dakkada dream and are ready and willing to encourage others to join the dakkada team. At the Dakadda, using the concept of the dakkada cooperative, we have brought in lots of people across the 31 LGA’s to actualize their enterprising spirit in Aggro production. We make clusters of twenty five business people and train them to understand what the Dakkada cooperative stands for, and not for government to come and feed you. The large number of the cooperatives have performed way above average and we are still in the early formative stages.
What is the governor doing for them you might ask? The governor has given financial takeoff assistance to each cooperative, which is the main problem many businesses face. The governor also provides agricultural inputs to these cooperatives, subsidizes seedlings to the cooperatives, link them to the markets where they sell produces at better prices and make more money because the midde men have been removed. The dakkada philosophy has not just been on the minds of indigenes of the State, but has also been transformed to reality, because of the involvement of the Governor.
Q. You speak passionately about the dakkada philosophy. What are plans to make the policy sustainable, looking at the fact that we’ve had other philosophies’ before?
A. Dakkada is an agitation to wake up, stand up or get up from present uncertainties to one’s potential through self belief and creating value for yourself and the society. There is no point that you would have to stop doing something. The question should be, how do you sustain the campaign of dakkada. Tomorrow the name dakkada might change, but the spirit won’t change because everybody would always remember the era Governor Udom Emmanuel came to tell us to arise and take advantage of our potentials as a people. We will always remember those years. Most importantly, the beneficiaries, someone would say, if not that someone encouraged me, I would’t have gotten to this stage. It is a philosophy that would stay, its sustainable, its inbuilt in the Akwa Ibom person and brings out our best. If you listen to the dakkada creed, it talks about even the unborn and noting that our mentality would have to change. I had the opportunity to set up a supermarket, which before now was seen as a preserve or right of a particular tribe, but its possible. We are going to have an Eni stores in Abuja, Lagos, the brand in moving. That’s what the philosophy is talking about and its going to be sustainable.
Q.There are speculations of recent that constituents of Uyo Federal Constituency are agitating for you to contest for the seat where they have cited ineffective representation of the incumbent?
A. Well I may not be in not in a position to judge the performance of anybody’s representation. I am of the opinion that the people would only request something if they lack something.
It could be that there is a gap that they’ve seen, and wish for that gap to be filled hence their demands or agitation for better representation. But like i said earlier, it’s the peope of Uyo Federal Constituency who can judge.
However, a lot of people have been coming to me to suggest that I come out to contest for the Office of the Member representing Uyo Federal Constituency, citing the fact that it would be a platform for me to spread what I have been doing on the small scale for the Uyo people, to other local governments.
For me, this requires wide and tedious consultations. You must consult with the people but most importantly, you must consult with God. As a Christian, I believe totally in God, He gives and He takes. Be rest assured that with these agitations from the people, I have in some way spoken to stakeholders, elders, women and youths, and therefore when the time is right, I might be in a better position to make a declaration or statement on the issue. But consultation with elders, women, youths is key to taking a decision on this.
Q. What are your thoughts as it has to do with generational tussle and what plans do you have for the youths being a youth leader?
A. I see myself as a representative of the youths everywhere I go. I had an opportunity to serve as the PDP Youth Leader in Uyo and I remember that I did things in Uyo and across the State especially on mobilizing youths to get involved in politics and governance. I remember that I initiated a group called Akwa Ibom Youth Professionals (AK-Pro) where one of their key objectives was involvement of young professionals in positive politics and active governance. We all have to be involved and for me, the youths form the largest part of the population. This tells us that we can rise and solve our problems. The youths can solve problems of Nigeria in alliance with the elders. I had encouraged youths across the state to form support groups in support of the Governor Mr. Udom Emmanuel and his strides in developing the State. I also stood out to activate and mobilize for positive governance, today there are lot of results, tremendous ones, and we have a lot of youths in the government. I thank our performing Governor, Mr. Udom Emmanuel for his love for youths and he has displayed this through involvement of youths in his administration, and other structures across the State. I am an SA to the governor and they’re other SAs, young people as well, so this is one government that has actually embraced this drive by the youths. In all fairness, the governor, Mr. Udom Emmanuel has shown sincerity when he says that he wants to empower the youths. For me, if I have the opportunity, I will keep supporting the youths.
I have a clear cut plan for the youths that they’ll be proud of and see that this agitation for younger people to be involved in governance is real and can provide solutions to our problems.
Q. Still on this agitation by the Federal Constituency for you to heed the call to contest, what is your relationship with stakeholders and elders?
A. I would say that I have a very cordial relationship with stakeholders across the Federal Constituency. Like I have said, I have served in a lot of capacities, especially my Party. I was a Youth Leader where I had the opportunity to interact with a lot of stakeholders, youths and women. I am one man that wherever you go and ask about, you will hear that I am very respectful. I am a bussiness man and a farmer, so there’s no hidden nature in me that would get people surprised.
Q. What is your take on the Governorship elections come 2019?
A. To me the Governor, Mr. Udom Emmanuel deserves a second term in office, because he has done a lot for the infrastructural, industrial, and man power development in the State. The Governor revived the Peacock paints Ltd where there’s ongoing production and massive employments, has given enabling environments for establishing of the syringe and metering industries, instituted the coconut oil refinery, massive construction of world standard road networks across the State as well as maintenance of bad ones, massive empowerment of youths and women structures, and increased investments in education and healthcare such as the renovations and provision of world standard equipments in the Etinan and St. Luke’s Hospitals amongst other giant strides. These achievements reflects a small percentage of actual things done by the Governor for the people of Akwa Ibom State, so for me and the teeming youths of Akwa Ibom State, the Governor deserves our mandate yet again to complete a second term come 2019. Akwa Ibom State relies on a rotational three tier system of Uyo, Ikot Ekpene and Eket Senatorial Districts in chosing the revered Office of the Governor, and Uyo and Ikot Ekpene Senatorial Districts having done two terms only implies that it’s only fair for Eket Senatorial District to complete a second term too in the person of no other than Mr. Udom Emmanuel. We will mobilize, sensitize and point the youths in the right direction of massively supporting the Governor for re-elections because he deserves it based on his track records. The Governor is a Father to us all, and he has taken good care of his Children, so we say that his only reward is to make sure that he returns to that exalted Office of the Governor come 2019, so he can even bring more impactful and life changing projects to the people of Akwa Ibom State.
Q. Plenty people refer to you as the ‘Rain Maker’. How come?
A. Actually my friends call me rain maker. A rain maker is someone that makes things happen, someone that brings business. Their opinion is that whenever I am around, I make things happen.
Q. With all that takes your time, how do you unwind?
A. I actually do relax, its all about planning. An average day itinerary for me is between 6:30am – 8.30am, I am in the farm. By 8:30am, I am out of the farm, get ready and go to the office. I still do find time to watch movies and read. I am not much of a sports fan but I am every team’s fan. Over the weekend, I love doing barbecue with my family.
Q. Are you married?
A. Yes i am married to beautiful Mrs Ndifreke Ime Uwah, and we are blessed with three lovely children – Kimberly, Daye-Abasi and Master Kene-Abasi Ime Uwah.